Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 1, 1894
Place of BirthPleasance, Falkland, Fife
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWalter Forsyth, uncle, South Street, Falkland, Fife, Scotland
Trade / CallingJoiner
Service Details
Regimental Number146096
Service Recordsee images below
Battalion155th Field Company
ForceBritish Army
BranchRoyal Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBy Milnathort, Fife, Scotland
Date of EnlistmentDecember 10, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 28, 1966
Age at Death72
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Allan, Ebenezer Smith

Ebenezer Smith Allan, forename shortened to Eben, was born on 1 November 1895 in Pleasance, Falkland in Fife, Scotland. His parents William Allan, a mason, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Smith were both from the area but married in St Ninians in the city of Stirling on 27July 1887. Living in Falkland, children born to the family were Agnes (1878), John (1881), James (1884), William (1886), Robert (1889), Andrew (1891) and Eben. Sadly their father William passed away in 1896, their mother Betsy in 1897, and sister Agnes in 1901. At the time of the 1901 census James, William, Robert, Andrew, and Eben were living in Falkland with James listed as the head of the family. For the census James was working as an apprentice in a linen factory and William as an apprentice butcher. By 1911 Eben was lodging with elderly widower Walter Forsyth and his daughter Janet on Princeton Street in Falkland, occupation given as apprentice joiner (carpenter).

Eben signed his attestation papers on 10 December 1915 in Kinross, Fife. At the time he was living by Milnathort, close to Kinross. His occupation was given as joiner and his uncle Walter Forsyth in Falkland as next of kin. As a Private he was assigned to the Army Reserve. In late January 1916 Eben was posted to the Royal Engineers Depot, rank changed to Sapper. The same day, having produced a statement of his apprenticeship with Robert Miller, Joiner and Cabinet Maker in Falkland, he was accredited with the designation of joiner proficient. On 25 July he embarked for overseas to serve with the 155th Field Company, Royal Engineers.

‘The war of 1914-1918 relied on engineering. Without engineers there would have been no supply to the armies, because the RE’s maintained the railways, roads, water supply, bridges and transport. RE’s also operated the railways and inland waterways. There would have been no communications, because the RE’s maintained the telephones, wireless and other signalling equipment. There would have been little cover for the infantry and no positions for the artillery, because the RE’s designed and built the front-line fortifications. It fell to the technically skilled RE’s to develop responses to chemical and underground warfare. And finally, without the RE’s the infantry and artillery would have soon been powerless, as they maintained the guns and other weapons. Little wonder that the Royal Engineers grew into a large and complex organisation.’ (The Long, Long Trail)

In September 1917 Eden was appointed Lance Corporal. In August of 1918 he was reclassified as skilled joiner, receiving a raise in pay. The next month he was promoted 2nd Corporal. With the end of the war Eben returned to England and was discharged from service on demobilization on 22 June 1919 at Ripon. His intended residence was given as South Street in Falkland. For his service during the war Eben was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

On 11 March 1924, in Kelty in Fife, Eben married Margaret Williamson Taylor. At the time of the marriage both were living in Bo’ness where Eden was working as a joiner and Margaret as a bakery shop assistant. Born in 1903 in Kelty, Margaret was the daughter of Alexander Taylor and Margaret Shanks. A few days after the marriage the couple embarked for Canada aboard the Cassandra, arriving in Halifax on the 24th. Eben’s brother John had immigrated to Canada in 1903, settling in Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, destination of Eben and Margaret on the passenger list.

Eben and Margaret also made Keewatin their home where Eben worked as a self employed carpenter. He was a member of the United Church in Keewatin and was a King Scout. In December of 1954 Eben and Margaret returned to Scotland for a visit, arriving in Liverpool aboard the Empress of Australia on the 23rd, on their way to Kelty.

Eben died in the Kenora General Hospital in Kenora on 28 October 1966. At the time he was survived by his wife Margaret and two brothers, John of Keewatin and William of Unity Saskatchewan. John later died in 1970 and William in 1973. At some point after Eben’s death Margaret returned to Scotland where she died in 1990 in the registration district of Dunfermline in Fife. Eben is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

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