Burrows, Alexander “Alec”

Regiment: 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Regiment No.: M16403
Rank: S/Sergeant

Alexander was the youngest son of Robert and Elizabeth (nee Paris) Burrows of Shettleston, Glasgow, Scotland. He was born on September 15, 1917. He had three siblings, Thomas, William and Hector. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Burrows passed away leaving Robert with four children to raise. He subsequently married Mary (nee Sneddon) Pollock who was a widow with five children; Jim, John, Catherine, Alex and Mae. Robert and Mary had four children together; George, David, Leslie and Helen. In 1927, the Burrows family decided to immigrate to Canada and settled in an area known as Glen Leslie where they purchased the E ½ 12-72-4-W6.

Alex finished his education at the Somme School. He worked on the family farm and also for local farmers and at one point he homesteaded with his brother Tom in the Fitzsimmons area. He enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 49th Edmonton Regiment on September 14, 1939 following which he sailed for England a month later. In 1940, Alex was transferred to Dunfermline, Scotland to embark for Norway as the Germans had invaded from the south. He returned to the south coast of England prior to the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France to England as German forces had closed in on the Allies. Alex was then sent to Scotland for eight months to attend a commando course under the leadership of Lord Lovat after which he returned to England and rejoined the 49th Edmonton Regiment and prepared for the raid on Spitzbergen, an island located north of Norway. The German Atlantic Fleet had been using the island as a refueling base; therefore, all the coal mines and oil wells were destroyed. The Russian inhabitants were sent back to Russia and then all the Norwegians were loaded and taken to Scotland. There was not a living thing left on the island. Alex married Winnie Butcher in England in July 1942. In July 1943, Alex was transferred to the Middle East to invade Sicily with the 1st Canadian Division. Once Sicily was secured, the Division headed to the mainland in August 1943. The Division fought up the Adriatic Coast and engaged in the Battle of Ortona where Alex was wounded and evacuated to the Canadian No. 13 General Hospital in North Africa. In 1944, he returned to England and was posted to a camp in Aldershot where all the Canadians were held prior to being repatriated to Canada. Alex was discharged on demobilization in Calgary and returned to civil life. Alex and his wife, Winnie, settled in Montreal where they raised their four children, Margaret, Janet, James and Ian; later moved to Ottawa where Alex passed away on July 23, 1998. Alex and Winnie each wanted to be buried in their hometowns; therefore, Alex was buried in the Glen Leslie Cemetery and Winnie in England.

It was a very sad time for the family when Mary Burrows passed away in 1939 at the age of 53. The funeral was held at the Glen Leslie Church. Robert passed away in 1973 at the age of 83; both were buried in the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

Written by Wanda Zenner

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 448 p. 422
Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune July 28, 1998 – Obituary
SPRA Family Reference Files – information written by Helen Burrows Horrigan (sister)