Each soldier has a story.
Lachlan James Kingsbury was born on 25 January 1898, likely on his parents’ farm. He was the youngest son of Harriet and Gilbert Kingsbury. They lived on the east side of lot 24, concession 3, in Nassagaweya Township (now part of the Town of Milton), Ontario.
Lachlan signed his attestation papers to join the 164th battalion on 24 January 1916, one day short of his 18th birthday. He was a “fine young soldier of exceptional physique.” He never saw action overseas.
In September 1916, Private Kingsbury came home from training at Camp Borden for a four-day leave. Perhaps he told his family about the Governor General, HRH the Duke of Connaught, visiting Camp Borden on 4 September. Returning to camp on 12 September, he jumped from the train, “fell under the wheels and was instantly killed. A foot was crushed, his left knee broken, chest crushed and skull fractured.” (Canadian Champion, Milton, 14 Sep 1916)
The Toronto Globe reported: “He thought to save time by dropping off the train at the beginning of the lines, and must have misjudged the speed of the train in the darkness.” The verdict from the coroner’s inquest was ‘accidental death’.
The Acton Free Press reported on his death and funeral the following week.
NEWS FROM CAMP BORDEN
Quite a gloom was cast over the camp when it became known that Pte. L. Kinsgbury of the 164th Battalion had met with an accident and been fatally injured. He was a nice quiet comrade, beloved by all, and many expressions of regret were made at his untimely end. A number of his comrades in the company to which he belonged attended his funeral on Friday at his home in Nassagaweya. …
The funeral last Friday of Pte. L. Kingsbsury, of the 164th Battalion, who was accidently killed while stepping off the train at Camp Borden on Tuesday evening of last week, was one of the largest ever held in Nassagaweya. Brief services were held at the home, and the cortege then proceeded to Ebenezer church, the members of the Nassagaweya platoon, under Capt. Mahon, forming a guard of honor. The services at the church were conducted by Rev. W. K. Allen, M.A., B.D. the pastor, assisted by Rev. E. Milton Carter, B.A., the former pastor. Rev. Mr. Carter preached a very impressive and sympathetic sermon. The Church was crowded to the door, many being unable to gain admission. Interment took place at Ebenezer Cemetery and Pte. Kingsbury was buried with military honors. 21 Sep 1916, p. 2 column 1 and p. 3 column 2
Ebenezer Church and Cemetery are on the Guelph Line, a scant mile south of the former Kingsbury family farm. While other veterans are buried there, Kingsbury’s is the only war grave at Ebenezer. His grandmother and parents are buried there, too. The Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission would have offered the military gravestone to the Kingsbury family around 1920.