|Date of Birth||January 18, 1876|
|Place of Birth||Montreal, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Rose Anna Caron, wife, Redditt, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Machinist|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No. 1 Tramways Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Redditt, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||March 17, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||40|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||September 16, 1963|
|Age at Death||87|
|Buried At||Assumption Roman Catholic Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Plot||Garden of Nativity Lot 149 Grave A-2|
Joseph Eugene Peter Caron was born on 18 January 1876 in the St James Ward of downtown Montreal, baptized in the Cathedrale St Jaque le Majeur. His father Onesime Caron, a tinsmith, was from Quebec City while his mother Emelie Benenfant was from Rivière du Loup. The couple had married in October of 1870 in Montreal. Known children born to the family were Marie Merilda (1871), Onesime Ovide (1873), Marie Louise (1875), Joseph, Arthur Octave (1878), Evangeline Marie (1887), and Oscar Ernest (1890).
According to the 1910 US Federal census, Joseph had immigrated to the United States in 1890. By the time of the census he was living in New Bedford, Massachusetts with his wife Rose Anna and children Blanche and Bertha. Rose Anna, born in Quebec, had immigrated to the States in 1886. Blanche was born in 1898 in Connecticut and Bertha in New Bedford in 1900. At the time of the census Joseph was working as a weaver in a cotton mill.
As found in the 1921 Canada census, Joseph and the family returned to Canada in 1907. They settled in Redditt, a community in northwestern Ontario about 30 kilometres north of Kenora, where Joseph found work as a machinist at the roundhouse of the TCR, a precursor to the Canadian National Railway.
Reported in the local Kenora newspaper in March of 1916, Joseph, age 40, walked the 30 kilometres into town to enlist, back to Redditt to get his wife’s permission, and then returned to Kenora, signing his attestation papers on the 17th. With other local lads with the 94th Battalion, Joseph left Kenora by train in May 1916, destination Port Arthur, Ontario, a large crowd seeing them off and wishing them well.
‘On May 25, 1916, the men of ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘Summer Camp’ as it was called. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, it actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units. (94thbattalioncef.ca)
Once in England Joseph was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion. While training and waiting to go overseas, he wrote a letter to a friend back home, David Valentine, telling of his impressions of the United Kingdom. In September Joseph was transferred to the 5th Battalion, taken on strength in France on the 22nd. During his time with the 5th Battalion, the battalion was active at the Somme, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Arras, Vimy, Arleux, Hill 70, and Passchendaele.
In August of 1917 Joseph was granted a ten day leave to Paris, returning on the 9th of September. In August of 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Tramway Company, Canadian Engineers, joining the unit on the 4th of September.
‘These companies built, maintained and operated light railways in forward areas. The gauge used was 60-centimetre and the cars were interchangeable with the Army Light Railway System. The trains were powered with petrol because they operated beyond the point where it was considered safe to use steam power. Tramways carried ammunition to artillery batteries, engineering supplies, troops, rations, gas and other comparatively light loads. They also ran hospital trains to carry the wounded to field ambulance stations. Both tramways companies had their origin in the Composite Pioneer Company, Canadian Corps which was organized in May 1916.’ (Library and Archives Canada)
In October 1918 Joseph was granted a fourteen day leave in France. In late January of 1919 he was struck off strength for England, embarking from Liverpool for Halifax on the 23rd of February aboard the SS Belgic. During the latter part of the war Rose Anna and the girls were living in St Boniface in Winnipeg.
After the war Joseph and Rose Anna returned to Redditt where he worked for the Canadian National Railway as a car inspector. Daughter Bertha married Wilfred Hebert in 1921 in St Boniface, and daughter Blanche married Charles Stevens in 1925, also in Winnipeg. Following his retirement in 1941, Joseph and Rose Anna moved to Winnipeg, taking up residence on Cauchon Street in Winnipeg South.
Predeceased by his wife Rose Anna in 1954, Joseph died on 16 September 1963 in Deer Lodge Hospital, Winnipeg. His Veteran Death card listed his daughter, Mrs Bertha Hebert, of Winnipeg as his next of kin.
At the time of his death Joseph was survived by his daughters Blanche and Bertha and families, including four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. After retirement Blanche and her husband moved to Comox, British Columbia where she died in 1970. Predeceased by her husband, Bertha died in Winnipeg in 1994. Joseph and Rose Anna are interred in the Assumption Roman Catholic Cemetery, Winnipeg.
by Judy Stockham