The People

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

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  • Nicholson, Raymond Robert Nairn Image
  • Nicholson, Raymond Robert Nairn

  • Raymond Robert Nairn Nicholson, known as Robin, was one of four children of Murdoch and Catherine (Kitty) Nicholson. The Nicholsons had come to Rat Portage in the 1880s from P.E.I. In Rat Portage Murdoch opened a shop as a merchant tailor. Their first son, Alfred Samuel, born in 1887, died of pneumonia in 1902. Daughter Ruth was born in 1892, Grace in 1894, and Raymond in 1898.

    The family left Kenora prior to the war, settling in Edmonton and later moving to Vancouver. Raymond gave his occupation as a Junior (clerk) with the Quebec Bank when he enlisted in the 194th Battalion (Edmonton Highlanders) in February of 1916. He trained with the battalion and shipped overseas in November of 1916. The 194th, like most of the Canadian battalions after 1915, was broken up for replacement troops with the officers and men going to infantry units already in the field.

    Raymond Nicholson was assigned to the 9th (Alberta) Reserve Battalion in January 1917, then transferred to the 4th Labour Battalion and crossed the English Channel to France with the battalion in March where the battalion worked mainly on railway construction.

    In the fall of 1917 he was hospitalized on three occasions for health problems. In October for suspected dysentery, followed by scabies later that month and another skin infection – impetigo – in November.

    In December of 1917, as the Canadian Corp replaced men lost in the battle of Passchendaele, Nicholson was reassigned from his rear echelon duties to the frontline 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment). Nicholson fought with the battalion on the front lines throughout the campaigns of 1918 until he was fatally wounded Sept. 27, 1918.

    Private Raymond Nicholson died of his wounds at a casualty clearing station during the Bourlon Wood operation. His army medical file notes he’d received a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was one of 202 casualties – dead, wounded and missing – the 14th Battalion suffered during the operation.

    He was buried at the Bucquoy Road British Cemetery, Ficheux near Arras, France where 1,732 British and Canadian dead from the fighting in 1917 and 1918 are interred along with 117 from the Second World War.

    Raymond Nicholson is commemorated on page 478 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa and on the Kenora Cenotaph.

    by Bob Stewart

    newspaper articles: Kenora Miner and News
    photo of Nicholson Tailor Shop: Toronto Public Library

    Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-2 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-3 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-4 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-5 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-6 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-7 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-8

  • Regimental Number:
  • 904190
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 14th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Rainy River, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Murdock Nicholson; father; Katherine Nicholson; mother; 10535 - 126 St., Edmonton, Alberta
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 10535 - 126 St., Edmonton, Alberta
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 6, 1898
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Bank Clerk
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 4, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 17
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • September 27, 1918
  • Age at Death:
  • 20
  • Buried at:
  • Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, France
  • Plot:
  • II. L. 19.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Raymond Robert Nairn Nicholson, known as Robin, was one of four children of Murdoch and Catherine (Kitty) Nicholson. The Nicholsons had come to Rat Portage in the 1880s from P.E.I. In Rat Portage Murdoch opened a shop as a merchant tailor. Their first son, Alfred Samuel, born in 1887, died of pneumonia in 1902. Daughter Ruth was born in 1892, Grace in 1894, and Raymond in 1898.

    The family left Kenora prior to the war, settling in Edmonton and later moving to Vancouver. Raymond gave his occupation as a Junior (clerk) with the Quebec Bank when he enlisted in the 194th Battalion (Edmonton Highlanders) in February of 1916. He trained with the battalion and shipped overseas in November of 1916. The 194th, like most of the Canadian battalions after 1915, was broken up for replacement troops with the officers and men going to infantry units already in the field.

    Raymond Nicholson was assigned to the 9th (Alberta) Reserve Battalion in January 1917, then transferred to the 4th Labour Battalion and crossed the English Channel to France with the battalion in March where the battalion worked mainly on railway construction.

    In the fall of 1917 he was hospitalized on three occasions for health problems. In October for suspected dysentery, followed by scabies later that month and another skin infection – impetigo – in November.

    In December of 1917, as the Canadian Corp replaced men lost in the battle of Passchendaele, Nicholson was reassigned from his rear echelon duties to the frontline 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment). Nicholson fought with the battalion on the front lines throughout the campaigns of 1918 until he was fatally wounded Sept. 27, 1918.

    Private Raymond Nicholson died of his wounds at a casualty clearing station during the Bourlon Wood operation. His army medical file notes he’d received a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was one of 202 casualties – dead, wounded and missing – the 14th Battalion suffered during the operation.

    He was buried at the Bucquoy Road British Cemetery, Ficheux near Arras, France where 1,732 British and Canadian dead from the fighting in 1917 and 1918 are interred along with 117 from the Second World War.

    Raymond Nicholson is commemorated on page 478 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa and on the Kenora Cenotaph.

    by Bob Stewart

    newspaper articles: Kenora Miner and News
    photo of Nicholson Tailor Shop: Toronto Public Library

    Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-2 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-3 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-4 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-5 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-6 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-7 Nicholson-Raymond-Robert-Nairn-8

  • « Return to all stories
  • Nicholson, Raymond Robert Nairn Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 904190
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Battalion:
  • 14th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Rainy River, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Murdock Nicholson; father; Katherine Nicholson; mother; 10535 - 126 St., Edmonton, Alberta
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 6, 1898
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 10535 - 126 St., Edmonton, Alberta
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Bank Clerk
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 4, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 17
  • Religion:
  • Presbyterian
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • September 27, 1918
  • Age at Death:
  • 20
  • Buried at:
  • Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, France
  • Plot:
  • II. L. 19.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Nicholson, Raymond Robert Nairn

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