Veteran Stories:
William John Alexander Stewart

Army

  • William John Alexander Stewart in France, July 15, 1917. Mr. Stewart served witht eh 12th Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Collection courtesy of Mr. Stewart's grandson, Steven Stothers.

    William John Alexander Stewart in France, July 15, 1917. Mr. Stewart served witht eh 12th Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Collection courtesy of Mr. Stewart's grandson, Steven Stothers.
  • William Stewart and his friend Joe Rutledge enlisted, crossed the Atlantic (depicted in this photo) and served together during the First World War.

    William Stewart and his friend Joe Rutledge enlisted, crossed the Atlantic (depicted in this photo) and served together during the First World War.
  • William Stewart (seated in the front row with a cane) and a section of the 12th Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

    William Stewart (seated in the front row with a cane) and a section of the 12th Canadian Machine Gun Corps.
  • William Stewart and friend Joseph Connolly.

    William Stewart and friend Joseph Connolly.
  • William Stewart after being promoted to Lieutenant in February, 1917.

    William Stewart after being promoted to Lieutenant in February, 1917.
  • Left to right: William Stewart, Joe Rutledge and Alexander Rutledge. The three friends enlisted together. Alexander Rutledge was killed on October 26, 1917 during the battle for Passchendaele.

    Left to right: William Stewart, Joe Rutledge and Alexander Rutledge. The three friends enlisted together. Alexander Rutledge was killed on October 26, 1917 during the battle for Passchendaele.
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Transcript

I'll talk just a bit about my grandfather, William John Alexander Stewart. He's my mother's father. He passed away in 1956, so I never did get to meet him.

When my grandmother passed away, a book of pictures was passed on to the family, so out of these pictures were a lot of the World War I pictures from about 1914 in Halifax, through to 1917/1918 with him in uniform. That really started me thinking about what happened and what were his experiences. In about '95, I was able to go to the National Archives and I got the microfilm of the War Diaries for the 12th Canadian Machine Gun Company. I was able then to follow through from about April 1917 to the end of his tour with that machine gun company by the end of December 1918. Where he was, what he did, what duties he had, just the general weather conditions, marching – everything, especially with army life, is in the War Diaries. That really gave me the background on him. My family history had it that a friend had died beside him, so I found out through the War Diaries that it was actually Alexander Herbert Routledge, who was killed at Passchendaele while they were moving up their machine guns on the night of October 5th, 1917. So that was kind of a family mystery that was discovered.

Unfortunately, that's about the only record I have for William John Alexander Stewart, and it's from the War Diaries, and just what my mother remembers from being told from time to time from her mother.

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