Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 18, 1890
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGeorge C Swanson, father, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingEngineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number460168
Service Record
Battalion44th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 11, 1962
Age at Death72
Buried AtPark Lawn Cemetery, Sudbury, Ontario
PlotSection D Lot 364

Swanson, George Alban

George Alban Swanson was born on 18 March 1890 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father George Christian Swanson was from Norway while his mother Annie Grace Lesett was from England. Over the years George Sr worked as a railway section foreman, miner, and forest ranger. Children born to the family in Rat Portage were Theresa Veronica (1884), Bertha Minnorah (Birdie) (1888), George, and Charles Peter (1894).

George enlisted with the 61st Battalion on 4 June 1915 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as engineer and his father George in Kenora as next of kin. With fair hair and blue eyes, George was twenty-five when he enlisted. After training in Canada he embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic  on 1 April 1916, rank of Private.

Once in England George was transferred to the 44th Battalion on 5 May, appointed Lance Corporal on 8 August, and arrived in France on 12 August. In late October and into November he spent a number of days in the No 3 Stationary Hospital and No 5 General Hospital in Rouen with conjunctivitis. He rejoined the unit on 15 November. That December George attended a grenade course at the 4th Division School. In early February of 1917 George was attached to the No 10 Company, Canadian Engineers until 7 March. On 22 April he was admitted to the No 3 Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne suffering from a debility, then transferred to two Convalescent depots before rejoining the 44th Battalion on 9 June. Later that month he was granted one Good Conduct badge.

On 23 August 1917 during the Battle of Hill 70, George sustained a gunshot wound to the left buttock and hip. He was first admitted to the No 13 Canadian Field Ambulance and then the No 22 Casualty Clearing Station that day, transferring to the No 1 Canadian General Hospital in Г‰taples on the 25th. By the end of the month George was invalided to England and admitted to the Norfolk War Hospital in Thorpe, Norwich on the 31st. In late December he was transferred to the Granville Canadian Special Hospital in Buxton where he would remain until mid April of 1918. Over the course of his treatment George underwent a number of operations and procedures.

On 25 January 1918, in the Holy Trinity Church in Lambeth, London, George married Florence Mercy Ward. The daughter of James Arthur Ward and Edith Mary Alcock, Florence was born on 21 November 1893 in Lambeth.

Still suffering from the effects of his wounding, George was admitted to the No 11 Canadian General Hospital Moore Barracks at Shorncliffe from 27 June to 9 September 1918, transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom until discharged on 10 January 1919. George and Florence arrived in Quebec, Canada aboard the Melita on 11 June where George was discharged on demobilization on the 14th.

George’s sister Birdie had married dentist John Alexander McDonald Mullin in 1908 in Kenora. John enlisted in the spring of 1916 in Winnipeg, joined the Canadian Army Dental Corps and served overseas for two years.

George and Florence returned to Kenora and by the time of the 1921 census they were living in nearby Minaki where George was working as an engineer. Sadly both Florence and their stillborn infant died on 5 May 1922 in Kenora, Florence of cardiac insufficiency dating back to  an attack of rheumatic fever in childhood.

Leaving northwestern Ontario, George moved to Windsor Mills in Richmond County, Quebec. In 1925 he married Marie Elizabeth Evangeline (née Lacroix) Bilodeau. Baptized on 16 December 1902 in Windsor Mills, Evangeline was the daughter of Joseph Lacroix and Elizabeth Cote. She had married Joseph Philippe Bilodeau in March of 1922 in nearby Sherbrooke and the couple gave birth to daughter Dora that December. In 1927 George, Evangeline, and Dora moved to Sudbury, Ontario were George found work with Canadian Industries Limited in Copper Cliff. Voters lists over the years placed the family as living in Hanmer on the outskirts of Sudbury where they also farmed.

George died on 11 March 1962 in Sudbury Memorial Hospital following a lengthy illness. He was predeceased by his first wife Florence, sister Birdie (John McDonald) Mullin in 1928, his father George in 1937 and mother Annie Grace in 1944, all interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, and his brother Charles in 1954 in Port Arthur, Ontario. He was survived by his wife Evangeline, son-in-law Octave Menard of Hanmer, three grandchildren, and his sister Theresa (John) Ness in Cadillac, Saskatchewan who later died in 1979. George is interred in an unmarked grave in Park Lawn Cemetery in Sudbury.

By Judy Stockham

 

Swanson-George-Alban-2 Swanson-George-Alban-3 Swanson-George-Alban-4 Swanson-George-Alban-6 Swanson-George-Alban-7 Swanson-George-Alban-8

George’s obituary provided by the Sudbury Public Library.

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