|Date of Birth||December 19, 1879|
|Place of Birth||Byron, Middlesex County, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mary Aveline Mair, wife, c/o Glenrose PO, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||9th Canadian Mounted Rifles|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Mounted Rifles|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||North Battleford, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||January 19, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||35|
|Theatre of Service||England|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 13, 1976|
|Age at Death||97|
|Buried At||Battleford Cemetery, RM of Battle River, Saskatchewan|
William Rufus Mair was born on 19 December 1879 in the Byron area of Westminster Township in Middlesex, Ontario where his family farmed. He was the first born child of Andrew Mair and Sarah Ann Mackey, his parents marrying on 25 December 1877 in Westminster. Other children born to the family were Norman Sylvester (1881), James Douglas (1883), Charles Austin (1885), and John Cecil Gordon (1898). By the time of the 1901 census William and his brother Norman were living with their mother’s sister Minerva and her husband William Guillot, a millwright, just outside of the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario near Kenora. Along with their aunt and uncle as well as their parents and siblings, from there they moved to the Battleford area in Saskatchewan.
According to an online family tree William married Alice Elizabeth Adams around 1904 in Saskatchewan. Born in 1882 in England she had recently immigrated to Canada. Sadly, Alice died in childbirth on 11 February 1908 and is interred in the Battleford Cemetery. The same tree indicated that William later married Mary Aveline Stannard in 1910. Born on 8 December 1888 in Bramley, Yorkshire in England, Mary was the daughter of James Stannard, a boot maker, and Alice Thornton, her parents marrying in 1885 in Bramley and later immigrating to Canada.
After they married William and Mary farmed near the community of Glenrose, not far from North Battleford. The 1911 census also gave William’s occupation as implement agent. They gave birth to daughter Alice Aveline in 1911, followed by son William Winston in 1914.
William enlisted on19 January 1915 in North Battleford. His occupation was given as farmer and his wife Mary ℅ Glenrose PO as next of kin. Previous military experience was with the 22nd Horse. That June he attended the School of Musketry for two weeks. As a Lieutenant with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles, William embarked from Montreal for England aboard the Elele on 23 August 1915. In March of 1916 William was granted a certificate for having completed the 5th Officers course. In May he was attached to the Canadian Musketry School as assistant instructor. In March of 1917 he was taken on strength with the Canadian Training School and a week later was granted a two week leave. From there William was transferred to the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment. In January of 1918 it was decided that William would be returned to Canada, embarking aboard the Olympic on the 31st. He was discharged from service as being surplus to requirements on 19 March 1918. A notation in his service record indicated that William’s wife Mary spent at least a part of the war in England.
William’s brother Charles enlisted with the 243rd Battalion in July of 1916. However while in training he was found medically unfit and discharged in August 1917 in London, Ontario. His brother John enlisted with the 232nd Battalion in May of 1916 and served overseas with the Fort Garry Horse. In 1919 he married war bride Constance Lund, the couple returning to Canada in 1920.
Returning to the North Battleford area, the 1921 census gave William’s occupation as farmer. The next year daughter Margaret Aileen joined the family. According to William’s memorial on findagrave.com, he was a charter member of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, he was active in the Co-operative Creamery Association, he served as president as well as director of the Agricultural Society, and was secretary/treasurer of the Glenrose Rural Telephone Company. By the early 1950’s William and Mary had retired to North Battleford.
William died on 13 October 1976. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Mary, children Alice (Thomas) Cole, William (Jean Farnsworth), and Margaret (John) Matson and their families. He was predeceased by his mother Sarah (1929) and father Andrew (1930), both interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in London, Ontario. He was also predeceased by all his siblings, Charles (1963, Woodlawn Cemetery, London, Ontario), James (1972, Cooks United Cemetery, Caradoc, Ontario), John (1974, Cooks United Cemetery, Caradoc, Ontario), and Norman (1976, North Battleford Municipal Cemetery). William’s wife Mary later died on 7 June 1983 and along with William is interred in the Battleford Cemetery, RM of Battle River, Saskatchewan.
By Judy Stockham
Photographs as found on public family trees on ancestry.ca and familysearch.org.
Grave marker photograph by George DeKay, findagrave.com.