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.