Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Robert McGregor Stewart: CWGC Beechwood

Born on 31 March 1870 in Perthshire, Scotland, Robert McGregor Stewart enlisted in October 1917 from Victoria, BC for service with the Canadian Military Police. On 25 July 1918 while riding at the Rockcliffe Camp his horse stepped into a hole hidden by grass. Thrown over the horse's head he became unconscious on hitting the ground. Transferred to St Luke's Hospital he died four hours later from a fracture of the skull.

According to the British Colonist of 3 August 1918:

Native of Scotland
Sergt. Stewart was a native of Perthshire, Scotland. Even as a lad at school there he showed his inclination for a military life, and under his leadership in his home town in the Highlands a company of boys was organised which in time became the pride of the place.
When he reached military see he enlisted in the Royal Scots and with them got his first taste of foreign service, spending sixteen, years in India.

Served Under Kitchener
Sergt. Stewart served in Egypt under Kitchener, was at the battle of Tel-el-Kiber, and took part in the famous charge led on that occasion by the bagpipes, when the “Kilties” at the point of the bayonet carried everything before them. During the Boer war he was Q.M.S. on transport duty, conveying troops from Australia to South Africa. For this he was highly commended.
At the close of the Boer war he decided to seek his fortune in Canada, and settled in Toronto. In 1911 he crossed the continent and took up his residence In Victoria. On the outbreak of hostilities in August, 1914, he was among the first to offer his services in any capacity in which the Government might wish to use him.

"A brave soldier and a loyal subject,” is how one of his old friends speaks of him.

The Sergeant-Major was quite a renowned dancer, and when in full Highland costume, wearing all the medals he had won on one occasion or another for his beautiful performance of the national dances of the Highlands, the Highland fling, the sword dance, etc., he was a proud figure indeed. On more than one occasion he had the honor of being summoned before the late Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle to give exhibitions of these spirited and historic dances, and was much In demand for the same reason at Highland games, military sports, etc. More than once the Scottish community of Victoria has been privileged to see his fine agility in this direction.

He was the husband of Christina Jane Stewart.

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