Robert Ballantyne is my 1st cousin, 3x removed; the son of Robert Ballantyne, my great, great grandfather Walter Ballantyne's brother.
He was born on 13 August 1890 in the small village of Colmonell, Ayrshire, where his father was the dairyman at the Garnaburn farm. Robert grew up to work on the farm but in 1911 when he was only 21 years old he decided to emigrate to Canada to no doubt create better opportunities for his future.
The move far away from his home however, could not defend Robert against the ravages of WW1, as his new home of Canada was the senior dominion in the British Empire and automatically at war with Germany upon the British declaration.
Robert signed up for active service on 1st January 1916 in Winnipeg. He joined the 14th Canadian Field Ambulance Corps and was shipped to England for training. He wasn't married and is recorded to be 25 years of age, 5' 3 1/2" tall with a chest measurement of 34." His complexion was fair, his eyes blue-brown and his hair was dark brown.
The Canadian Expeditionary Force eventually numbered 260 infantry battalions, two named infantry battalions (The Royal Canadian Regiment and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), 13 mounted rifle regiments, 13 railway troop battalions, 5 pioneer battalions, as well as numerous ancillary units including field and heavy artillery batteries, ambulance, medical, dental, forestry, labour, tunnelling, cyclist, and service units.The Canadian Expeditionary Force lost 60,661 men during the war, representing 9.28% of the 619,636 who enlisted.
During his time in service, Robert had several illnesses that are recorded in his army record. He had tonsillitis, measles and hematuria, which is blood in his urine. On 28th February 1918, Robert was granted the Good Conduct Badge. He spent time in France as well as England. While he was in England, Robert met a young girl, Mabel Florence Deverell and on 10th September 1917, Robert was given permission to marry.
Robert and Mabel had one child, Mabel Elizabeth (known as Betty) and in July 1919, his young wife and child who was just six months old, sailed to Quebec on their own on the Melita from Liverpool, without Robert. He did meet up with them soon after on his demobilization from the army. Less than a year later, Mabel's sister Beatrice Maud Deverell, a nurse, joined the young family in Canada and sailed on 12th May 1920.
The Canadian census for 1921 shows the young family living in Blanshard, Marquette, Manitoba and Robert is listed as a farmer. They are living in a wooden house with 4 rooms and the family has grown. Robert and Mabel had 2 more daughters, Ella born in 1920 and Dorothy in 1921.
The family stay in Canada for several years but on 11th April 1926, the family arrive back in Liverpool aboard the Doric. Robert and Mabel were both 33 years old at this time. The manifest states that they intended to settle in Scotland at Pinwherry, where Robert's family lived but I can't find any evidence to confirm that they did. Instead, I next find the family living in Japonica Cottage, Meadow Lane, Iffley, Oxford where Robert is listed as a farmer.
Mabel Florence Ballantyne died at the age of 83 at 47, Mary Herbert Street, Coventry and Robert lived to the amazing age of 93, also ending his days in Coventry.
Quite a story!