Robert William McRae

Thank you to Bruce Kettles for providing the service file


Jan 23, 1896

Born in Ste-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario to Andrew Duncan and Flora (nee Bethune) McRae


Oct 19, 1914

Shown on the payroll of the 42nd Lanark and Renfrew Regiment, Canadian Militia


Nov 6, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario 

Ø      Number 59739 (temporary number 457)

Ø      Next of kin given as Mrs. Flora McRae, mother, Ste-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Bank Clerk

o       His former employer was later noted as the Bank of Ottawa, Pembroke, Ontario

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø      Assigned to “D” Company

o       This was later reorganized into “B” Company 

The battalion trained in Kingston over the winter of 1914-15


Nov 10, 1914

Taken off the 42nd Regiment’s payroll


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec

May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Aug 6, 1915

Admitted to the St. Martin’s Plains Tent Hospital with a diagnosis that reads VDG (Venereal Disease Gonorrhea)


Sep 2, 1915

Transferred to the Depot Company while in hospital


Sep 4, 1915

Discharged to duty from hospital


Sep 9, 1915

Transferred back to “B” Company from the Depot Company


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St Seiriol in Folkestone

Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Sep 15, 1916

During the 21st Battalion’s advance at Courcelette, the battalion had a German strong point in a sugar refinery as their objective.  The attack was the first time the battalion had advanced with tanks for support, and the fighting was very fierce.  Private McRae was part of a bombing party and was killed during that advance.  His body was never recovered from the battlefield and as a result of having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France.

Following the war the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his father, Andrew McRae, Ste-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario

The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Mrs. Florence McRae, at the same address


The Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands has a memorial to all those of the MacRae/Macrae/McRae clan who perished in the Great War, including those who served in Canadian units.  In addition to Terry Lane, I would like to thank Ross Toms for passing this along.

For some reason he has been listed under the British Columbia Regiment

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