Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Alexander Cunningham (1888-1918)


Born at Edinburgh, Scotland on 22 July 1888, he came to Canada and worked at Toronto for some time. In 1912, he came to Winnipeg as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Manitoba Agricultural College. In May 1914, he was aboard the Empress of Ireland on his way to Scotland for a holiday and to assist in soliciting immigration to Canada. The ship collided with another ship in the St. Lawrence River and hundreds of passengers were killed. Initially reported missing, he survived the disaster and returned to Winnipeg. He enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in March 1916 and, on 15 April 1916, he married Mildred Roseborough McKee (1883-1956), daughter of Samuel J. McKee, at Brandon. He went overseas with the 196th Battalion, holding the rank of Lieuteant. He was killed on 27 September 1918.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Agricultural College War Memorial (Fort Garry Campus, University of Manitoba)


“Manitoba college man,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 May 1914, page 2.

“Twenty-five Winnipeg passengers among missing,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 May 1914, page 3.

“Lieut. R. A. Cunningham loses life in action,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 October 1918, page 13.

For the names of First World War casualities from Manitoba who do not appear on any physical monument in the province, see the Manitoba Historical Society War Memorial. If you know of a name that is omitted from this list, please contact the MHS War Memorial Researcher Darryl Toews (

Soldiers of the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada.

Financial support for research reported on this page was provided by the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program (2015-2016).

We thank Danielle Liard for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 February 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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