Donald Grant Fowlds (1891-1918) was born in Hastings, Ontario. He was working as a bank manager in Pelly, Saskatchewan, when he travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in order to enlist with the Fort Garry Horse in May 1916. He was shot in the left arm on March 31, 1918, and rejoined his unit in early June. Later that year he was killed southeast of Cambrai, France, on October 9, 1918, during the Last 100 Days, the most deadly period of fighting experienced by the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Like many soldiers killed on the battlefield, Fowlds’ body was never found. He is commemorated on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France. He left his estate to his father, Frederick William Fowlds of Hastings, Ontario
Fowlds’ two siblings, Helen and Eric, also served in the First World War. Helen Lander Fowlds was a nursing sister whose extensive wartime correspondence has been digitized by Trent University. She wrote many letters to her parents back home in Canada during the war. In several written near the end of 1918, she tries to console them over the death of her brother Don.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: July 22, 1891 (Hastings, Ontario)
Date of Attestation: April 24, 1916 (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Age at Enlistment: 24 years, 9 months
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 154 pounds
Description: Dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair. Presbyterian. Two vaccination scars on his left arm.
Home Address: Pelly, Saskatchewan
Trade: Bank Manager
Next of Kin: Father, F. Fowlds, and mother, Elizabeth Fowlds, living in Hastings, Ontario.
Theatre of War: France
Casualties / Medical History
- January 4-19, 1917 – Fowlds is hospitalized for 16 days and cured of measles. He returns to duty. (Page 7)
- March 31, 1918 – He suffers a gunshot wound to his left arm, and rejoins his unit in May. (Page 16)
- Oct 9, 1918 – He is KIA (killed in action) after having only recently returned from two weeks’ leave. (Page 17)
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- 1916 – A note indicates that he arrived in England on the SS Northland on September 22, 1916. (Page 16)
- September 1, 1916 – He arranges for a separation allowance to be drawn from his pay and sent to his mother in Hastings, Ontario. (Page 5)
- December 31, 1918 – A typewritten Military Will, certified by a Lieutenant Thorpe, documents Fowlds’ wish to leave everything to his father, Frederick William Fowlds. The document indicates that he was killed in action on October 9, 1918. The original, handwritten will, signed by Fowlds and dated April 4, 1917, is also in the service file. (Pages 12 and 40)
The London Gazette
Military Medals, Honours and Awards (1812–1969)
1911 Census of Canada
- At 19 years of age, Donald Grant Fowlds is living in Hastings, Ontario, with his family. His father Frederick (54) is listed as an insurance agent. The family is listed as Canadian with a Scottish background, and Presbyterian. Donald’s older sister Helen (22) also lives at home, as does his younger brother Eric (17). Frederick’s two sisters, Theresa Hogg (57) and Margaret Fowlds (45), also live in the home.