Monday, March 1, 2010

Private Alexander Gair - 769636

Alexander Gair
Courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial

According to his attestation papers dated January 4, 1916 at Toronto, Alexander Gair, Queens Avenue, Mimico was born on May 29, 1889 at Forfar, Scotland.  He listed his wife Annie Gair, Queens Avenue, Mimico as his next of kin.  He was a teamster and had no previous military experience.  He was 26 years and 6 months of age and stood 5 feet 8 1/4 inches tall.  He had blue eyes, black hair and a fair complexion.  He had a scar on the little finger of his left hand and on the left shin.

He was a Private in the 87th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) when he was killed on June 9, 1917 in the trenches at La Coulotte.  It appears that his remains were never found as he is listed on the Vimy Memorial.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website indicates that he was the husband of of Annie Gair, of 25 Metcalfe St., Toronto, Ontario.
Alexander Gair's War Medals
Courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial

The following biographical information is posted on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial:

Alexander Gair was born on 29 May 1889, the seventh of ten children, on a farm near Tannadice, Angus, Scotland. While attending Kingsmuir Public School, he was considered an outstanding student and was awarded prizes for Good-fellowship and General Excellence. In 1909 and with the help of a family friend, he went to work on a sheep ranch in Wyoming, U.S.A. This arrangement did not pay very well so in 1910, he found his way to western Canada where he joined his older brother William.

With the emigration of his parents and several siblings to Canada in 1911 and 1912, Alec and William re-joined their family and settled in Mimico, then a small village outside of Toronto.

In 1913, Alec met and married Annie Hutcheon, a Scottish girl from Edinburgh; and in 1914, their daughter, Annie, was born.

In 1915, Alec enlisted in the 124th, Mississauga Horse Battalion and went overseas in September 1916. To be closer to her husband, Annie and his daughter returned to Scotland in October of the same year. Alec last saw his wife and daughter while on leave during Christmas of 1916 at his wife's home in Lasswade Scotland.

In the spring of 1917, he was transferred to the 87th Montreal Regiment, and was killed at Messines on 9 June 1917, at the age of 28.

Alec's daughter Annie subsequently married Harold A. Belfry and settled in central Ontario. Annie Greig Hutcheon Gair Belfry currently resides in Peterborough, Ontario.

His brother Archie also enlisted and was killed.

In the 1914 Toronto City directory he is listed as a driver living with his father Alex Gair, labourer on the east side of Albert Avenue, Mimico.

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