|Date of Birth||July 8, 1892|
|Place of Birth||Port Arthur, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||George Tennant (father), Kincardine, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Painter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||December 29, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 23, 1963|
|Age at Death||70|
|Buried At||Maple Leaf Cemetery, Chatham, Ontario|
Private Francis Lambert Tennant enlisted in December 1914 and served for one year in France and Belgium and two and a half years in Canada and the UK.
Francis was the son of George Tennant and Catherine (Kate) Margaret Lambert. He was the second of at least six children: Herbert (1889), Francis (1892), Janet (1894), George William (1896), Charlotte (1900) and Roland (1904). Francis was born in Port Arthur, Ontario on 8 July 1892. Most of the other children were born in Port Arthur but George William was born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). When the 1901 census was taken the family was living in Port Arthur and George Sr. was listed a miner. In 1911 his occupation was blacksmith. By 1914 the family was living in the town of Kincardine in southwestern Ontario but Francis had moved west to Saskatchewan.
The war started in August 1914 and Francis enlisted in Moose Jaw on 29 December 1914, when volunteers were being raised for a third overseas contingent. His occupation was painter and next of kin was his father in Kincardine. He joined the 46th Battalion and while his unit was training the 1st Canadian Division was fighting in France and Belgium. Men were needed to replace casualties in front line units and battalions in Canada were asked to send reinforcements. Francis left with the 1st Reinforcing Draft in the summer of 1915, embarking from Montreal on 5 July on the SS Elele. After arriving in England he was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion. On 28 August he was drafted to a front line unit, the 10th Battalion, and sent to France.
The Canadians spent the winter and spring of 1915-16 holding a section of the front line in the Ypres Salient in Belgium. In June 1916 they took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel and late that summer they were sent south for the Somme Offensive. The 10th Battalion took part in an operation at Thiepval Ridge, near the town of Courcelette, on 26 September. Francis was one of the casualties that day, suffering a shell or gun shot wound to his left arm. He was evacuated to England on the hospital ship St. David and admitted to the General Military Hospital in Colchester on 29 September. He recovered there for three weeks then spent four weeks at the Woodcote Park Convalescent centre. He was discharged to duty on 13 November and posted to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre. On 13 March 1917 he was transferred to the Alberta Regiment Depot and he trained with them for about two months.
On 21 May Francis was arrested and charged with stealing money. He was sentenced to 120 days detention which he served in the Aldershot Detention Barracks. He was released on 13 September and he spent another six months with the Alberta Regiment Depot. During that time Francis had problems with his feet and a medical report recommended that he return to Canada. He sailed from Liverpool in March 1918 on the SS Missanabie and on 15 May he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment. He served another three months and he was discharged in London, Ontario on 19 August, due to being medically unfit for further general service. He was entitled to wear one gold (wound) stripe. His brother George William Tennant enlisted in November 1915 and he served for a year in Canada before being discharged for medical reasons.
Francis was married in Stratford, Perth County, Ontario on 11 November 1919. His wife, Beatrice Pearl Somerville (nee Salisbury), was a widow, the daughter of Henry Salisbury and Mabel Watling. Beatrice was born in Stratford in 1896. She had married her first husband, Norman Frederick Somerville, in 1916 and he was killed at the Battle of Passchendaele in November 1917. Beatrice had a son, Norman Frederick Jr., who was born on 10 June 1917. With Francis she had at least two more children: Hazel Mary (1921) and George Henry (1923), both born in Stratford.
Francis and Beatrice moved to Detroit, Michigan around 1925. Sadly, Beatrice’s son Norman died in Detroit in 1926, at age nine. By the late 1940s Francis had returned to Canada and he was living in Windsor, Ontario. His father died in 1915 and his mother in 1939. They are both buried in Kincardine Cemetery in Kincardine, Ontario. Francis passed away in the Chatham General Hospital on 23 May 1963, at age 70. He’s buried in Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, Ontario.
By Becky Johnson