Memorable Manitobans: George Johnston Oliver (1892-1968)
Born at Dunbar, Berwickshire, England on 23 February 1892, he immigrated to Canada with his family in 1906. At the outset of the First World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served overseas with the 12th Manitoba Dragoons. Gassed at the Second Battle of Ypres before being attached as a signaller to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. He later transferred to the 1st Canadian Signal Company and spent the rest of the war maintaining telephone communications between field battalions and headquarters. For brave conduct at Vimy Ridge and other battles, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal with two bars, one of only five Canadians to be so recognized during the war.
In October 1917, while on military leave, he married his childhood sweetheart Isabella Fisher Borthwick (1895-1974) at Leith, Scotland. After the war, he returned to Canada with his bride and they settled at Brandon. In 1919, he got a job with the Manitoba Government Telephones, working for 37 years with the company until retirement in 1956. He and his wife had a son and three daughters. He was a member of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade for over 20 years and First Presbyterian Church.
He died at Sarasota, Florida on 28 July 1968 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Obituary, Brandon Sun, 30 July 1968, page 11.
Obituary [Isabella Fisher Oliver], Brandon Sun, 9 September 1974, page 12.
This page was prepared by Sandy Jasper and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 July 2021