McCann, Robert Pollock: Service no. 158635


Digitized Service Record


Source: November 1917 casualty.


Private Robert Pollock McCann, service no. 158635

Robert Pollock McCann was born in Paisley, Scotland, to Nicholas and Catherine Pollock McCann on 14 August 1895. The family resided in Paisley through 1911. (1)

On 6 October 1912, Robert entered Canada at Quebec. His destination was Merritton, Ontario, to join his father; his intended occupation was rubber worker. (2)

Robert enlisted in the CEF at St Catharines, Ontario, on 16 August 1915. Described as 5′ 6 1/2″ tall with brown hair and gray eyes, he reported his date of birth as 14 August 1894. Private McCann was assigned to the 81st Battalion on 1 October. The unit departed Halifax for England on 28 April 1916 aboard the SS Olympic.

While training at West Sandling camp, Pte McCann faced disciplinary action twice, for drunkenness and absence without leave. At this time he also made his will, leaving his belongings to his mother in Merritton.

At the end of June 1916, Pte McCann was transferred to the 18th Battalion which he joined in the field 12 July. The 18th Battalion returned to the front from reserve three days later.

During his service with the 18th Battalion, Pte McCann was treated by Canadian Field Ambulance units for an abscess on his left leg (Nov 1916), for influenza (Feb 1917), and for a gunshot wound to his finger (sustained in May 1917).

On 3 August 1917, while the 18th Battalion was in reserve at Bovigny, Pte McCann was granted 10 days leave to Paris.

On 8 to 9 November, the 18th Battalion took position on the front line at Passchendaele. Conditions were dreadful; after heavy bombardment and bad weather, the ground was only passable on trench-mat tracks, with mud and water several feet deep in places. During this tour, on 10 November 1917, Pte McCann was killed in action.

He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.

(Sources: Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada; Canadian Great War Project War Diaries viewer. Also (1) National Records of Scotland; (2), Canada, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1865-1935.)

Credit: Amy Burns, 18th Battalion Facebook Group. July 7, 2022.

“Killed in Action”
Merritton Ontario War Memorial via Marika Pirie. Via CVWM.
Merritton Ontario War Memorial via Marika Pirie. Via CVWM.

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