Alfred McGovern

Alfred McGovern could not provide a birth date when he volunteered in Kingston for service with the 21st Battalion.  He did however state that he was born in Scotland


Oct 15, 1904

Embarked the SS Corinthian in Glasgow, Scotland as a Home Child



Oct 25, 1904

Disembarked in Montreal, Quebec and proceeded to the Fairknowe Home, Brockville Ontario, initially opened by Mr. William Quarrier from Scotland.  This home was eventually operated by the Quarrier’s charity

Below are 2 photos of the Fairknowe Home, on the left as it was in 1930 and on the right as it stood in 2011




Nov 3, 1914

Volunteered for service in Kingston but not attested

Ø  Number 101

Ø  Next of kin given as Kathleen Marshall, friend, c/o James Orchard, Brockville, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Chef

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Posted to “A” Company




Mar 27, 1915

Medical Board in Kingston notes

Ø  For some weeks patient has been acting strangely

Ø  Patient claims to have received messages from the King

Ø  On the morning of this examination he would not allow the men to put milk in their tea as he believed it to be poison

Ø  His condition is considered permanent and that he will require admission to an asylum for the insane

Ø  Patient is determined to be delusional and not safe to be at large

Private Alfred McGovern was admitted to the Rockwood Asylum for the insane in Kingston


May 8, 1915

Struck Off Strength of the 21st Battalion and posted to Military District #3 in Kingston


Jan 18, 1918

Medical Board at the Rockwood Asylum notes

Ø  Patient suffers from delusional insanity

Ø  Has no organic or physical problems

Ø  Patient is disinterested and indifferent and will not do work of any kind

Ø  Does not know day or year and says he “don’t know anything”

Ø  States his occupation is “natural”

Ø  Claims to have the highest education in the world

Ø  The Board notes that the symptoms began after he joined the 21st Battalion and his condition was precipitated by his service

Ø  He must remain in hospital for the insane as he is not capable of looking after himself

Alfred McGovern was discharged from the CEF and made a permanent resident of the Rockwood Asylum for the Insane


Oct 3, 1970

Alfred McGovern died while a patient in the Westminster Hospital for the insane


Return to Tribute list