Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 14, 1891
Place of BirthRM of Springfield, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAnnie Iliff, mother, Hazelridge, Manitoba
Trade / CallingFireman, CPR
Service Details
Regimental Number2125284
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo 13 Canadian Light Railway Operating Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentYMCA, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 12, 1917
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 28, 1918
Age at Death26
Buried AtAubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France
PlotIII. D. 4.

Iliff, Thomas Charles

Thomas Charles Iliff was born on 14 September 1891 in the RM of Springfield, Selkirk, Manitoba. First born child, his parents Powers Cowley Iliff, who had arrived in Canada from Wales aboard the Circassian 29 June 1885, and Ann Matheson, daughter of William and Christiana Matheson of Springfield, had married in Springfield on 15 October 1890. The family farmed in the area of the rural community of Hazelridge in the RM of Springfield and by the 1901 Canada census the household had grown to include Powers and Ann, and children Thomas, age 9, Christiana, age 7, William, age 4, and Alexander, age 1. By the 1906 Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta census, another child had been born to the family, John Owen Houghton Iliff. Later that year Morrison was born but died at only age 6 months on 18 January 1907. The family continued to farm, with no changes for the 1911 Canada census.

Although Thomas enlisted in Winnipeg, he had been working as a fireman for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Kenora, Ontario. Signing his attestation papers on 12 March 1917 with the No 2 Section of Skilled Railway Employees, he left Canada for overseas aboard the Grampian on 18 April. Renamed the No 13 Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers in May 1917, they left Aldershot, arriving in France on  10 June. In November of 1917 it was once again renamed to No 13 Canadian Light Railway Operating Company.

Just a few days over a year from his enlistment, Sapper Thomas Charles Iliff died on 28 March 1918.  From the CEF burial register for Thomas: ‘Died of Wounds’   (Gunshot Wounds Thigh and Left Wrist) at No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station. He had been admitted to the station two days earlier. No 13 LROC lost very few casualties, with only 17 listed on the, half of them for around the time Thomas died. Thomas is interred in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France.

Thomas’ brother William signed his recruitment papers in Winnipeg on 9 January 1918. Once overseas he became ill and  while at the No 11 Canadian General Hospital in Shorncliffe, Kent, England, he died of kidney failure on 16 March 1918. The family lost two sons within days of each other during that one terrible month.

Sapper Thomas  Iliff is commemorated on page 434 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, on the Kenora Legion War Memorial, and on the Canadian Pacific Railway Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham


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Thomas’ grave marker photograph by Military Historian,

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