The People

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

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  • Girvan, Thomas Image
  • Girvan, Thomas

  • Private Thomas Girvan (Garvin) was born on 27 February 1893 in Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland. His parents were Martin Garvin, a textile mill worker, and Margaret (Maggie) Brown. Thomas had a younger brother Hugh and a younger sister Isabella. Isabella was born on 29 August 1897 and their mother died of scarlet fever two weeks later. When the 1901 census was taken the two boys were living in a large orphanage near the town of Lanark in Lanarkshire and their father was working as a marine fireman on a ship.

    Britain declared war in August 1914 and Thomas enlisted in September. He signed up with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1/7th Battalion, which was organized in Stirling, and he went to France with his unit in December 1914. Thomas served for four and a half years, getting his discharge in March 1919. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914-15 Star. After the war he returned to Scotland and worked as a steam engineer on construction for several years.

    Thomas immigrated to Canada in 1928, sailing from Greenock, Scotland on 18 August on the SS Andania and arriving in Quebec a week later. His passage was paid by the government as part of an immigration plan and his destination was the Land Settlement Board in Winnipeg. He said he intended to work as a harvester in Canada and next of kin was his father Martin Girvan at 19 Cowan Street, Stirling, Scotland. Thomas found work in construction at first, mainly building roads, and around 1934 he started working in northwestern Ontario as a forest ranger.

    Thomas enlisted again during the Second World War. He signed up in Kenora, Ontario on 16 October 1941, joining No. 10 District Depot. He was living in the neighbouring town of Keewatin at the time, working as a forest ranger, and he was 48 years old. He served with the Veterans Guard of Canada, first in British Columbia then for about a year in the Bahamas. In September 1943 he returned to Canada and was posted to an Ordnance Depot Company in Calgary. He was ill over the winter and spring and he was discharged for medical reasons in August 1944. He was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp and the 1939-45 War Medal.

    After his discharge Thomas returned to Keewatin and the following summer he was working as a forest ranger again. In the 1950s his job took him to Malachi, northwest of Kenora for awhile. By the time he retired in 1958 he was back in Keewatin, where he was a life member of the local branch of the Canadian Legion. Thomas passed away in Deer Lodge Veterans Hospital in Winnipeg on 26 May 1964, at age 71. His funeral was held in Kenora two days later and he’s buried in Teardrop Block at Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    By Becky Johnson

    Girvan-Thomas-90 Girvan-Thomas-91 Girvan-Thomas-92

  • Regimental Number:
  • 2539
  • Service Record:
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • British Army
  • Branch:
  • British infantry
  • Battalion:
  • Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
  • Place of Birth:
  • Stirling, Stirlingshire
  • Country:
  • Scotland
  • Next of Kin:
  • Martin Girvan/Garvin (father), Stirling, Scotland
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • Date of Birth:
  • February 27, 1893
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • September 14, 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • May 26, 1964
  • Age at Death:
  • 71
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 41E-31-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Private Thomas Girvan (Garvin) was born on 27 February 1893 in Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland. His parents were Martin Garvin, a textile mill worker, and Margaret (Maggie) Brown. Thomas had a younger brother Hugh and a younger sister Isabella. Isabella was born on 29 August 1897 and their mother died of scarlet fever two weeks later. When the 1901 census was taken the two boys were living in a large orphanage near the town of Lanark in Lanarkshire and their father was working as a marine fireman on a ship.

    Britain declared war in August 1914 and Thomas enlisted in September. He signed up with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1/7th Battalion, which was organized in Stirling, and he went to France with his unit in December 1914. Thomas served for four and a half years, getting his discharge in March 1919. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914-15 Star. After the war he returned to Scotland and worked as a steam engineer on construction for several years.

    Thomas immigrated to Canada in 1928, sailing from Greenock, Scotland on 18 August on the SS Andania and arriving in Quebec a week later. His passage was paid by the government as part of an immigration plan and his destination was the Land Settlement Board in Winnipeg. He said he intended to work as a harvester in Canada and next of kin was his father Martin Girvan at 19 Cowan Street, Stirling, Scotland. Thomas found work in construction at first, mainly building roads, and around 1934 he started working in northwestern Ontario as a forest ranger.

    Thomas enlisted again during the Second World War. He signed up in Kenora, Ontario on 16 October 1941, joining No. 10 District Depot. He was living in the neighbouring town of Keewatin at the time, working as a forest ranger, and he was 48 years old. He served with the Veterans Guard of Canada, first in British Columbia then for about a year in the Bahamas. In September 1943 he returned to Canada and was posted to an Ordnance Depot Company in Calgary. He was ill over the winter and spring and he was discharged for medical reasons in August 1944. He was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp and the 1939-45 War Medal.

    After his discharge Thomas returned to Keewatin and the following summer he was working as a forest ranger again. In the 1950s his job took him to Malachi, northwest of Kenora for awhile. By the time he retired in 1958 he was back in Keewatin, where he was a life member of the local branch of the Canadian Legion. Thomas passed away in Deer Lodge Veterans Hospital in Winnipeg on 26 May 1964, at age 71. His funeral was held in Kenora two days later and he’s buried in Teardrop Block at Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    By Becky Johnson

    Girvan-Thomas-90 Girvan-Thomas-91 Girvan-Thomas-92

  • « Return to all stories
  • Girvan, Thomas Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 2539
  • Force:
  • British Army
  • Battalion:
  • Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
  • Place of Birth:
  • Stirling, Stirlingshire
  • Next of Kin:
  • Martin Girvan/Garvin (father), Stirling, Scotland
  • Date of Birth:
  • February 27, 1893
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • British infantry
  • Country:
  • Scotland
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Stirling, Scotland
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • September 14, 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • May 26, 1964
  • Age at Death:
  • 71
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 41E-31-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Girvan, Thomas

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