Regimental Number: 3891 (British Imperial Army, WWI); M42387 (Canadian Army, WWII)
Peter McNally was born October 18, 1894 in Cork, Ireland. When he was a youngster his family moved from Ireland to Maryport England, where he attended school and grew up. On his Department of Veterans Affairs Service Interview summary Peter indicated that from 1909-1911 he worked as a mixed farm hand, from 1911-1914 he worked as a coal miner. In 1914 he joined the Imperial Army. Peter McNally served from 1914 – 1919 in the British Imperial Army, his regimental particulars were: #3891 63rd Bde. R.A. Peter served in the United Kingdom, Central Mediterranean area, and Continental Europe; decorated M.W. in WWI. After WWI ended Peter returned to mining in England from 1919 – 1920. In 1920 he immigrated from Maryport England to Canada, he was joined later by Mary Jane Studholme and they were married, making their home and farming in the Drake and Lockwood area in Saskatchewan where their first 6 children were born. Peter and Mary decided to bring their family west and arrived by train in Grande Prairie in April 1929. It was a tough life, the family suffering many hardships, not unlike other new pioneers. They lived in various places in the area farming and renting farmland until Peter got his own homestead in 1929. The log homes built had sod roofs and hewed poplars on the floor. Peter worked the homestead in the summer and worked for Wapiti Coal Mines in the winter. The last 3 children were born on the homestead. Depending where they were living, the children attended school at Lindsay or Fitzsimmons Schools. When WWII broke out, Peter now 54 years old, answered the call and joined in Calgary #13 Coy.Veterans Home Guard on June 5 1940; regimental #M42387. Peter served in various Alberta and British Columbia Depots including:
#13 Vet Home Guard Calgary, #130 Seebe POW Internment Camp, #110 Vernon – Training Ordnance Camp – shoe maker shop, #29 Coy Vancouver, #4 Camp Ordnance Depot Nanaimo, Trail (the Trail smelter plant during WWII had grown to the largest smelter in the world), #133 Lethbridge POW internment camp, Wainwright #135 POW internment camp.
The Army kept close track as evident on “statement of service records” but Peter said they were never told where they were posted, and they were flown on erratic paths to each camp for security reasons. Peter was discharged on June 26 1945 and was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Services Medal for his 5 years of service. After the war, with the aid of VLA, Peter purchased the Henry Tripp quarter (NE 25-71-2-W6) along with some farm machinery and continued farming in the Bezanson area. Peter and Mary retired in 1954, selling to Andy and Joan McNally and buying a house in Grande Prairie from Bill Boyd. Peter enjoyed retirement, going to the race track and betting on the horses. He passed away December 23, 1972. Mary moved to Aurora Court where she lived until her death in August 1976.
Written by Donna (Diederich) McNally
Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 171