Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 25, 1896
Place of BirthHopewell Hill, Albert County, New Brunswick
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Charles Starratt, mother, Dorchester, New Brunswick
Trade / CallingStudent
Service Details
Regimental Number12619852
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion2nd Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Garrison Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentSaint John, New Brunswick
Address at EnlistmentDorchester, New Brunswick
Date of EnlistmentDecember 13, 1915
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 3, 1977
Age at Death81
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Starratt, William Blair

William Blair Starratt was born on 25 May 1896 in Hopewell Hill, Albert County, New Brunswick. His parents Charles Spurgeon Starratt and Sarah Alberta Wright were both from Hopewell Hill, marrying on 27 March 1884. Children born to the couple were Charles Gordon (1885), Robert Wright (1887), Albert Wright (1893), and Blair. At the time of the 1891 census the family was living in Saint John, with Charles working as a wholesale clerk. The 1901 census listed Sarah and the children in Hopewell, Charles absent at the time. By the 1911 census they had moved to Dorchester where Charles Sr found work as an accountant/clerk at the Dorchester Penitentiary.

Blair signed his attestation papers on 13 December 1915 in Saint John. His occupation was given as student and his mother in Dorchester as next of kin. His obituary later stated that he had attended McGill University as well as Mount Allison University. As a Gunner with the 7th Siege Battery, Blair embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 31 May 1916, arriving in England on 3 June. After training in England, in late September he proceeded overseas for duty with the 167th Siege Battery, name changed to 6th Siege Battery on 11 January 1917.

On 20 February 1917 Blair was admitted to the No 2 Stationary Hospital in Outreau with influenza. Invalided to England, he was transferred to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester on the 28th. Diagnosis changed to bronchitis, he was discharged from the hospital on 17 April on transfer to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom. Discharged in mid May, Blair went through a series of transfers before joining the 6th Siege Battery in the field in mid October. In May of 1918 the unit was integrated into the newly formed 2nd Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery. Suffering a gunshot wound to his right leg, on 29 September 1918 Blair was admitted to the No 22 General Hospital in Camiers. In early October he was transferred to the Cambridge Hospital in Aldershot in England and then on to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Bearwood in Wokingham, discharged on 13 November. In January 1919 Blair embarked for Canada, arriving in Halifax on the Aquitania on the 24th. He was discharged from service on demobilization on 22 February 1919 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Enlisting in Quebec in September 1914 and serving overseas with the 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, Blair’s brother Albert died of his wounds on 5 June 1916. He is interred in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery near Ieper in Belgium.

In July of 1920 Blair’s brother Robert made application for a land grant on behalf of Blair in Alberta near Grande Prairie in the area that he was homesteading but it appears that Blair did not pursue it. At the time of the 1921 census Blair was living with is parents in Dorchester. On 9 February 1926, in Saint John, he married Annie Dorothy Calhoun. At the time Blair was still living in Dorchester, occupation given as Civil Service, while Annie was living in Saint John. Born on 17 February 1900 in Saint John, Annie was the daughter of world sea Captain James Wallace and Iva (née Stiles) Calhoun. Her parents were both from Hopewell Hill, marrying in 1893. Sadly, James was lost at sea in February of 1916.

In 1936 Blair and Annie moved to the town of Hudson in northwestern Ontario, Blair’s brother Robert having started a transportation network there in 1926. Moving from barges, horses and sleighs, and tugs, aircraft were added to the business two years later, creating Starratt Airways. First associated with Starratt Airways, in 1942 the family moved to Kenora where Blair worked for Ontario Central Airways. Blair and Annie adopted two children, daughters Carol and Sandra. Sadly, Annie died on 5 July 1953 in the Kenora General Hospital, widower Blair never remarrying. Following his retirement, Blair spent two years in Valemont, British Columbia where his brother Robert owned the Canyon Creek Saw Milling Company.

Blair died on 3 December 1977 at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his daughters Carol (Gene) Christie of Langdon, North Dakota and Sandra (Steve) Cribbin of Dundas, Ontario as well as five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his father Charles in 1923 and mother Sarah in 1956, both interred in the Hopewell Hill Cemetery, and his brothers Albert during the war, Charles in 1964 in Massachusetts, and Robert in 1967 in Florida. Blair and Annie are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

Family photographs provided by Blair’s granddaughter Erin Zagar.

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