David Robertson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in September, 1890 and emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war. Robertson enlisted in September, 1914. He was severely wounded and taken prisoner in 1915, repatriated, and then discharged in 1916 as medically unfit for service. The collection currently consists of several letters, postcards, personal items, and the first issue of Maple Leaf Magazine.
These collections contains any material relating to Canada from 1914 to 1918 from either the home front or the battlefront. External links in collection descriptions are either to online attestation papers at Library and Archives Canada or casualty and burial information at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Gordon Stuart Robinson was born in Fort William, Ontario in August, 1897. Robertson enlisted in April, 1916 in Fort William with the 94th Overseas Battalion. The collection currently consists of eighteen letters, as well as several photographs and postcards.
John Hill Robertson was born in Wellington, British Columbia in June, 1898. Robertson was recruited in October, 1917 and served overseas in England and France until he was demobilized and returned to Canada in 1919. The collection consists of more than thirty letters, as well as postcards, photographs, and his paybook.
This collection consists of one letter and five photographs. The letter is from Norman Robertson to his parents in 1918 commenting on the death of one his brothers in France in light of the death of his own infant daughter.
Joseph William George Robinson was born in Camden East, Ontario in August 1889. Prior to enlistment Robinson had worked as a salesman and had served one year with the 95th Saskatchewan Rifles. He enlisted in the CEF with the 59th Battalion in Brockville, Ontario in February 1916 and went overseeas on the S.S. Olympic in April of 1916. Robinson served overseas with the 60th Battalion as a Lieutenant until he was killed on September 16, 1916 and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. The collection currently consists of one letter Robinson and one letter from Robinson's commanding officer to Robinson's mother. See also the Laurence Slack collection which contains a letter describing Robinson's death to a Miss McGammon.
Walter Thomas "Tommy" Robus was born in Shoreditch, England in August of 1893. Robus was the first man to enlist from the town of Norwood, Ontario. He enlisted in August of 1914 with the Second Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, arriving in France in February of 1915. Robus served in France for the duration of the war as a member of the colloquially-named “Suicide Club” First Canadian Contingent bomb squad, and saw the Second Battle of Ypres and The Somme. Robus was wounded on four occasions, returning to France each time before his final return to Canada in December of 1918. This collection currently consists of Robus’ letters written to Rev. A. M. Irwin of Norwood, Ontario and newspaper articles written after his death.
Richard Roe was born in Greenock, Scotland in August, 1895. Sometime prior to the war he moved to Victoria, British Columbia where he was employed as a carpenter. Roe enlisted in Victoria, British Columbia on March 12, 1915 and served overseas with the 28th Battalion. Roe was killed on October 8, 1915 by the accidental discharge of a rifle from his own troops. The collection consists of one letter of condolence to his parents.
Albert Edward Roscoe was born in Belfast, Ireland in December, 1890 and then came to Canada as a Barnardo boy and lived with the Bateman family near Stirling, Ontario. Prior to the war he moved to the west and took up farming. Roscoe enlisted September 24, 1914 and served with the 5th Bn., Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment). He was killed May 24, 1915 and his name is one of the over 11,000 names found on the Vimy Memorial of Canadian soldiers whose graves are not known. The collection consists of two letters and one photograph.
Nursing Sister Barbara Argo Ross was born in Brussels, Huron County, Ontario, on March 27, 1890, one of five children to Reverend John and Elsie (née Watt) Ross.
Already fully trained as a nurse, she enlisted in Toronto on March 4, 1917, with the Base Hospital (Toronto), Canadian Army Medical Corps. Shipping for Liverpool on May 29, 1917, Ross was stationed at No. 16 Canadian General Hospital (Ontario Military Hospital), Orpington, Kent, England. She later served with the No. 16 Can. Gen. Hospital in France. Following her return to Canada Ross was demobilized April 3, 1919.
Within the Ross Collection is the autograph book that was given to her as a Christmas present by fellow Nursing Sister Agnes Oliver Wharrey while stationed at Orpington in December of 1917. Over the following months Ross collected messages, drawings, poems, and other mementos while working at the No. 16 Can. Gen. Hospital. Many of the contributors to the book were Canadian service members, and where possible their names and a link to their service records have been included below. The jpgs and transcriptions of Ross’s book have been divided into five consecutive parts of approximately ten pages each.
Nursing Sister Ross’s Service Record can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Identified contributors to the Autograph Book (an asterisk before the name indicates that the location of the soldier’s service information has not been established):
Pg. 1: Nursing Sister Agnes Oliver Wharrey, C.A.M.C., Service Record.
Pg. 2: *A.M. Brown, 50th Battalion, page 2.
Pg. 3: Sapper Harmon Leslie Cleveland, Canadian Engineers, Service Record.
Pg. 4: Private George Martin Farrow, 173rd Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 5 : Private Edward Boyd, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Service Record.
Pg. 9: *Sergeant A. Green, 75th Battalion.
Pg. 11: Corporal John Ernest Rodgers, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Service Record.
Pg. 14: Private John Cecil Kinross, 51st Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 15: Private John Street, 87th Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 17: Private Fred Kowalski, 102nd Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 17: Private Harry Gittleson, C.A.M.C., Service Record.
Pg. 19: Private David Henry McCann, C.M.G.C., Service Record.
Pg. 23: Signaller Joseph Laird Dowgray, 13th Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 27: *Signaller R. Howe, Canadian Field Artillery.
Pg. 28: Private Oliver Andrew Ferguson, 98th Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 37: Private William Albert Pappa, 46th Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 38: Private Charles Crawford Hutchins, Royal Canadian Regiment, Service Record.
Pg. 39: Private Walter Mellick Wood, 134th/48th, Service Record.
Pg. 40: Sapper Harmon Leslie Cleveland, Canadian Engineers, Service Record.
Pg. 41: Private Sydney Wallace Kenderdine, 123rd Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 43: Private Edward Allan Edson, 244th Battalion, Service Record.
Pg. 44: Captain Willmot Edward Lenox Sparks, C.A.M.C., Service Record.
Pg. 45: Gunner Thomas Hatherton Howard Fortier, 4th Canadian Siege Battery, Service Record.
Gladys Hope Sewell Ross was born in Hastings, Ontario and trained as a nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. She graduated in 1914. At the outbreak of WWI she volunteered as a nurse at the Hospital for Soldiers in Orpington, England. It was at Orpington that she met her future husband, Dr. James Wells Ross, whom she married in 1915. The collection consist of several photographs and scans of her medals. See also the James Wells Ross collection for WWI (her husband) and the Colin Sewell Ross collection for WWII (her son).
James Wells Ross was born in Toronto, Ontario in August, 1890. At the time of his enlistment in September, 1914 he was a medical student at the University of Toronto. He served overseas during the war, and at the end of the war returned to Canada to practice medicine. The collection consists of several diary enteries and more than eighty letters, the majority of which are an extended dated journal entry that begins in 1914. See also the Gladys Hope Sewell Ross collection in WWI (his wife) and the Colin Sewell Ross collection in WWII (his son).
Francis Dibley Row was born in Whitewood, Saskatchewan in December, 1887. Row enlisted in Winnipeg in November, 1915 and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. Both his brothers Sydney Arthur Row and John Row Jr. served with him in the 27th. The collection currently consists of two letters.
John Row Jr. was born in Whitewood, Saskatchewan in April, 1896. Row enlisted in Winnipeg in October, 1914 and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. Both his brothers Sydney Arthur Row and Francis Dibley Row served in the 27th with him. The collection currently consists of more than seventy letters.
John Row Sr. was born in London, England in July, 1871. He later emigrated to Canada where he practised as a druggist, first in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, later in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, and finally operated a pharmacy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Row enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba in July, 1915 and served overseas with the Medical Corps until his return to Canada in 1919. The collection consists of more than twenty letters covering the period from 1915 to 1919.
Sydney Arthur Row was born in Whitewood, Saskatchewan in June, 1897. Row enlisted in Winnipeg in October, 1914 and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. Row may possibly been only 17 at his time of enlistment, although his attestation papers state his age as 18. Both his brothers Francis Dibley Row and John Row Jr. served oveseas with him in the 27th. The collection currently consists of five letters.
Lieutenant Thomas Alexander Rowat was born in Winchester, Ontario, on August 19, 1878, to parents Rev. Andrew and Margaret McKenzie Rowat. Prior to enlistment he was working as an accountant/business manager in the Cobalt, Ont., region.
Rowat enlisted on January 14, 1915, in Haileybury, Ont., as a Private with the 159th Battalion. He was discharged that November to become a commissioned officer with the 97th Regiment. Rowat shipped for England in October of 1916, and was sent to France in late November to join the 38th Battalion. He was killed by enemy shell fire in Avion on June 28, 1917. He was buried in Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-au-Bois, France, and is commemorated on the cenotaph in the Major Holland VC Park in Cobalt, Ontario.
Most letters in the collection were written by Rowat to his parents and to his siblings Donald, William “Willie,” Ina [“Tina”?], and Margaret, as well as Donald’s wife Rhoda. The original handwritten letters have been lost but typed transcriptions were made sometime after the war. Scans of these typed copies have been included with each letter.
In the external links below, Rowat’s date of birth is shown as 1888 on some of the documents in his service file.
[The Collection Description was last updated in August 2023.]
Lt. Alexander Rowat’s service record (Serv/Reg# 540450) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
WWI Circumstances of Death Registers record card (page# 855), Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Rowat can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Henry Rumsey was born in Montreal in February, 1897. He enlisted at Montreal in March, 1916 and served overseas in France. The collection consists of one photograph of him in 1916 and one poem he wrote in France in 1917.
Walter Kenneth Runciman was born in South Shields, Durham, England in June, 1886. After emmigrating to Canada he was a rancher in Alberta. Runciman enlisted in September, 1917 in Calgary, Alberta with the 78th Batallion. The collection currently consists of seven photographs.
Edward John Wilson Ryan, DSO, was born in Mille Isle, Quebec in September, 1884. Ryan enlisted in New Westminster, British Columbia in December, 1915 and served overseas with the 102nd Battlaion. He returned to Canada in 1919. The collection currently consists of one photograph, his discharge certificate, and orders given on November 12, 1918 to the 102nd.