Soldier Spotlight: Private Thomas Tingle

Image: Thomas’s POW record, courtesy of International Committee of the Red Cross

Regimental Number: 18251
Rank: Private
Branch: 3rd Battalion

Thomas was born in Leytonstone, England on January 11, 1888. In 1913, he filed on a homestead at SE 12-74-5-W6. When war broke out in 1914, Thomas was among the first men to enlist in the Canadian Army – he signed up at Valcartier on September 23, 1914. Thomas was captured by the Germans in May of 1915 at Ypres, only one month after arriving in France. He had mild influenza in June and November of 1918. Thomas also suffered from kidney problems and nervousness when he was repatriated in 1919, “no doubt due to prolonged confinement and rough handling.” He returned to the South Peace after the war, and filed on SW 24-70-9-W6 in 1920. Thomas died in Victoria, British Columbia on November 3, 1961, leaving behind his widow, Sarah.

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Rene Gicquel

Image: Trapper and his dog team coming through the bush on the banks of the Wapiti, ca. 1930 (SPRA 177.084)

Regimental Number: 437843
Rank: Private
Branch: 7th Battalion

Rene was born in Ploërmel, France on February 17, 1894. In 1913, he emigrated to Canada. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in November of 1915.

On September 7, 1916 at the Somme, Rene was buried by a shell explosion. He was deaf and dumb for three months afterward due to shell shock. Rene also suffered from weakness and palpitations afterward, and had tremors in his hand that went away when he was alone. Rene was discharged on February 18, 1918, having been found medically unfit due to shell shock.

After the war, Rene worked for the Forestry Department and ran a trap line in the Fort Vermilion area. Rene married Marie C. Bourgault (Lizotte?) on January 7, 1931. They were transferred to Hythe in 1945 and remained there until 1967, when they retired to Vernon, BC. Rene died on January 7, 1975.

Sources: surname file; Pioneer Round Up p. 82a

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Merlin Rae

Image: a letter from Merlin to his parents, printed in the 24 October 1916 Grande Prairie Herald

Regimental Number: 101357
Rank: Private
Branch: 31st Battalion

Merlin was born in Grand Forks, British Columbia on April 27, 1901. In September of 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Army, giving his date of birth 1899. This would still have been considered underage, but he was accepted. Merlin was killed in action at Courcelette on September 24, 1916. According to Bill Hannigan, he “died like the man that he was.” He was severely wounded in the leg and thigh at 11:00 AM, making him unable to walk. At 4:00 that afternoon a shell landed near Merlin and he died from the concussion.

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Gunner George Vowden

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

Regimental Number: 1258073
Rank: Gunner
Branch: Canadian Garrison Artillery

George was born in Wiltshire, England on August 20, 1890. While working as a clerk for a shipping firm in London, a job opening came up in an office in British Guyana. George took the job, and worked his way up to overseer on the sugar cane plantation. At the time of his enlistment in 1916, George was living in Halifax. He injured his left foot and ankle in July of 1918 while unloading ammunition; a shell rolled onto his foot. After the war, George decided to immigrate to Canada. He settled in the Falher area and filed on the following homesteads: SE 3-76-21-W5, SW 2-76-21-W5, NE 35-75-21-W5, SW 34-75-21-W5, NE 34-75-21-W5. George died on May 1, 1955 and was buried in the McLennan Cemetery.

Sources: Guy p. 578; homestead 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Robert Beavins Tilt

Image: Newspaper clipping from the Grande Prairie Herald, 5 December 1916.

Regimental Number: 1251121
Rank: Private
Branch: Canadian Forestry Corps

Robert was born in Pelee, Ontario in November of 1874. He owned a livery and restaurant in Lake Saskatoon village before the war. Robert enlisted in the Canadian Army in November of 1916, a decision he made based on the outcome of a coin toss (see December 5, 1916 news clipping). After the war, he filed on homesteads at NW 5-72-8-W6, SW 12-72-9-W6, and SW 8-72-8-W6. Robert dyed his hair in an attempt to look younger so he could enlist in World War II, but was sent home. He died on August 10, 1948 and was buried in the Lake Saskatoon Cemetery.

Sources: Pioneers of the Peace p. 66; Lake Saskatoon Reflections p. 30, 33, 225; GP Herald Sept 2, 1913 p. 1 c. 3; Aug. 19 1948 p. 3 c. 3; Jan 25 1916 p. 1 c. 5

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Sergeant Joseph Hill

Image: Notes from Joseph’s military service file, with details about having been buried by a shell explosion (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 446638
Rank: Sergeant
Branch: 49th Battalion; Canadian Military Police

*Note: Joseph’s obituary indicates that he was born in London, England. The service file linked to his Veterans Death Card states that he was born in Toronto, Ontario.

Joseph was born on December 18, 1878. He first enlisted in the Canadian Army in May of 1915. After a heavy attack on his regiment in June of 1916, Joseph began to suffer from tremors, twitches, nightmares, and loss of speech. He was buried by a shell explosion on August 1, 1916, which caused the condition to worsen. Joseph spent a great deal of time in English hospitals throughout 1916 and 1917 as a result of his shell shock. On August 8, 1917, he was discharged, having been found medically unfit. He had been granted permission to marry Mary Margaret Bowles in March of 1917; it is possible they met while Joseph was in hospital.

Joseph once again enlisted in September of 1917 and served with the Canadian Military Police until March of 1919.

In 1922, Joseph was living in High River, according to a present address card in his service file. However, he and his family eventually settled in Hythe. Joseph died in the Beaverlodge Hospital on March 18, 1956 and was buried in the Hythe Cemetery.

*View page 83 of Joseph’s service file for more detailed information about Joseph’s experiences in the military.

Sources: Cemetery Records; see HT March 30, 1956

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Joseph Davignon

Image: an excerpt from Joseph’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 624480
Rank: Private
Branch: 22nd Battalion (French Canadian)

Joseph was born in Granby, Quebec on March 19, 1896. It is unknown when he first came to the South Peace. Joseph enlisted in the Canadian Army in Wainwright in January of 1916. On July 16, 1918 at 2:40pm, Joseph was accidentally shot in the back by a man from his battalion. Pages 17, 21, 23, and 27 of Joseph’s service file contain notes from the resulting court case, including testimonies of the witnesses and the man who shot him. His medical records also note that in November of 1918, Joseph had a tumor on his lower lip. As a veteran of World War I, Joseph served with the Eaglesham & District Veterans Volunteer Reserve during World War II.

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Captain George Craig

Image: Notes on the trial following George’s airplane accident from his military service file. (Library & Archives Canada)

Rank: Captain
Branch: 39th Battalion; Royal Air Force

George was born in County Donegal, Ireland on May 2, 1891. It is unknown when he first came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Belleville, Ontario 1915 (his brother Arthur served in the South African Army). In December of 1916, George was attached to the RFC (RAF) as Observer. On July 2, 1918, he was in an airplane accident at Grantham. At the time of this accident, he’d had six hours and 25 minutes of dual flying experience, and seven hours solo. He was a pupil at the time. Pages 27 to 36 of George’s service file contain notes from the resulting court case, including witness testimonies. In 1919, he came to the South Peace and filed on SW 7-73-11-W6 and SE 12-73-12-W6. He was part owner of a 700 acre ranch from 1919 to 1922 at which point he “gave up the struggle.” George operated a trading outfit on the Mackenzie River from 1925 to 1927. After this experience, he spent a year in Ireland. At some point after his return, George married Anne Robinson. They had one son. George wanted to serve in the Canadian Army during World War II, but was rejected because of his age. George and Anne lived in Edmonton for some years, where George was a supervisor for the Northern Transportation Company. He later became the manager of the Calgary Municipal Airport. George died on February 29, 1968.

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Corporal Roland Young

Image: The Aspen Ridge school house (district #4348) was built in 1928 at northwest corner of SW 24-70-9 W6, ca. 1950 (SPRA 063.02.007.1)

Regimental Number: 18259
Rank: Corporal
Branch: 3rd Battalion; 9th Battalion

Roland was born in Nottingham, England on June 20, 1895. It is unknown when he came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army at Valcartier in September of 1914. Roland received gunshot wounds to his thigh in April of 1915, and slight wounds to his arm in July of 1916. In August of 1916, Roland was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. In 1918, he received gunshot wounds to his right shoulder. According to his service file, Roland married Sarah Inwood ca. November 1918. After the war, they came to the South Peace and filed on the southern half of 22-70-9-W6. Roland and Sarah welcomed a daughter on June 2, 1920. It is unknown whether Roland and Sarah divorced, or Sarah died, but on July 5, 1933, Roland married Winona Howell, a school teacher at Aspen Ridge. He once again served in the Canadian Army during World War II. This left Roland with significant health problems, forcing them to sell the farm and move to Grande Prairie. While visiting family in London, Roland suffered from a heart attack and died on October 29, 1961.

Sources: Beaverlodge to the Rockies p. 479; Along the Wapiti p. 35, 411; a number of clippings

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.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Frank Tole

Image: A page from Frank’s military service file noting that he had gone missing in action and was presumed dead. (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 101238
Rank: Private
Branch: 31st Battalion

Frank was born in Manchester, England on February 25, 1889. In 1914, he filed on a homestead at SE 14-71-10-W6. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in September of 1915. A year later, on September 27, 1916, Frank was found missing and presumed to have died. His body was found after the war and buried in the Serre Road Cemetery, Somme, France.

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.