|Date of Birth||March 4, 1883|
|Place of Birth||Mulmur, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Elsie Hamilton, wife, Suite 4 Dawson Court, Ferby Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Railway conductor|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No 13 Canadian Light Railway Operating Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||General Delivery, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||March 17, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||34|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 9, 1969|
|Age at Death||87|
|Buried At||Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario|
Andrew Hamilton was born on 4 March 1883 in Mulmur, Dufferin, Ontario. His father Henry (Harry) Hamilton was from Ireland while his mother Agnes Smith was from Scotland. The couple married on 20 November 1874 in Avening, a community near Mulmar. Andrew had three older siblings, William, George, and Margaret (Maggie), and four younger siblings, Elizabeth, Harry, Mary, and Samuel. The 1891 census found the family in nearby Essa, with Harry working as an engineer. By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to Himsworth in the Muskoka and Parry Sound District, with Harry finding work in a sawmill.
By 1910 Andrew was living in Fort William, Ontario and working as a brakeman for the railway. On 26 January 1910, in Fort William, Andrew married Elsie Dixon. Born in 1893 in England, Elsie was the daughter of John and Mary (née Suggett) Dixon. Along with her father and sister Lily she had arrived in Montreal aboard the Corsican in April of 1908, on their way to Fort William. The couple gave birth daughter Doris May on 5 November 1910 in Fort William.
By the time Andrew enlisted on 17 March 1917 in Montreal, it appears that the couple had separated with Elsie living in Winnipeg and training or working as a nurse, Andrew living in Kenora and working as a railway conductor, and daughter Doris living with Andrew’s sister Maggie Rice and family in Fort William.
Along with a number of other Kenora men that had enlisted with the No 2 Section, Skilled Railway Employees, Andrew arrived in England aboard the Grampian on 29 April 1917. Once there the unit was renamed No 13 Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers. After a few weeks of training the company was sent to France, arriving at Le Havre on 10 June 1917. That fall they were renamed once again, becoming No 13 Canadian Light Railway Operating Company.
In March of 1917 Andrew had been granted working pay of 90 cents per day from enlistment, later sending a $100 special payment to his sister Maggie in Fort William. His military will named his daughter Doris as beneficiary although he also designated a portion of his pay to Elsie in Winnipeg. In mid February of 1918 Andrew was granted a fourteen day leave and that April was attached to operations in Barlin for two weeks. In late June Andrew was evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station suffering from traumatic pleurisy thought due to gas poisoning. By 7 July he was back with the unit, granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in mid August. In December Andrew was appointed Acting 2nd Corporal with pay, rank confirmed in early February 1919. Returning to the UK, Andrew embarked from Glasgow aboard the Saturnia on 30 March 1919. He was discharged from service on 13 April on Port Arthur, intended residence given as Kenora.
The 1921 census found Elsie living in Winnipeg and working as a nurse. A short time later she moved to Compton, Los Angeles in California, found living on her own and working as a nurse in later censuses. For the 1921 census Andrew and Elsie’s daughter Doris was living with Andrew’s sister Maggie Rice and family in Fort William. It appears that Doris married George Vincent in Thunder Bay in October of 1940. Further details of her life are unknown.
According to his service record Andrew was still living in Kenora in 1927. At some point he moved back to Fort William, living at 306 Catherine Street. Predeceased by Elsie in 1941 in California, Andrew died on 9 December 1969 in a hospital in Thunder Bay. According to his obituary he was survived by his sister Mary Hodgson of Callander, Ontario, his brother Samuel of Port Arthur, nieces, nephews, and other relatives. A memorial service was held by Branch No 6, Royal Canadian Legion in Blake Chapel. Andrew is interred a military plot in Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay.
By Judy Stockham
Obituaries courtesy of the Thunder Bay Public Library.
Elsie’s grave marker photograph by ppatri, findagrave.com.