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Lieutenant Grant Davidson Mowat was born in Meaford, Ontario, on June 10, 1894, to parents Alexander and Annie Elizabeth Mowat. The family later moved to Peterborough, Ont. Following his graduation from Peterborough Normal School, Mowat worked for several years as a schoolteacher. Shortly before his enlistment he had been accepted as a law student at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, Ont.

He was commissioned as an officer with the rank of Captain in February of 1916, and shipped overseas aboard the S.S. Empress of Britain the following July to join the 93rd Battalion in England. Mowat’s military records show that while stationed in England in April of 1917 he requested to revert to the rank of Lieutenant in order to be posted to France; Lt. Mowat joined the 21st Bn. in France on May 1, 1917.

Mowat was killed in action on August 15, 1917, during the Battle for Hill 70 near Lens. Initially laid to rest in a field burial near his place of death, subsequent battles in the area rendered Mowat’s remains unidentifiable at the time of their recovery following the war. His remains were reburied under a headstone marked as “Unknown Soldier” in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. In commemoration, as a soldier killed with no known gravesite, Mowat’s name was inscribed on the Vimy Memorial. In the 1990s new research, using records made at the time of his post-war reinternment, was able to identify his remains, and a new headstone was placed in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery identifying Lt. Grant Davidson Mowat’s gravesite.

Content notes:
Most of the collection’s letters were written by Mowat to his parents while he was stationed overseas in England and France. Often mentioned is his cousin “Mina” whose letters of the same time period can be found in the Nursing Sister Wilhelmina Mowat Collection.
On rank discrepancies: Mowat’s final rank appears in many records and sources as Captain, however his service record indicates his final rank as Lieutenant; this rank is used for his records with Library and Archives Canada and as such it is what has been used in his collection here.
Three new portrait photographs of Mowat were added to the collection in July 2024. Taken at the Roy Studio in Peterborough, Ont., in the period prior to Mowat’s deployment overseas, they have been provided courtesy of the Peterborough Museum & Archives.

External links:
Lt. Grant Mowat’s service record (Serv/Reg# not assigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
WWI Circumstances of Death Registers record card (page # 91), Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Mowat can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Mowat is also commemorated on the World War I Memorial Honour Roll in the Great Library at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario.
The Roy Studio photographs are part of the Balsillie Collection of Roy Studio Images held by the Peterborough Museum & Archives.

[Updated July 2024]

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