Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 3, 1882
Place of BirthWinnipeg, Manitoba
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinHelen Beresford Panton (wife), 482 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingPhysician and surgeon
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 10 CAMC Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJune 18, 1915
Age at Enlistment33
Theatre of ServiceCanada, Great Britain, Dardanelles Campaign and China
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 17, 1964
Age at Death82

Panton, Leonard Arthur Cattanach

Dr. Leonard Arthur Cattanach Panton served from June 1915 to September 1919 with the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He was wounded at Gallipoli and after recovering he went on to serve in Canada, Great Britain and China.

Leonard was the son of James Hoyes Panton and Mary Jemima Drummond Cattanach of Guelph, Ontario. James, a university science professor, was from Scotland and Mary was born in Glengarry County, Ontario. They were married in Kenyon Township, Glengarry County on 18 August 1880. A short time later they moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Leonard was born in Winnipeg on 3 June 1882. His family returned to Guelph after a few years and Mary died there in September 1886, following the birth of a stillborn child. When the next census was taken, in 1891, Leonard was eight years old and living with his father. Sadly, his father died of cancer in 1898, at age 50.

Leonard attended medical school at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1904. Afterwards he did two years of post-graduate work in Chicago. In 1906 he began his medical practice in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario and he worked there for five years. From Kenora he moved to North Battleford, Saskatchewan where he was a partner in the firm of Hamlin-Panton and Hurlburt. Leonard was married at All Saints Church in Winnipeg on 10 April 1912. His wife, Helen Beresford, was a nurse. She was born in 1883 in East Ilsley, Berkshire, England, the daughter of Dr. Charles William Beresford and Mary Spencer James. Helen had immigrated to Canada in December 1905. At the time of the 1906 census she was working at Winnipeg’s General Hospital and by1911 she was a nurse for a private family.

Leonard and Helen made their home in North Battleford and they had four children: James Hoyes (1914), Helen Mary (1917), and twins John Beresford and Joan Francis (1923). The war started in August 1914 and the following summer Leonard travelled to England where he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 18 June 1915. His wife and son arrived in England on 28 June on the SS Orduna and they stayed there while he was serving. In July Leonard was sent to the Dardanelles Campaign and he spent the next six months working on hospital ships.

On 31 December 1915 Leonard was wounded at Cape Helles when he was hit in the abdomen by fragments from a high explosive shell. His intestine was perforated and he had surgery at a casualty clearing station. On 4 January he was moved to a hospital in Alexandria, Egypt and at the end of the month he was back in England. He recovered at No. 1 Southern General Hospital in Birmingham until 10 May, when he was discharged to light duty. In June 1916 he relinquished his commission and returned to Canada. His wife and son followed in September, arriving in Halifax on the SS Olympic.

Back in Winnipeg Leonard worked as adjutant for the Canadian Army Medical Corps in District No. 10. On 4 December 1916 he was commissioned as a Captain in the CAMC. His wife was living in Winnipeg too and their daughter, Helen Mary, was born there in February 1917. In December 1917 Leonard was sent to China to work at a recruiting depot for the Chinese Labour Corps. He was put in charge at Weihaiwei in northern China, and not long after he arrived a typhus epidemic broke out. Leonard was ‘Mentioned for Valuable Services’ for his work in controlling the epidemic and minimizing casualties. He returned to Canada in April 1918 on the Empress of Asia and continued to serve in administration for another 16 months. He was discharged on demobilization on 15 September 1919 in Winnipeg. His wife’s brother, Spencer Charles Beresford, was killed in action in France in June 1918, while serving with Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Leonard and Helen returned to North Battleford and their twins were born in March 1923. They moved to Kelowna, British Columbia around 1937 and Leonard served the Okanagan Valley region as an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. He retired due to ill health around 1950. He was suffering from tuberculosis and his last few years were spent at the Pearson Tuberculosis Hospital in Vancouver. He passed away on 17 June 1964, at age 82. Helen died at Stillwaters Private Hospital in Kelowna on 2 September 1969, at age 85.

Leonard was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-15 Star. He’s commemorated on the University of Toronto Roll of Service 1914-1918.

By Becky Johnson

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