Burns, Robert: Service no. 404600


Digitized Service Record

Source: Duty Nobly Done Roll of Honour


Burns, Robert: Service no. 404600.

Robert Burns. Circa 1906. Peterborough, Ontario. Stamped “Richmond’s Studio, Peterboro Ont”

Son of Margaret (nee Bowman) and Alexander Burns, Jr., born 18 Oct 1881, Aberdeen, Scotland.

16 Feb 1901 enlisted Royal Engineers (#8157) at Aberdeen. Served in South Africa 30 Mar 1901 – 31 Jul 1902, discharged at Aberdeen 1 Aug 1902.

Arrived St John, NB, in 1904 and settled in Toronto. He resided in Peterborough by 1906.

Married Beatrice Ada Shrimpton, Dec 1916, Christ Church, Kent, England, while assigned to C.A.I.R.D.

A son, Robert Burns, was born between Oct and Dec 1917.

Pension Gratuity paid to Beatrice Burns, who was staying in New York with Robert’s brother Alfred and his family. Beatrice and her son returned to England in September 1921.

By Amy Burns. Submitted at the 18th Battalion Facebook Group.

Summary of Service for Burns, Robert, reg. no. 404600

October 18, 1881BornAberdeen, Scotland to Mr. and Margaret Burns. She is recorded to reside during his service at 89 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, Scotland.
April 9, 1915EnlistsEnlists at Toronto, Ontario. He is a Thirty-Three-year-old machinist. Standing 5’7” he is taller than average for a recruit of the C.E.F.
April 14, 1915InoculatedFirst of three inoculations with anti-typhoid serum.
April 17, 1915InoculatedSecond of three inoculations with anti-typhoid serum.
April 22, 1915Vaccinated 
April 23, 1915InoculatedLast of three inoculations with anti-typhoid serum.
October 1, 1915Assigns PayAssigns pay at a rate of $20.00 per month to his mother, Mrs. W. Burns, 89 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, Scotland.
October 16, 1915Embarks for EnglandBoards the S.S. Metagami at Montreal, Quebec.
October 25, 1915Arrives England 
March 20, 1916T.O.S. C.O.C.Taken on Strength with the Canadian Ordnance Corp as an Acting/Corporal, Ashford, England.
August 9, 1916T.O.S. C.A.I.R.D.Taken on Strength with the Canadian Arms Inspection and Repair Depot.
September 29, 1916Admitted to Convalescent Hospital, BromleyAdmitted with a case of scabies.
October 4, 1916Discharged from Hospital 
August 9, 1916T.O.S. C.A.I.R.D.Taken on Strength with the Canadian Arms Inspection and Repair Depot.
September 28, 1916Receiving TreatmentReceives treatment for scabies at Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bromley, Kent.
Date UnknownMarriesMarries Beatrice (nee unknown) Burns who is recorded to live at Surrey House, Gloucester View, Southsea, England. There is a note of a change of the Assigned Pay from Private Burns’ mother to his wife.
April 20, 1917T.O.S. 4th Reserve BattalionTaken on Strength with the 4th Reserve Battalion, Bramshott.
May 8, 1917Notation of VaccinationNotes: T.A.B./2
May 26, 1917Notation of VaccinationNotes: T.A.B./2
June 24, 1917Writes WillGives his estate to his wife, Beatrice Burns.
August 23, 1917Proceeds OverseasS.O.S. 4th Reservice Battalion and T.O.S. 18th Battalion.
August 24, 1917Reverts to PrivateReverts to private as he is assigned to an active combat unit. Reverting to a lower rank was common and not a reflection on the soldier’s martial skills or discipline. Soldiers were reverted to a lower rank as they lacked the combat experience to lead men and the battalions needed privates more than non-commissioned officers.
August 25, 1917Arrives Canadian Infantry Base DepotArrives C.I.B.D. and is taken on strength with the 18th Battalion.
September 5, 1917Joins Battalion In the FieldThe Battalion is in Brigade Reserve at Villers-Aus-Bois.
November 12, 1917Killed in ActionPrivate Burns in killed in action at Passchendaele and commemorated on the Menin Gate.



The War Diary of the 18th relates:


“During the whole of this tour the Officers and men held this part of the line under the most severe conditions possible. Great difficulty was experienced in the evacuating of casualties from the front line to R.A.P.s and dressing stations. Front line trenches were subjected to frequent barrages and the rear country [area] was also heavily shelled and bombed. The supports on this front were reached by a series of tracks, being trench mat walks, and rations had to be carried by mules up these tracks. Each track being subjected to continual shellfire, the transport and ration parties where fortunate in escaping with the loss of 3 men killed and 1 mule which fell off the duckboard track and owing to the depth of the mud had to be shot. Splendid work was done by the Battalion Stretcher bearers in tending and evacuating the wounded.”

February 27, 1921Pension Gratuity PaidA cheque numbered G1903807 in the amount of $100.00 is issued to Private Burns’ widow, Mrs. Beatrice Ada Burns residing at 235 West 148th Street, New York, New York, U.S.A.
"Killed in Action"
“Killed in Action”

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