Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 21- Kenneth Urquhart

In memory of
Lance Corporal
Kenneth Urquhart
who died on November 18, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 145006
Age: 19
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Division: "A" Coy. 87th Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: August 10, 1896
Son of Kenneth J. and Mina Urquhart, of Williamstown, Glengarry Co., Ontario.
Cemetery: REGINA TRENCH CEMETERY; Somme, France
Grave Reference: I. E. 3.
Commemorated on Page 176 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Researching Kenneth Urquhart took me me through some strange twists and weird coincidences. It started out normally enough with his attestation papers. Kenneth Urquhart, birth date given as Aug 10, 1896, joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary forces at Cornwall ON, on Aug 16, 1915. He listed his father, Kenneth John Urquhart of Williamstown ON as his next of kin.

The first record for Kenneth Urquhart I located on Ancestry was the 1901 census for Glengarry ON, which listed his parents Kenneth J and Mina, as well as 3 younger siblings. The 1911 had them in the same district with a total of 10 children.  On both censuses Kenneth the younger's birth year was given as 1897. I searched for a birth record but couldn't find an exact fit until I took a closer look at one record that didn't have a first name listed. It did however list the parents names as Kenneth  J Urquhart and Mina Robertson.

The record was  mistakenly transcribed as being from Parry Sound ON but a closer look at the actual image showed that it was clearly from Glengarry. The main discrepancy however was the date of birth didn't match the one given on the attestation papers- not only was the year 1897 but the month was given as May 10, rather than Aug 10. I was about to give it up as a lost cause when I noticed something curious. A second listing for Urquhart with no first name given, this one a baby girl, with different parents (William and Margaret) and a date of birth of August 10, 1897. Although it would never pass genealogical proof standards, I'm convinced that the two Urquhart babies have their birth dates switched in this record, and the record for the  unnamed son of Kenneth J and Mina is indeed that of Kenneth.

The only other military record I could find for Kenneth Urquhart on Ancestry is from Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919. Under Cause and Place of Death it notes "Previously reported missing, now reported Killed in Action"
Under Place of Burial there are many notes in different hands and ink that seem to contradict each other so as a last resort I search for Kenneth Urquhart WWI using google and came up with something that seemed to make no sense at all!

From a website called WWI Cemeteries

Flying Officer Kenneth Robertson URQUHART. Royal Canadian Air Force, attached RAF, aged 23. Son of Kenneth and Mina Robertson Urquhart of Williamstown, Ontario, Canada.

And the following image:
Since Kenneth Urquhart was born in 1897, and had died in WWI, this couldn't be the same person but the parents were the same! I searched the Honour Roll for Kenneth Robertson Urquhart and there he was

In memory of
Flying Officer
Kenneth Robertson Urquhart
who died on July 19, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: J/28220
Age: 23
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:138 (R.A.F.) Sqdn

Additional Information:

Son of Kenneth Urqhart and Mina Robertson Urquhart, of Williamstown, Ontario.
Grave Reference: Coll. grave 1.
Commemorated on Page 467 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. 
A family grave marker gives Kenneth Robertson's year of birth as 1921, 5 years after his elder brother died. Their parents Kenneth and Mina Urquhart lost two sons named Kenneth, born  24 years apart, to two different world wars. Both brothers are buried in France.

1 comment:

  1. This is my grandfathers family. He is now listed on the other side of that tomb stone... they have amazing history!