Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 12, 1886
Place of BirthSyre, Home Lake Township, Norman County, Minnesota
Marital StatusMarried
Trade / CallingRailroad brakeman
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Battalion147th Engineers
ForceU.S. Army
BranchCorps of Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJuly 18, 1918
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceU.S.A.
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19721210
Age at Death86
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotHeavenly Junction, 14E

Giving, Martin

Corporal Martin Giving was living in Kenora, Ontario when he was called up under the U.S. draft in July 1918. He served in the U.S. Army for five months.

Martin was the oldest son of Ole and Anna Giving (Geving/Gjeving) of Haugen, Aitken County, Minnesota. Ole and Anna were both born in Norway and they immigrated to the U.S. around 1880. They settled in the township of Home Lake in Norman County, Minnesota where Ole worked as a carpenter. Martin was born on 12 December 1886 in Syre, Home Lake Township. He had an older sister Oline and younger siblings Peter, Amalie (Molly), Julia, Oliver, Gertrude and Emil.

The family was still at Home Lake for the 1905 state census but by 1910 they were living in Haugen Township, Aitkin County and Ole had taken up farming. Around that time Martin moved to Canada and he spent a year or two in Winnipeg, working as a street car conductor. From there he went east to the town of Kenora, in northwestern Ontario, where he was hired by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Other than his time in service he worked for the CPR for the next 40 years.

The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and registration under the Selective Service Act began two months later. Martin was still living in Kenora and he registered in the first draft in June 1917, along with his brothers Peter and Oliver. He was 31 years old with his occupation listed as railroad brakeman. Martin was called up for service in early July 1918. On 16 July he was married in Winnipeg to a Kenora girl, 18-year-old Edvina Victoria Johnson. Edvina (Edwina), the oldest daughter of Victor and Mary Johnson, was born in Kenora in August 1899. After their marriage Martin headed to the U.S. and his service started on 18 July. A notice in the Duluth Herald mentioned that all of Aitkin County’s drafted men would entrain for Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina on 22 July. The list of names published in the Herald included ‘Martin Giving, Kenora, Ont.’

Martin was attached to the 147th Engineers and he served in the U.S. for about five months, training at at least two different camps. On 11 November the Armistice ended hostilities in Europe and on 8 December he was discharged at Fort Benjamin Harrison, located on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana. Martin returned to Canada and he and his wife made their home in Kenora. Their oldest son, Royal Victor, was born in November 1919. Three daughters and another son followed: Martin Jr., Bernice, Gladys and Natica. Martin became a member of both the American Legion and the Kenora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. During the Second World War his son Royal Victor enlisted with the Lake Superior Regiment. He was killed in April 1945, in the last weeks of the war, and he’s buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands. Several other Kenora lads from the same regiment are buried at Holten.

Martin was a conductor by the time he retired from the CPR in 1951. His wife Edwina passed away after a long illness in April 1964, at age 64. Martin moved into Pinecrest Home for the Aged in 1970 and he died in the Kenora hospital on 10 December 1972, two days before his 86th birthday. He and his wife are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Martin Jr. was killed in a tragic train accident in 1979 and he’s also buried there, as well as his sister Natica (Mrs. Stan Pearson).

By Becky Johnson

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