The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Fraser, Gordon David Image
  • Fraser, Gordon David

  • Gordon David Fraser was born on 15 May 1881 in Paris, Ontario. His father William Fraser was born in Caledonia in the state of New York while his mother Margaret Emeline Colman was born in Ireland. For most of his adult life William worked as a plasterer although in latter years he was an assessor and tax collector. Children born to the family were William John (1869), Archibald Colin (1871-1936), Annie (1873-1920), James Allan (1876-1916), Flora Emeline (1878), Gordon, Aylmer Donald (1883), and Hector Lorne (1885).

    In 1903 Gordon moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where he found work as an electrician at the power house, first with the town and then later with the Ontario and Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company. On 14 September 1910 he married Violet May Fabey. Born in Toronto and daughter of journalist James Fabey, Violet came to Rat Portage in 1896 where she served as one of the town’s earliest telephone operators.

    With occupation given as electrician and his wife Violet as next of kin, Gordon signed his attestation papers in Port Arthur, Ontario on 5 May 1916. Gordon had previously served in South Africa, enlisting in London, Ontario in April of 1902, and arriving in Durban that June. With the end of the Boer War he was discharged from service on the 29th of July.

    Organized in November 1915 with recruitment throughout northwestern Ontario, the 94th Battalion was mobilized in Port Arthur. As a Private and bandsman with the 94th Battalion, Gordon embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 28 June 1916. Once in England he was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and from there to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre in mid October. Having suffered a back injury in 1910, Gordon was unable to lift loads and training was difficult. He returned to Canada on furlough in late December of 1916 for eight weeks. Back in England, he was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot at Purfleet in May of 1917. Gordon arrived in Halifax on 17 January 1919 aboard the Olympic, with final discharge on the 21st of March.

    Once back in Kenora Gordon continued to work at the power house. Very musical, he was a member of the Citizens Band of Kenora. He was also a member of the Gold Lodge, IOOF, Lake of the Woods Masonic Lodge, and the Lake Woodena Lodge. While he was overseas Violet attended the Success Business College in Winnipeg and established the Kenora Business School in 1919 which she operated until 1959.

    Predeceased by his mother in 1907, his father in 1913, and most of his siblings, Gordon died on 31 January 1946 in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Violet and sister Flora (Florence). Violet stayed in Kenora and died in 1967. Gordon and Violet are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

    A Kenora newspaper article reporting Gordon’s enlistment in 1916 also reported that his brothers Archibald and Aylmer both served. Aylmer, embarking from Quebec in September of 1914 with the 4th Battalion, was gassed at the battle of St Julian. Archie, arriving in France in September of 1915 with the 19th Battalion, had been invalided home that December. Both brothers survived the war.

    by Judy Stockham

    Kenora Miner and News 7 June 1916

    Kenora Miner and News 7 June 1916

    Kenora Miner and News 1 February 1946

    Kenora Miner and News 1 February 1946

  • Regimental Number:
  • 199383
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Railway Troops
  • Battalion:
  • Depot Battalion, CRT
  • Place of Birth:
  • Paris, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Violet May Fraser, wife, Box 95, Kenora, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Box 95, Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 15, 1881
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Electrician
  • Marital Status:
  • Married
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 5, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 35
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Great Britain
  • Date of Death:
  • January 31, 1946
  • Age at Death:
  • 64
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 54E-32-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Gordon David Fraser was born on 15 May 1881 in Paris, Ontario. His father William Fraser was born in Caledonia in the state of New York while his mother Margaret Emeline Colman was born in Ireland. For most of his adult life William worked as a plasterer although in latter years he was an assessor and tax collector. Children born to the family were William John (1869), Archibald Colin (1871-1936), Annie (1873-1920), James Allan (1876-1916), Flora Emeline (1878), Gordon, Aylmer Donald (1883), and Hector Lorne (1885).

    In 1903 Gordon moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where he found work as an electrician at the power house, first with the town and then later with the Ontario and Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company. On 14 September 1910 he married Violet May Fabey. Born in Toronto and daughter of journalist James Fabey, Violet came to Rat Portage in 1896 where she served as one of the town’s earliest telephone operators.

    With occupation given as electrician and his wife Violet as next of kin, Gordon signed his attestation papers in Port Arthur, Ontario on 5 May 1916. Gordon had previously served in South Africa, enlisting in London, Ontario in April of 1902, and arriving in Durban that June. With the end of the Boer War he was discharged from service on the 29th of July.

    Organized in November 1915 with recruitment throughout northwestern Ontario, the 94th Battalion was mobilized in Port Arthur. As a Private and bandsman with the 94th Battalion, Gordon embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 28 June 1916. Once in England he was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and from there to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre in mid October. Having suffered a back injury in 1910, Gordon was unable to lift loads and training was difficult. He returned to Canada on furlough in late December of 1916 for eight weeks. Back in England, he was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot at Purfleet in May of 1917. Gordon arrived in Halifax on 17 January 1919 aboard the Olympic, with final discharge on the 21st of March.

    Once back in Kenora Gordon continued to work at the power house. Very musical, he was a member of the Citizens Band of Kenora. He was also a member of the Gold Lodge, IOOF, Lake of the Woods Masonic Lodge, and the Lake Woodena Lodge. While he was overseas Violet attended the Success Business College in Winnipeg and established the Kenora Business School in 1919 which she operated until 1959.

    Predeceased by his mother in 1907, his father in 1913, and most of his siblings, Gordon died on 31 January 1946 in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Violet and sister Flora (Florence). Violet stayed in Kenora and died in 1967. Gordon and Violet are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

    A Kenora newspaper article reporting Gordon’s enlistment in 1916 also reported that his brothers Archibald and Aylmer both served. Aylmer, embarking from Quebec in September of 1914 with the 4th Battalion, was gassed at the battle of St Julian. Archie, arriving in France in September of 1915 with the 19th Battalion, had been invalided home that December. Both brothers survived the war.

    by Judy Stockham

    Kenora Miner and News 7 June 1916

    Kenora Miner and News 7 June 1916

    Kenora Miner and News 1 February 1946

    Kenora Miner and News 1 February 1946

  • « Return to all stories
  • Fraser, Gordon David Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 199383
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • Depot Battalion, CRT
  • Place of Birth:
  • Paris, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Violet May Fraser, wife, Box 95, Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 15, 1881
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Railway Troops
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Box 95, Kenora, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Electrician
  • Marital Status:
  • Married
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 5, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 35
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Great Britain
  • Date of Death:
  • January 31, 1946
  • Age at Death:
  • 64
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 54E-32-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Fraser, Gordon David

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