On The War Memorial Trail….. The Fisherman Who Lost His Life In France While A WW1 Soldier

March 21, 2021. In researching the stories of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, it’s become a mystery why some from the local area were NOT included on the Cenotaph.  Over the years, two names have been added to the original 46 names… that of James Ambroise CAIRNS and Joseph Arthur DESROCHES.

In the village of Victoria-By-The-Sea, two men listed on a memorial at the Victoria Community Hall, built in 1915, (which is also the home of the Victoria Playhouse) are on the Cenotaph: Arthur Leigh COLLETT and Percy FARRAR

When Pieter went to see the memorial, he wondered why WW1 soldier Heath Ward MACQUARRIE was not.  Brenda Boudreau, of the Victoria Historical Society, explained that Heath Ward MacQuarrie was her grand-uncle, “….my grandfather’s brother...

CIMG4912 Nov 11 2020 Brenda Boudreau & Pieter by Victoria WW1 monument

Brenda Boudreau and Pieter Valkenburg by the memorial at Victoria Community Hall on November 11, 2020.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

No soldier buried overseas should be forgotten...” Pieter reminded me, after learning that this WW1 soldier had died in France. 

Heath MacQuarrie in uniform

Heath MacQuarrie. (Photo courtesy of Greg Gallant of the PEI Regiment Museum.)

Born in Victoria-By-The-Sea on March 28, 1891, according to his baptismal record, Heath was the son of William Archibald MacQuarrie and Charlotte Mallett.   A fisherman before enlisting with the 105th Overseas Draft Battalion on February 19, 1917, Heath was married.  He and his wife, Bertha May Francis, were the parents of a son, William Richard ‘Dick’ MacQuarrie.


Olympic in dazzle at Pier 2 in Halifax, Nova Scotia painted by Arthur Lismer (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Olympic#First_World_War)

On June 1, 1917 he left Halifax aboard the ‘Olympic’, one of the ships used to transport troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Britain. As of 1917, the ship had 6-inch guns and was painted in a ‘dazzle’ camouflage in brown, dark blue, light blue, and white colours, in an attempt to make it more difficult for observers to estimate her speed and heading. (For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Olympic#First_World_War)

The dazzle camouflage worked as Heath safely arrived in England on June 10, where he was transferred to the 13th Reserve Battalion.  Then, on November 23, 1917, he was transferred again, to the 23rd Reserve (New Brunswick) Battalion, and sent to France a day later.

His brother Glen had enlisted in 1914 and was in France as well but it’s unknown if the two brothers ever met up with each other.  Glen survived the war, but Heath did not.

On August 8, 1918 he lost his life, aged 27.  According to the stark account in the Circumstances of Casualty form in his service file, Heath “…was so severely wounded in many parts of his body by enemy fire while taking part in operations at the Sunken road in front of Guillaucourt, that despite the fact he received first aid promptly he succumbed shortly afterwards.

He was buried at Wood Cemetery in the village of Marcelcave, 24 kms east of Amiens in the Department of the Somme in France. He’s one of 50 WW1 burials in this cemetery – 41 from Canada and 9 from the United Kingdom. 

Heath’s wife Bertha never remarried. Their son Dick attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, majoring in geology.  His work took him across Canada before he returned back to Victoria-By-The-Sea with his wife Marion Raynor, before passing away in 1975, at the age of 60.

Richard Dick MacQuarrie

Dick MacQuarrie in Victoria-By-The-Sea on May 14,1929. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Boudreau.)

Thank you to Brenda Boudreau for providing information of her grand-uncle.  If you have any further information to share, please let Pieter know.  You can email him at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1

Screenshot_2021-02-27 On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg

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© Daria Valkenburg

3 thoughts on “On The War Memorial Trail….. The Fisherman Who Lost His Life In France While A WW1 Soldier

  1. Hi Guys,

    Please find attached a picture of Heath MacQuarrie in his uniform. Also Pieter, Victoria should also include their most decorated First War veteran Percy Clark Sherren, MC and Bar. He did not die during the war but he remained in the Royal Air Force after the war. He was killed in 1920 during a air race around London. His plane collided with another one and he fell to his death. We have his medals in the museum. Cheers.


  2. Pingback: The Author Talk At Victoria Playhouse | On The War Memorial Trail Research Project…….. with Pieter and Daria Valkenburg

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