Soldier Spotlight: Benjamin & Leonard Walton

Benjamin Harold Walton

Regimental Number: 883715; 3205938
Rank: Private
Branch: 187th Battalion; 1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment

Ben was born in Ontario on February 9, 1902; he lied on his attestation paper, stating that he had been born in 1898. He first enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1916 at the age of 14; he was living in Calgary at the time. He served in England, but was sent back to Canada in May of 1917 to convalesce after being ill with scarlet fever, mumps, and measles. Slight deafness in one ear worsened after this illness. Ben was discharged on October 31, 1917. In 1918, he and his twin brother Leonard joined the army without telling their parents, although they were significantly underage (see page 39 of Leonard’s service file). Not surprisingly, their parents wanted the boys sent back home, as they were too young to have enlisted. Ben’s parents had no idea which battalion he was with; they thought he might have joined up under a false name, but he had used his real name. He gave his parents’ names as his next of kin; however, he said his parents lived in Seattle (they actually appear to have been living in Edmonton) on one set of paper work, and requested that communications be sent to a friend’s address. While in Halifax in 1918, he received a knife wound to his left leg. It was the result of a “scuffle”; see pages 111 through 115 for a few different (and entertaining) testimonies concerning what took place. A note in the 1918 service file states that Ben was “not to be dispatched overseas till 19 years of age” (he was 16 at the time). After being discharged, Ben came to the South Peace and filed on the eastern half of 22-77-20-W5. He died on March 19, 1963.

Sources: land records

Leonard Douglas Walton

Regimental Number: 3205620
Rank: Private
Branch: 1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment

Leonard was born in Ontario on February 9, 1902; he lied about his age on his enlistment form, stating that he’d been born in 1898. In 1918, he and his twin brother Ben joined the army without telling their parents, although they were significantly underage (see page 39 of Leonard’s service file). Not surprisingly, their parents wanted the boys sent back home, as they were too young to have enlisted. Their mother wrote a letter dated May 17, 1918, requesting that her sons be discharged. Leonard was discovered to be underage in July of 1918, after he had reached England. He was sent back to Canada and officially discharged on November 24, 1918. In 1920, Leonard filed on SE 27-77-20-W5 and NE 33-77-20-W5. Leonard died on March 8, 1958.

Sources: land records

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.