Granton War Memorial
Hector Douglas was born on 4th September 1885. At the time of the 1891 Census he was living with his parents at Bayton Terrace, Granton Road and was aged 5 years. His father, Alexander Douglas worked at a sawmill. By the time of the 1901 Census he had left home and was living with his elder brother, Alexander, at 38 St Clair Street in Glasgow, Maryhill. His occupation was given as ‘cycle apprentice’. In 1905 he emigrated to Canada, sailing from Glasgow to Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the passenger list provided to the Canadian authorities, his ultimate destination was shown as Winnipeg.
On the 23rd September 1914 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces at Valcartier – a newly formed depot for the Canadian Armed Forces situated about 30 miles north of Quebec. His attestation papers can be seen on www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases. He gave this mother’s name as next-of-kin – Mrs Grace Douglas of 12 East Cottages, Lower Granton Road. His height was 5 feet 9¾ inches, he had fair hair and blue eyes and had a tattoo consisting of clasped hands over a heart and flower.
By April 1915 he was in Belgium at Ypres. On 22nd April the Germans used chlorine gas at Ypres for the first time on the western front. This marked the start of the Second Battle of Ypres. The gas was directed against a section of the trenches held by French colonial troops who panicked and retreated. This left a gap on the left flank of the Canadian Division which the Canadians had to try to secure. Hector Douglas was killed in the resulting fighting the next day.
He has no known grave and is one of about 54,000 soldiers who are commemorated on Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. On the Granton Memorial his regiment is indicated by the letters ‘CS’ which were meant to indicated ‘Canadian Scottish’. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website his regiment was the Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment).