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William Robert (Bob) Qualtrough (1902-1963)

Bill Qualtrough (right) with his brother Harry and sister 

Barbara Guest who compiled these memories of their Dad.

Written by Bill Qualtrough with contributions from brother Harry Qualtrough and our sister Barbara Guest, all of Canada.

Dad was born on June 9, 1902 in Douglas IOM where he lived with his parents William Henry Qualtrough and Isabella (nee Johnson). The house was called "Morea" on Albany Street. It must have been a pretty big house because as a very young fellow I was told he used to roller skate inside. The young family must have lived with (WHQ's) parents, William Qualtrough and Eleanor (nee Gawne) because "Morea" is also mentioned in an article (at the website) about our grandfather's sister, Eliza(Eliza Anne Qualtrough who married William Darbyshire Eastham).

He and his parents emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Dad attended Kelvin High School. He went on to article hoping to become a Chartered Accountant. Unfortunately, it was 1929 and the world was in a depression. By then he had married Gladys Donalda Mason and their first child, Beryl, was born. To support his family he had to give up his articling and he went to work for the Manitoba Provincial Government as an auditor.

To supplement his income Dad also did the books for several small businesses. One firm in particular was a leather company where he got a

pair of beautiful leather gauntlets to give to Bill as a Christmas present. Unfortunately Bill lost one of them shortly thereafter. Dad was not pleased with that.

In 1939 the family lived in a small cottage on Toronto Street in Winnipeg. For a few days in early September 1939 Dad was seen walking the street very early in the morning. A neighbor told mother she thought Bob was seriously thinking about joining the army as a declaration of war was imminent. Sure enough the day before war was declared he enlisted in the Winnipeg Grenadiers. As Paymaster Sergeant he served with the regiment in Jamaica for 18 months before returning to Canada. Back in Canada he applied for a commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was kept in Canada pending the decision about his commission when his regiment was shipped to Hong Kong. We are all aware of what happened to them in Hong Kong. His best friend was RSM Paddy Osborne who was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions in Hong Kong. Dad never did get the commission but was posted with the Second Battalion of the Winnipeg Grenadiers to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

After the war he returned to work for the Manitoba Provincial Government where he worked until his retirement in the Parliament Buildings that are topped with the Golden Boy. He travelled around the province auditing books of government agencies. At Liquor Stores he was responsible for disposing of any bottles of liquor that were off-colour

or only partly filled. He had his methods of disposing of them. He also told us about his trips to northern Manitoba in the spring when you couldn't see the road for snakes. The bus just drove over them and hoped it didn't slide off the road. Barbara remembers how pleased she was after he returned from his trips because he brought those little bars of soap from the hotels.

He was proud of his association with the Masons with their secret sessions, and wore the "Mason's Apron" with pride. It was the only apron he ever wore. He also participated in the Orange Lodge parades, and proudly marched behind King Billy and his horse.

Dad was a tall, handsome man, standing 6 foot 2 inches and weighing about 200 pounds, with a moustache. He and mom had six children, Beryl, Bill, Isabel, Terry, Harry and Barbara. He never had a car. We remember those cold winter days when he walked the several blocks from the bus stop to get home with icicles hanging from his moustache.

Dad died in 1963 of throat cancer. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg with Gladys, and three of their children, Beryl, Isabel and Terry, and his parents William Henry Qualtrough and Isabella.

© 2021 by Malcolm Qualtrough, Elizabeth Feisst and the late John Karran Qualtrough. 

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© Copyright by Malcolm Qualtrough, Elizabeth Feisst and the late John Karran Qualtrough.