Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of Birthabout 1887
Place of BirthLac Seul, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEdith Lands (wife), Lac Seul, Ontario
Trade / CallingTrapper
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number820712
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion1st Canadian Infantry Works Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentLac Seul
Date of EnlistmentMay 10, 1916
Age at Enlistmentabout 29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 18, 1956
Age at Deathabout 69

Lands, George

Private George Lands (aka George Land) enlisted in 1916 and served overseas for two years. He was wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele and returned to Canada in July 1919.

George enlisted in Kenora, Ontario on 10 May 1916, signing up with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. He was married and he and his wife Edith had three daughters and one son: Martha (age 9), Jennie (age 6), Tah Puch (age 3) and Albert (Bert) (age 1). George was born around 1887 in Lac Seul, Ontario, a First Nations community located north of the town of Dryden. He worked as a trapper.

The 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion was organized in December 1915 and recruited in the District of Rainy River. On 1 August 1916 the Kenora volunteers left for Port Arthur and a huge crowd gathered at the train station to see the men off. The battalion trained in Port Arthur over the winter and George was in the hospital twice during that time, in January 1917 for frozen toes and in March when he contracted the measles. His unit left for the east coast on 21 April. They embarked from Halifax on 28 April on the SS Olympic and landed at Liverpool about nine days later. Most of the recruits were transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units.

On 14 September George was drafted to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field a short time later and by early October the Canadians were preparing for the assault on Passchendaele. The 52nd Battalion took part in the opening attack on 26 October, advancing up the Bellevue Spur with other units in the 9th Brigade. George was wounded that day when a shell fragment hit him in the hand. He was taken to a casualty clearing station then to No. 11 Stationary Hospital. From there he was evacuated to England and admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham on 1 November. His right index finger was amputated and after recovering for two weeks he was transferred to the Woodcote Park convalescent centre.

On 24 December George was discharged to duty and he served in Great Britain for the next four months. For some of that time he was on guard duty at Etching Hill and he also worked as an orderly at the Canadian Records Office in London. On 11 April 1918 he was sent back to France and assigned to the 1st Canadian Infantry Works Battalion. Infantry works battalions were used for road and bridge construction, road maintenance and the grading of railways. In September 1918 Geroge’s unit was re-designated as the 1st Canadian Infantry Works Company.

In January 1919 George sprained his knee and he was sent back to England. He spent three and a half months at Colchester Military Hospital and the Woodcote Park convalescent centre. He served in England for another three months and sailed for Canada on 18 July on the SS Winifredian, arriving at Halifax ten days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 31 July in Port Arthur. His intended residence was Kenora. Two other young men from Lac Seul, Edward Lands and David Lands, also enlisted with the 141st Battalion and served overseas. They were most likely George’s brothers.

Before the war George was probably in a common-law relationship. He was married at Shoal Lake, Ontario on 20 August 1919, just three weeks after returning home. He listed his address as Shoal Lake and said he was 31 years old, a bachelor and a returned soldier and trapper. His wife Edith Redsky was 30 years old and the daughter of Chief Redsky. She was born at Shoal Lake, a First Nations community about 25 km west of Kenora. It’s not known if this was the same Edith that George was with when he enlisted. At the time of the 1921 census George and his wife were living at Shoal Lake and he had another son, Henry, age one.

George passed away on 18 September 1956, as recorded on his veteran death card and in his service file. His place of death and burial are not noted but next of kin was his son Albert Lands of McIntosh, Ontario. George is commemorated on the Anishinaabe Veteran Heroes plaque at Ne-Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora and on the Aboriginal Veterans Tribute Honour list here.

By Becky Johnson


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