Regimental Sergeant Major George R. Eakins was born 24 (or 26) February 1881 in Sligo, Ireland, son of Joseph H. Eakins and Elizabeth L. Robinson. His family emigrate to Canada from Ireland aboard the SS Parisian, arriving at Quebec City 24 September 1887 and then settled in Toronto.
As a teenager, George joined the militia in Toronto – pay records tells us that by 1898 he was enlisted in The Queen’s Own Rifles as a private; by 1901 a Corporal; and by 1902 a Sergeant.
He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Regiment 2nd Special Service Battalion and served in South Africa from October 1899 to November 1900, in C Company under then QOR Captain R.K. Barker. When he applied for a South African War Land Grant in 1908, he indicated that he was then employed as a police constable in Toronto. On return to Canada (on the same SS Parisian) he rejoined the QOR and continued to serve with them until at least 1905.
On 31 December 1902 he married Jesse Fechney Harvey and they would eventually have seven children.
He served 5 months with the 109th Regiment before signing up for WWI active service on 2 March 1916 in the 198th Battalion (Canadian Buffs) Canadian Expeditionary Force. He traveled to England with the 198th, was posted to the 4th Reserve Battalion when the 198th were broken up, was posted for a short period to the Sub-Staff of the 5th Canadian Reserve Brigade before being returned to Canada as medically unfit (a fallen arch and stiff ankle deemed pre-existing conditions.) He was officially discharged on 31 August 1917.
George died 29 March 1965 and is buried in Park Lawn Cemetery, Toronto.
CEF Regimental No. 916178
Former Svc: QOR, Royal Canadian Regiment in South Africa
Trade: Engraver (1901 marriage certificate), clerk (1901 Census), policeman (1908, 1911 census, 1916 WWI attestation), and storekeeper (1921 census)
Date of CEF attestation: (198th Bn) 2 March 1916