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Memorable Manitobans: David Sutherland Dunnett (1899-1990)


Born at Gills, Wick, Caithnesshire, Scotland on 11 September 1899, youngest son of Charles Dunnett and Ellen Dunnett, he grew up on the family cattle farm and served in the Royal Navy and Merchant Marine during First World War, later immigrating to Canada in 1924. He settled at Winnipeg and attended Dominion Business College where he held employment at a local creamery breaking in horses, and later as a timekeeper for the Canadian Pacific Railway before joining the Winnipeg Fire Department on 1 July 1926.

In the Second World War, he helped organize and lead an expedition of Canadian firemen to London, England where they bolstered the local fire department during the Battle of Britain, after which he remained there and signed on with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Fire Department Section, serving as a Fire Prevention Officer at RCAF air bases. Aside from military service, he worked for the Fire Department contiguously, and was promoted to Lieutenant (1951), Captain (1955), Deputy Fire Chief (1956) and a year later, as Fire Chief of Winnipeg (1957-1964). He retired in September 1964.

He was twice married, first to Marion Morrison (c1897-1963) at Winnipeg on 2 August 1928, and after her passing, to Louise May Hudson on 12 October 1963. Following his latter marriage, they traveled a year and a half in Europe, before returning to Winnipeg. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and enjoyed gardening, poetry, and traveling.

He died at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital on 23 July 1990 and is presumed interned with his first wife at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“They want Dunnett as City Fire Chief,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 November 1956, page 4.

Obituary [Marion Dunnett], Winnipeg Free Press, 15 February 1963, page 25.

“Dunnett - Hudson,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 October 1963, page 16.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 July 1990, page 39.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 21 February 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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