Macfie Brothers

Roy, Arthur, and John Macfie

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You can say this about Roy Macfie—he had a great sense of humour.

Macfie, shown seated in this 1916 photo-postcard, has written a quick note to his brother: "Dear Bro: Here’s a picture I've carried around a long time. I was afraid to send it to anybody. But we weren’t nearly so drunk as we look. We only had a beer or two at the time. We look about starved to death too. Be careful who you show it to.”

Macfie was the first of three Macfie brothers to fight in the Great War. Born in January 1891, the Dunchurch, Ontario, native was working as a lumberjack and on the family farm when he enlisted on September 15, 1914.

Macfie was among the thousands of men who rushed to enlist in the earliest days of the war. Arriving in France as a member of the 1st Battalion Horsed Transport, Macfie would serve the entire duration of the war, rising to the rank of corporal. He was wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele, and was twice decorated “for bravery in the field,” receiving the Military Medal and Bar. Arthur Macfie, the middle brother, enlisted in March 1916. Wounded just prior to the April 1917 Vimy Ridge attack, he was invalided home to Ontario.

Their brother John Macfie was not so fortunate. Enlisting in May 1916 with the 162 Battalion, John was killed at the Battle of Fresnoy Wood on May 3, 1917.

Roy’s son, John Macfie says the death of his namesake uncle “of course cast a pall over the Macfie household, that remained all too palpable while I grew up there. I’ve always assumed, but never was told, that I was named for my missing uncle.”

Upon his return to Canada in 1919, Roy Macfie, purchased his father’s farm, married schoolteacher Edith Mitchell, and proceeded to raise seven children. In 1942, Roy enlisted in The Veterans' Guard, did guard service in several prisoner of war camps, and was discharged (ironically, as a result of complications from shrapnel left in his body from 1917) in early 1945. In 1952, he sold his farm to his oldest son Donald. Roy Macfie died in November 1976 at the age of 85.

Do you have an ancestor who served in the Great War? Submit their story and it could be included on this Great War Album website.