CEF Beechwood Burial: Alexander P. Menzies

On 14 June 1921 Alexander Pratt Menzies, age 24, was found drowned at Britannia Bay on the Ottawa River. There’s little additional information on his death certificate except birth 2-10-1897 in England. Newspaper reports were that he’d been in Ottawa for 3 weeks looking for work and staying at the Union Mission.

His CWGC record indicates “Son of William Menzies, of 34, Summerfield Avenue, Queen’s Park, Kilburn, London, England, and the late Emily Menzies”.

There is a civil registration of birth index entry giving his mother’s maiden name Powell. A baptism on 1 January 1899 at St Mary Magdalene, Hollowell Road, Islington gives parents William James and Emily Elizabeth.

The 1906 and 1911 censuses show the family living in Winnipeg having emigrated in 1900. His father is the manager of a hardware store in 1911 earning $1,500 annually. His mother died in January 1912 in Winnipeg and a brother in August 1913 following which his father returned to England.

Alexander had enlisted in Winnipeg in April 1916 giving his date of birth 2 October 1898. His personnel file shows he served with the Young Soldiers Battalion, enlisted with the 207th, the 18th Reserve and the 44th Battalions. He had served in England and France, received a gunshot wound and was discharged in May 1919 with defective vision.

A second attestation paper dated September 1919 gives his sister Margaret of Wildwood, Manitoba as his next of kin and his address as YMCA, Main Street, Winnipeg. He was demobilized in December that year.

His service file indicated he has suffered from epilepsy. Perhaps he had a seizure while swimming?

He is buried in Sec. 29. Lots 13 and 14. West. 23 at Beechwood Cemetery, the fourth Ottawa River drowning victim among the 99 First World War CEF burials in the cemetery.

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