Category: military

My First World War Ancestors: Mills and Lindsay

In this year that marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, I would like to pay tribute to some members of my extended family who served in that horrific conflict.There may be others, but these are the ones I know about.This is the last in a series of four profiles.

Arthur Lennox Stanley Mills was appointed Lieutenant in the 24thBattallion, Victoria Rifles of Canada in November 1914. He served in France, was promoted to the rank of Major and was awarded theDistinguished Service Order (DSO) for gallantry during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 

According to the citation that accompanied that medal, “he found a gap between his own and the next company which was strongly held by the enemy. At great personal risk he collected five men and, demoralizing the enemy, he assisted with the capture of 200 prisoners. Throughout he was most courageous and daring in handling the entire line of the battalion front.”

photo credit: Canada Veterans Hall of Valour

The only son of Rt. Rev. William Lennox Mills, the Anglican Bishop of Ontario from 1901 to 1917, and Katherine Sophia Bagg, Arthur was born in Montreal in June, 1890. He attended Queens University in Kingston, ON, obtained an MA from Oxford, and got a law degree from McGill University. 

He married Georgina Smithers in 1918 and the couple had two sons. After the war, he became a stockbroker. He died 20 March 1976, and is buried in Montreal’s Mount Royal Cemetery. 

Two brothers who were Arthur’s first cousins also served in and survived the war. They were Lionel Mitcheson Lindsay, born 1886, and Stanley Bagg Lindsay, born 1889, sons of Robert Lindsay of Montreal and Mary Heloise Bagg. 

When Stanley Bagg Lindsay enlisted in September 1914, he was still an undergraduate science student at McGill University. He had been in the Black Watch militia in Montreal for six years. He joined the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and served overseas in 1915. He fought in France and Belgium, and rose from the rank of lieutenant to captain.  

Dr. Lionel Lindsay, photo credit: Old McGill 1909 (yearbook)

After the war, Stanley became a stockbroker. He did not marry and was very generous to his nieces and nephews. He died in 1965 and is buried in the Lindsay family plot in Mount Royal Cemetery.

Lionel Lindsay graduated in medicine from McGill University in 1909, did post-graduate studies in pediatrics in Europe, then joined the staff of the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Montreal. In 1915 he joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps, retiring from the military in 1919 with the rank of captain. When he died in 1966, he was survived by his wife, Dorothy MacPhail, two sons, three daughters and 16 grandchildren. His son Lt. Robert Andrew Lindsay, of the Black Watch, went missing in action in Holland in 1945.

Dr. Lindsay, who was my grandmother’s first cousin, used to make house calls whenever, as a child visiting my grandparents in Montreal, I got a fever or the flu, and I remember him as a kind and gentle man.

Research Notes

In addition to databases available through Library and Archives Canada, McGill University students and alumni who fought in the Great War are included in a book called McGill Honour Roll 1914-1918. You can see a digitized version at

There is additional detail about Mills’ war record, including the quote concerning the medal, in Canada Veterans Hall of Valour,

The Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, searchable online through Ancestry, provides baptism and marriage records for these individuals. In addition to consulting the Census of Canada, which was taken every ten years, I used the Lovells city directory which tracked the addresses and occupations of Montreal residents annually. I also found information on the Lindsay brothers in undated newspaper obituaries provided to me by their great-niece.