Soldier Spotlight: Private Herbert Stewart

Image: An excerpt from Herbert’s military service file with details about his injury (Library & Archives Canada)

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.

Regimental Number: 446753
Rank: Private
Branch: 49th Battalion; Canadian Forestry Corps

Herbert was born in Scotland on July 6, 1888. It is unknown when he came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Calgary in May of 1915. In June of 1916, Herbert received slight shrapnel wounds to his right hand. He remained at duty in spite of the injury, but was unable to completely close his fingers after that injury. While on leave in England in August 1917, Herbert developed symptoms of shell shock and was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps. His right leg was fractured at Ampthill, England in 1918 when a log fell from a wagon onto his leg (see pages 105 and 107 of his service file for images of the injury). Herbert’s leg was shortened by 2 inches and he had difficulty walking. In October of 1918, Herbert was invalided to Canada. He filed on the eastern half of 1-75-3-W6 in 1930. Herbert died on December 29, 1957 and was buried in the Teepee Creek Cemetery.

Soldier Spotlight: Captain Arthur Craig

Image:  Convalescent home at Paignton, Devon, England, 1918 (SPRA 1969.59.331)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Rank: Lieutenant; Captain
Branch: South African Cavalry; South African Infantry; Royal Air Force

Arthur was born in Cape Town, South Africa on February 22, 1889. He served in West Africa and France with the South African Army during World War I. Arthur was severely wounded at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme on July 16, 1916. A citation reads:

“A bombing party under Lieut. Craig attempted to rush across 40 yards of ground which lay between the British and enemy trenches. Coming under very heavy rifle and machine gun fire the officer and the majority of the party were killed or wounded. Unable to move, Lieut. Craig lay midway between the two lines of trench, the ground being quite open. In full daylight Pte. Faulds, accompanied by two other men, climbed over the parapet, ran out, and picked up the officer, and carried him back, one man being severely wounded in so doing.”

Arthur eventually arrived in the South African Military Hospital in Richmond, England, having been taken to the dressing station and then by stretcher bearers to the South African Hospital at Abberville, the closest to the front line. Once he healed, he left the South African Infantry and joined the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF). It was with the Corps that he was shot down in the observational balloon, again injured, this time receiving the steel plate in his head.

In 1919, Arthur came to the Peace Country with his brother George and filed on homesteads at NW 7-73-11-W6, NW 12-74-11-W6, and NE 12-73-12-W6. He canceled all three. Arthur met his wife, Marjorie Lily Marshall, in Edmonton in 1924. He later worked in silver mines in different parts of Idaho. Arthur died in Idaho in 1958 (1968?).

Sources: news clippings

Soldier Spotlight: Private William Hannigan

Image: clip from November 1, 1916 Grande Prairie Herald

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Regimental Number: 101381
Rank: Private
Branch: 66th Battalion; 49th Battalion

William was born in Nashua, Iowa on June 1, 1876. He enlisted in Grande Prairie on September 21, 1915. On October 10, 1916, just four months after arriving in France, William died at the Casualty Clearing Station Special Hospital in Warloy-Baillon, France. He had been wounded in the legs on the German wire and bound up his own wounds and those of two other soldiers. According to Col. Griesbach’s battle report, “German bombers endeavored to bomb the shell hole… he caught the German bombs in his hands and threw them away… he crawled away from his shell hole and was again bombed; endeavoring to catch and throw these latter bombs away, one of them exploded in his hands…” Col. Griesbach gives further details of Hannigan’s injuries and journey to the Field Ambulance where he died of his wounds (see link below).

Soldier Spotlight: Alphonse Deslauriers

Image: Home of Maxim Gervais, Falher, Alberta. June 16, 1931. Used in 1937 Not By Bread Alone lecture as B. 22. SPRA 362.02.13.062

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Alphonse Deslauriers, son of Ernest and Monique (Lapointe), was born in St. Laurent, Quebec, on January 23, 1917. In April 1928 he and his family moved to Girouxville AB. Whereas he had started school in St. Laurent, he continued his education in Falher AB, staying in the convent. In 1930 he attended Girouxville School. When Alphonse was older, he worked for farmers, clearing many quarters of land by ax with his father and brothers. Joining the Army in 1942, Alphonse took basic training in Canada, and then served in England, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. In 1946 he was involved in a convoy, delivering trucks to Czechoslovakia. He also traveled through Nuremberg, the site of the Nazi rally. After his discharge in 1946, he returned to the Girouxville area to homestead the land SW 5-78-22-W5. Through the Veteran’s Land Act he obtained the land SW 5-78-21-W5. Alphonse married Marie-Louise Remillard, a nurse from Falher, on October 14, 1947. While he farmed in the warmer seasons, Alphonse worked in lumber camps in the winters. In 1952 the Deslauriers moved to the village of Girouxville where he worked at the Co-op for nine years. From 1962 to 1981 he was postmaster until he retired. Alphonse and Marie-Louise had 2 sons: Raymond and George.

Source: Reflexions Vol. II, pp. 479-481 (photo p. 480)

Soldier Spotlight: Dmytro Hrychan

Image: Street view of Spirit River, showing several businesses, including H. H. McLeod Hardware, A. W. Davies Meat Market, W. Wade Real Estate, Insurance and Notary Public, and Spirit Hardware. The photograph appears to have been contributed by Percy H. Jones of McLennan, Alberta. 1917 (SPRA 032.08.08.1002)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Matt was born November 1, 1897 in Sarni, Ukraine. At the age of 18, he joined the Austrian army as the Ukraine was under Austrian rule at that time. He served in Italy, then in the area between Russia and Rumania, and finally on the front lines during the 1918 revolution. Matt was captured by the Polish army and was a prisoner of war at Scholkova. In June of 1926, Matt arrived in Halifax. From there he came west and eventually settled in the Peace River area in 1930. Matt married Anne Solomiany in 1932. They had two daughters. In 1976 they sold their homestead and moved into Spirit River. Matt died on May 24, 1992 and was buried in Spirit River.

Sources: The Big Bend, p. 151; Chepi Sepe p. 497

Soldier Spotlight: Private Cyril “Hector” Botten

Image: A bird’s-eye view of the Grande Prairie Army Training Centre, including several “H” huts and part of the hockey rink, ca. 1941 (SPRA 2011.44.41)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Regiment: Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)
Regimental Number: M56296
Rank: Private
Force: Army

Hector Botten came to Canada from Portsmouth, England around 1929. He and his friend, Johnny Coates, sought adventure and were especially interested in owning land in the Canadian frontier. Hector filed on a homestead in Sylvester area (near Elmworth). He became friends with Mr. and Mrs. Bob Frame of Elmworth, and he lived with their family for 12 years, helping with the farm chores. When World War II broke out, Hector was determined to join the army, and was delighted to be accepted in February 1942. He was at the Grande Prairie Military Training Centre only 2 months when he contracted pneumonia, and sadly he died on April 14, 1942. It was the first death at the training centre. On April 16 Hector was given a military funeral, and was buried at the Grande Prairie Cemetery. Hector’s mother and brother were still in England. According to Bob Frame, Hector was a “man of highest principles” and of “cheerful disposition”. Mrs. Frame kept in touch with Hector’s mother for many years afterwards. In 1974 Hector’s brother came from England to visit Mrs. Frame, who was living in Hythe at the time, to thank her for making a home for Hector.

Source: Grande Prairie Herald Tribune April 23, 1942 p. 1, c. 7 and p. 5, c. 3
Beaverlodge to the Rockies Supplement p. 151
AGS Obituary Index
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Soldier Spotlight: Private William Atkinson

Image: A page from William’s service file (Library & Archives Canada).  “GSW rt hand Nov 14 1916.  Index finger slightly stiff, not as strong as before.  Good grip in that hand.  Complains that his glasses do not fit him.  Says he has pains in head.  Sleeps badly.  Heart rapid but action good.  Lungs negative.”

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Regimental Number: 472536
Rank: Private
Branch: 46th Battalion; 5th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops; No. 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps

William was born on March 11, 1885 (1886?) in Keswick, England. He came to Canada around 1910 and at the time of his enlistment in 1915 was living in Saskatchewan. William received a gunshot wound to his right arm at the Somme, and an wound to his scalp as well; he was seriously ill for some time after these injuries. After his recovery, William joined the Railway Troops. In 1917 he was gassed. William was granted permission to marry Doris on Sept. 21, 1918 and on October 1 his pay started going to his new wife. He was discharged on May 1, 1919. William, along with his wife Doris and daughter Joan, moved to Valhalla from England in 1929 and filed on a homestead at NE 33-75-9-6. They didn’t farm much, but raised Persian cats for sale. He died in the Grande Prairie Hospital after a long illness caused by war injuries on January 29, 1939.

Sources: Pioneer Round-Up Volume II p. 436; La Glace Yesterday & Today p. 92; Cemetery Record

Soldier Spotlight: Private Archibald Setter

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Regimental Number: 736480; 101051
Rank: Private
Branch: 66th Battalion; 8th Battalion

Archie was born in Battleford, Saskatchewan on May 4, 1892. In 1914, he filed on NW 1-77-5-W6, near Spirit River. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in July of 1915, though he was absent without leave (still in Canada) from August 30, 1915 until April 9, 1916. In spring of 1916 Archie enlisted and was sent overseas. A letter Archie wrote was printed in the February 20, 1917 Grande Prairie Herald:

Northumberland War Hospital

Dear Friend,

I suppose you will be quite surprised to hear from me; however, as I am living in my bed at the above hospital I thought I would write you a few lines. We arrived in Liverpool on the 7th May 1916 and there went to a place called St. Martin’s Plains and from there I was drafted in to the 8th Bttn. and went to France in June. I was in the battle of Ypres in June and also was at the Somme when I got hit in the left ankle, and I have finally lost my left foot, it is cut off about 5 inches above the ankle, so my chances are pretty good for getting back to Canada once more. Well Bill, you people have no idea of the war, but I can tell you that it is simply hell.

I suppose Grande Prairie is a big place now since the railroad is there.

Dean Hodgins was in the same Bttn. as me, I wrote to him a few times since I got wounded, but I have got no answer so I don’t know what has happened to him.

My leg is not quite healed yet but I am improving greatly. I think it will be some time yet before I will be able to use an artificial limb.

Well, Bill, this will be all for this time and if you don’t answer this letter please tell Mr. Rae that I want some papers.

I remain your friend,
Pte. A. Setter
No. 101051 No. 5 Ward, 8th Canadians

Archie had accidentally shot his foot while cleaning his rifle on September 10, 1916. His medical records state that he “was struck by rifle bullet in ankle accidentally by discharge of his own rifle. Foot was badly shattered. Wound became very septic requiring amputation which was performed Oct. 21, 1916.” It was later reported in the Grande Prairie paper that Archie came back to Canada and was working as a postmaster in Saskatchewan. Archie died on May 2, 1975.

Soldier Spotlight: Private John Finlay Watson

Image: A clipping from the Lake Saskatoon Journal, June 16, 1917

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Regimental Number: 437637; M56292
Rank: Private
Branch: 15th Battalion

Finlay was born in Belfast, Ireland on September 16, 1891. His parents immigrated to Canada with their nine children in 1908; Finlay filed on homesteads at NE 9-71-8-W6 and NW 33-70-8-W6 in 1910. In August of 1915, Finlay enlisted in the Canadian Army. His brother Robert also served during World War I. Finlay received a bayonet wound to his right leg at Vimy Ridge on April 30, 1917 when he went over the top and landed on a spiked bayonet (see his June 1917 letter for more details about the injury). He also suffered from accidental abrasions to his face and hands in August of 1917. Finlay’s wife was named Mabel. During World War II, Finlay served with the Veterans Guard at a POW camp in Lethbridge. He died there on February 2, 1945 and was buried in the Lake Saskatoon Cemetery.

Sources: additional news clippings, including those listed as Finlay; Pioneers of the Peace p. 119; Along the Wapiti p. 401, 411

Soldier Spotlight: Robert Watson

Image: Beaverlodge Experimental Substation staff, summer of 1930. Photographed by R. E. Leake. (SPRA 362.02.09.38)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new 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.

Robert Watson was born in County Down, Northern Ireland on July 19, 1894. Bert, as he was known, came to Canada with his parents in 1908 and settled in the Bonny Doon area of Edmonton. Bert went the high school in Strathcona and then attended the McTavish business college. He worked for Killen and Gilbert Real Estate for several years.

Bert enlisted in the 202nd Battalion in World War I and transferred to the artillery overseas. He was awarded a medal for saving a machine gun from burning. After the war he came to Grande Prairie and worked at the Beaverlodge Experimental Station.

In World II he was stationed at the Sergeant’s quarters and ordered supplies for the soldiers stationed there. After the war, Bert worked in the Land Office in Grande Prairie, then for the Government Appraisers for the Prairie Farm Assistance.

Bert passed away November 30, 1974.

Sources:
Along the Wapiti (p. 403)
Pioneers of the Peace (p. 119)
Lake Saskatoon Reflections (p. 32)