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Walter McGrath

Biography

Walter McGrath (1919-1990)

Joseph Walter McGrath was born on 23 July 1919. He was baptised on 3 August 1919 in the St. Simon & St. Jude Church in Tignish, Prince Edward Island. His parents were Gustavus McGrath and Mary Evelyn (Eva) Cahill.

Walter came from a family of four children. His three older siblings were Mary Catherine E. McGrath (b. 1907), John (Johnny) McGrath (b. 1911), and Annie Emelyn Mcgrath (b. 1915).

Two months before Walter was to turn two years old, his father passed away, leaving his mother, Eva to look after the four children on her own. However, she was not on her own. In the 1921 Census, Eva and her four children have Gustavus’ mother, Catherine McGrath, and his two sisters Annie McGrath and Ella May McGrath, living with them in their Norway PEI home.

Regardless of whatever hardships they may have faced, Walter’s education was given excellent priority. Both of his aunts who helped raised him in his Norwary PEI home became instructors at St. Dunstan’s College: Annie as a teacher of English and Botany, and Ella May as a teacher of Commerce. The College also operated a High School, of which Walter became a student. On June 30th 1932 Walter, as a grade nine student, received a history award that was handed to him by the women’s charitable organization, Daughters of the Empire. This charitable group provided students with scholarships, bursaries book prizes, and awards.

Around May 1937, Walter graduated Saint Dunstan’s College High School and he was on the Honours list for Religion. He attended Saint Dunstan’s College as a freshman in the fall of 1937.

The book named “Elementary Classics” written by H.M. Stephenson was signed by Walter McGrath. Underneath his name is written “SDU. Freshman. 37 38.”
Walter McGrath graduated in 1941 and then moved to Brockville Ontario to attend military school.

Walter became a Lieutenant and Captain in World War II. He returned to Canada after the War aboard the Ile de France in April 1946.

While overseas he had met and married Mary Dearden of Lancashire, England. She came to Canada as a war bride, according to the front page notice in the 30 May 1946 edition of the Charlottetown Guaridan:

HALIFAX, May 29- The liner Lady Nelson, carrying more than 200 dependents of Canadian servicemen and 82 hospitalized Canadian veterans will arrive here Sunday, military authorities announced today. The list of dependents include the following from Prince Edward Island: Mrs. Mary McGrath, husband Lieut. J.W. McGrath, Charlottetown; Mrs. Thelma C. Gosbee, Murray River; and Mrs. Hilda D. Douglas, husband Staff Sgt. J. H. Douglas, Mount Stewart.

Walter and Mary had twin daughters, Carole Ann and Susan Maureen born 15 March 1947. Mary and the girls traveled frequently to Manchester, England to visit Mary’s family.

In 1950, they traveled from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Liverpool aboard the Ship Nova Scotia. They traveled from Montreal to Liverpool in September 1952, aboard the Empress of France, in 1953 they traveled aboard the Ship Ascania, and again in 1957 aboard the Empress of France. Each time they traveled to 185 Wardale Road, Rochdale, in Greater Manchester. In 1950 and 1957 the address was listed as “Dalkeith” Wardale Road, Rochdale, Lancs.

Walter died in 1990 and is buried in Tignish, Prince Edward Island.

Sources:

1921 Census of Canada. Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 104; Census Place: Nail Pond, Prince, Prince Edward Island; Page Number: 3

“Annie Emelyn Conway” Obituary from In Memoriam, accessed October 18, 2017.

Centennial Booklet and Directory of All Students Registered Since January 17, 1855. Published by St. Dunstan’s Alumni Association on the occasion of the Centennial Reunion. August 2 to 5, 1954, p.121.

“Deaths”. Charlottetown Guardian. 18 June 1921, p. 3.

“Gustavus McGrath” from Island Register, accessed October 18, 2017.

Inwards Passenger Lists,1950. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1258; Item: 82

Inwards Passenger Lists,1952. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors; Class: BT26; Piece: 1290; Item: 35

Inwards Passenger Lists,1953. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors; Class: BT26; Piece: 1300; Item: 67

Inwards Passenger Lists,1950. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors; Class: BT26; Piece: 1385; Item: 11

“Island-Bound Brides Arrive in Halifax”. Charlottetown Guardian. 30 May 1946, p.1.

P.E.I. Veterans on Ile De France. The Guardian of the Gulf. 20 April 1946, p.1.

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