Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Soldiers of the Great War; The Fredericton Soldier Biography History Initiative

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Winslow, Rainsford Hannay

48th Battalion, 3rd Canadian Pioneers
1st Canadian Engineers Tramway Company
71st York Carleton Regiment


Rainsford Hannay Winslow was born on October 19, 1887 in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada. He was the youngest of eight children born to Byron E. Winslow and Emma Barbara Winslow. Rainsford had five brothers including, Wentworth B, Jasper Andrew, John James Fraser, Francis Edward, and Robert Napier, as well as two sisters, Elizabeth Caroline (Mrs. G. D. Ireland) and Marguerite (Mrs. E. L. du Domaine). Service records reveal that he had blue eyes, dark hair and a fresh complexion. While little is known of the specifics of his early life in Fredericton, when he enlisted at the age of 27, he stood five feet nine inches tall. Like other members of his family, he belonged to the Church of England. Newspapers and records show that Rainsford attended the University of New Brunswick in the fall of 1904 and later McGill University, graduating from McGill in 1909 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering. Prior to enlisting for service, he had been working in British Columbia as a land surveyor and was a member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. At the time of his enlistment, Rainsford was single, although records indicate that he would later take a leave of absence in 1916 marrying Ms. Olive Marjorie Doris while overseas. In December of 1914, Rainsford was granted a commission as Lieutenant for the 48th Battalion and would accompany them to England.

Wartime Experience

Rainsford left for England with the 3rd Pioneers and formerly enlisted in Shorncliffe, England on August 19, 1915. According to his service record, eight months after arriving in March of 1916, Rainsford went to France with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion being promoted to temporary captain in July of 1916. In September, Rainsford medical history reveals that he was wounded, treated and released as a result of shrapnel fire only to be readmitted the following day after again being wounded by shrapnel. Not too soon after that, he was admitted to hospital with laryngitis. In November of 1916, Rainsford was attached to the Canadian Corps Training School and was later a part of 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. Newspapers would report his marriage to Doris McLaggan in December of 1916 as she had come to visit him from British Columbia, the two having met one another while Rainsford was working out west. By 1918 Rainsford was given command of the 1st Tramway Company and was soon promoted to major and later granted a special thirty-day leave of absence to England in August to visit his wife. Upon his return to the field Rainsford was dangerously wounded by a bomb blast while conducting work on the Arras-Cambrai road, causing serious harm to his arm and hip. He was immediately taken to the Number 7 Casualty Clearing Station where he passed away on September 9, 1918, succumbing to his injuries. He died a day after entering hospital. Rainsford was the tender age of 31, leaving behind his wife. General Currie remarked of Lieutenant Winslow as "a most valued officer in our Tramways Department and, while knowing him well, all engineers and infantry with whom he served spoke of him in the highest possible terms of praise".

Lest We Forget

Rainsford is remembered with honour at the Ligny-St. Flochel Cemetery in France. He was the second in his family to die during the war as his older brother Jasper, was killed March 22, 1917. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, there are 638 soldiers laid to rest amongst the grassy fields at Ligny-St. Flochel in France. He left behind friends and family and was mourned by many. Rainsford is memorialized at the cenotaph in Fredericton, and he will never be forgotten for his contribution to the war.

*This biography was researched and written by Patricia Forestell, a Grade 8 student (2016-2017) at George Street Middle School located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.