Rev. Whillans’s War

The father of my Owen Sound connection was a chaplain in the First World War, Rev. William James Whillans of Winnipeg. This evening, hunting through photos, I came across a post card sent from the front as well as a few others. He is the jaunty gent in the lower right of the first photo.Rev Whillans at a WWI hospital on a postcard

Reverse of postcard above

This is an example of the postcards I discussed in an earlier post. As you can see from the photo below, he was involved with those doing the fighting.

…with a few of the saved from the trenches
...and with some of his work

…in the trenches… just a bear

…and Rev. Whillans with one particular bear brought from Winnipeg during WWI.just a bear



Wow. I gather you scanned those pictures?


All but the photo on the lower left which is portion of a digital photo of a picture on the wall at my grannie-in-law’s.

Robert Paterson

Great Pics Alan – My most treasured possession is a menu for a dinner held every year until the last of them died of the gunners in Montreal who were at the 2nd battle of Ypres on Feb 1915. Inside the menu, the diners have left us their signatures. There is Currie, MacNaughton, many officers including my Grandfather who was in france from Feb 1915 to September 1918, and several enlisted men. Only the CEF would have had that perspective. I can’t scan it because I have had it framed!

Reminds me though of a story. Currie had moved to Montreal after the war, he had grown up in BC, and became the president of McGill. He did not know any plumbers and had a burst pipe. He asked if some one knew someone who could fix things and was told to call Luther Sutherland, my great Uncle. Uncle Luther was one of the top engineers in Canada and owned a huge construction company. Currie thought that he was calling a handyman. Luther arrived directly from his club, in his Rolls, in evening dress and fixed the pipe. He admired Currie so much and they became good friends


Alan, I am a member of the Guild of One Name Studies, researching Whillans worldwide, so I would be delighted to receive jpg/tif/pict copies of those shots involving the Rev Whillans. Is there any possibility?


You should be able to save the shots off this site by right clicking and selecting “save picture as”. Does that not work?

Eileen Whillans

Hello – I enjoyed seeing your pictures for two reasons. 1. We have met “James” son Morley and wished that we could have seen more of him before he passed away and 2. my husband spent 25 years in the Canadian Engineers (Army). Thanks for sharing the pictures.


My wife wants to know if you are a relation and whether you met Morley’s sister Evelyn?

Eileen Whillans

My husband is a round-about relation and no, we have not met Morley’s sister Evelyn. We live on Vancouver Island and met up with Morley in Victoria. We do have a “hot plate” (? for putting your teapot on) that James made and gave to Norm’s father Robert who lived and died in Vancouver.

Sylvia Rehling

thanks Alan. i copied and pasted the photos if anyone else wants copies they can try that. I have a great love for history and seeing a family connection is great. if you have any other family history info i would love to have copies.

Paul Tim Whillans

I have my grandfather James Whillans´ diary from 1917 and the complete photograph from “in the trenches”. That photo was widely publicized at the time
Best regards from Colombia Paul Tim

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