Memorable Manitobans: Robert “Robin” Harrison (1883-1953)
Born at Yorkshire, England on 25 November 1883, son of Thomas Harrison and Mary Loy, he was educated at St. Peter’s School (York, England) and played rugby with the Northampton Saints. In 1910, he went to Argentina with a British Lions team. He articled in law to his uncle Thomas N. Loy of Alford, Lincolnshire and later with Collyer, Bristow & Company (London). He was admitted to law practice in 1907 and practised at London. He came to Canada in 1912 where he worked in partnership with Harold Frederick Maulson and was admitted to Manitoba Bar in 1919.
In 1913, he married Agnes Mary “Molly” Higgins (1884-1973) and they had two sons and four daughters: Mary Elizabeth Harrison (1914-1999, wife of John Holland), Robin Peter Harrison (1916-2001), Priscilla Harrison (1918-2008, wife of Herbert White), Diana Hermione Harrison (1919-2006, wife of Bryden McKay), Josephine Phillipa Harrison (1921-2005, wife of Elliot Jackson), and Christopher Harrison (1927-2013, husband of “Teddy” Iverach). He was a member of the Canadian Law Association, Manitoba Law Association, IOOF, Anglican Church, and Conservative Party. He held the rank of Major in the Canadian Militia. He served in the 3rd Lincoln Volunteers in England and was a Lieutenant of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons of the Canadian Militia.
In 1915, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Lieutenant of the 226th Battalion. He went overseas in 1916 and was attached to the 5th Battalion in France. By 1917, he was on the 7th Brigade Headquarters Staff. He was a member of the Dunster Force to Bagdad and Baku on Caspian Sea, a skeleton force of 170 men for an army to be raised in the Caucasus; one officer and two Non-Commission Officers from each brigade in all Canadian and Dominion forces. The object was to raise an army of local troops in the Caucasus to harass the Turks and stop the supply of oil to the Germans, and to block the railway. This force was driven out of Baku by the Turks but occupied it after the Armistice.
He returned to Canada in 1919 and resumed his law practice at Minnedosa. He was Solicitor for the Town of Minnedosa, and the Rural Municipalities of Minto and Odanah, and Solicitor for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He served as Postmaster of Minnedosa from 1936 to 1939 when he returned to military duty in the Second World War, and his wife took over as Postmaster. Following his discharge, he returned to the position of Postmaster and held it until retirement in 1952.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Penelope Cummine and Graham McKechnie for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 October 2020