On this page we like to remember some of our members who were killed in action during the first world war.

Lieutenant Robert Ross Hartman was a multi-generation Canadian. The son of Isaac Josephus Hartman and Sarah Yetter Hartman, He was born on April 7, 1887, the youngest of two other brothers and one sister.  Isaac Hartman was the Postmaster in Aurora at one time, but was also listed as Postmaster in the Yukon between 1898 – 1913.  Isaac’s father, and Robert Ross’ grandfather Lot Hartman was one of 10 children of John Hartman b.1779 in Germany.  John Hartman emigrated to the US, as part of the Pennsylvania Deutch in the early 1800s and in 1807 emigrated to Upper Canada.  John Hartman purchased Lot 80, Concession I, Whitchurch Township, in 1816. The farm lot, comprised some 190 acres, fronted on Yonge Street and stretched to the second concession, now known as Bayview Avenue. The northern boundary of Lot 80 is present-day Wellington Street East. Their first home was a log cabin, now long gone.  Robert Ross Hartman was born in Aurora, but spent his early years in Dawson in the Yukon. He must have, at some point, attended Upper Canada College in Toronto, as he is remembered on the brass memorial plate of former students who died in WW1 unveiled in 1921. He mined for gold for a few years in Dawson, and then worked for the T. Eaton Company in Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg.  He worked as a hardware salesman for Clealand Hardware in both Meaford, Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie from 1912-1915.  Lieutenant Robert Ross Hartman enlisted from Sault Ste. Marie Ontario in March 1916.  He received his Lieutenant papers in June 1916 but also received his certificate of Military Instruction for Captain in February 1917.   In 1918, he was in the Canadian Light Trench Mortar Battery when during an attack made on the enemy’s position East of Dury on Sept. 2, 1918  he was severely wounded in both legs by enemy machine gun bullets. Whilst a comrade was in the act of dressing his wounds, a shell landed almost on top of them, killing both instantly. He died in his 31st year, and is buried in Dury Mill British Cemetery, 10 Miles South East of Arras, France.

Private Thomas Stephen Crosskill was born July 1890, one of, if not the eldest son of Elizabeth Ann Daynes and Walter Peter Crosskill who were married in Norwich England in 1877.  In the 1911 Census record Walter, the father of Thomas,  is listed as an Iron Worker, but before that on Census records, he is listed as a Shoemaker, and, in Canada, this is the profession of Thomas Stephen Crosskill when he enlists. From what I can tell, Thomas had at least five brothers (Robert, Charles, Walter, David and William) and at least two sisters (Elizabeth and Susannah), but the 1911 census also tells us that Walter and Elizabeth had 11 children born alive – and 3 of their children had already died by that time.  It appears that Thomas moved to Canada in 1910, initially alone, but at least one brother, Robert, followed him.  Thomas is on the 1911 Census in Peel.  He enlisted in Aurora with the York Rangers, and is described as having a dark complexion, dark eyes and hair, and standing 5 foot 6 3/4 inches. Reading the newspaper article, it is clear he was a valiant fighter, and had seen much action in some of the most fearful and costly battles of WW1; Ypres, Somme, Vimy Ridge and the lesser known St. Eloi, about which I urge you all to read.  He was killed in action at the age of 27 and buried in France not far from Arras.

Skip to content