Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 12, 1897
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. E. J. Whitaker (Mother) Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingBanker
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion115 Squadron
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 2, 1973
Age at Death76
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Whitaker, Roy Wesley James

Roy Wesley James Whitaker was born in April 1897 in Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario. His birth was registered as 02 April but the 1901 census and his military service files have the date as 12 April.   His parents were William and Elizabeth Jane (Macfie) Whitaker.   Siblings included Alice, Vera, Beryle and Gerald.  William worked for the CPR.  He and Elizabeth had come to Kenora in 1890.

Roy was raised and educated in Kenora.

On 21 September, 1915 Roy, whose occupation was listed as ‘banker’, enlisted in the CEF.  He joined the 79th Battalion, was given reg. no. 151337 and sent to Sewell Camp in Manitoba for training.   However, on 20 December 1915 a Medical Board in Brandon, Manitoba recommended that Roy be discharged due to ‘chronic nephritis’. He was discharged on 18 February 1916.

Roy then went to the University of Toronto to study Dentistry.  On 17 April 1917 he enlisted with the Canadian Army Dental Corps retaining reg. no. 151337.  He embarked from Halifax on 03 May 1917 aboard the S.S. Justicia and arrived in Liverpool on the 21 May. He was taken on strength  in the CADC and attached to the segregation camp in Otterpool and then the CADC London area being posted to Purfleet.

In October of 1917 Roy joined the Royal Air Force, No. 2 Cadet Wing and was given the rank of Sergeant. The next year (March 1918) he was discharged from the CADC having been appointed to a Commission in the Royal Air Force.  He was now a Lieutenant serving with the 115 Squadron of the RAF.

In September of 1918 the Kenora Miner & News reported that Roy’s mother received word he had been wounded and admitted to a Canadian hospital in France.  He had been shot down over enemy lines and rescued. While in hospital he had a bout of influenza.  Roy was  invalided back to Canada, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick on 24 December 1918.

Roy finished his Dental studies in North Western University, Chicago and while there, he married Etta Velma  Macmartin on 18 December 1920.  They returned to Kenora and Roy started a Dental practice in 1923 in the Oddfellows block.  He remained at this location until 1947 when he and his brother, Gerald,  built the office building on Matheson Street which was known as the ‘Whitaker Dental Clinic’.

Roy was active in sports in his early years, playing baseball and hockey and was always an ardent hockey fan.  He was on the executive of the Junior Thistle hockey club and served as president. He was a member of the Masonic lodge, Shriners, Rotary Club, Curling and Gold Club and past president of the Lake of the Woods United Service Institute.  He was also chairman of the Kenora District Health Unit.

Roy and Etta had two children – William and Vonnie.  On 11  August 1945, Etta drowned while fishing at the family camp on Trout Lake.   She is buried in  Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

Roy  then married Patricia Odam. They had two sons – Byng (who died of polio in 1953) and Gerry.

Dr. Whitaker  retired  in 1969.    He passed away on 02 October 1973 and is interred in Lake of the Woods Cemetery along with his parents, his brother Dr. Gerald Whitaker, his sisters Alice Maud Banks and Vera Colbert and other family members.

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