Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 27, 1885
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Jorgenson (father), Whitemouth, Manitoba; later changed to sister Mrs. Annie Allin
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number14708
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Light Horse
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 24, 1914
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 2, 1970
Age at Death84
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot40E-35-4, Liberty View Block

Jorgenson, Jacob

Private Jacob Jorgenson was the oldest of five brothers who enlisted for service in the First World War. The five boys – Jacob, Martin, John,  Gustave and Thomas – came from a large family in Whitemouth, Manitoba. Martin was killed in France in June 1917 but the other four brothers survived and returned home after the war.

Jacob’s parents were John Jorgenson and Dina Amelia Anderson. John and Dina were from Norway and they had a family of 17 or 18 children but at least four of them died very young. The oldest ones (Ole, Minnie, Annie, Jacob and Casper) were born in Norway before the family emigrated. John came to Canada first, possibly with Ole and the two girls, and Dina followed later with Jacob and Casper, arriving in Halifax on 9 December 1889 on the SS Oregon.

At the time of the 1891 census the Jorgensons were living in the Keewatin area in northwestern Ontario and John was working at a sawmill. Their son Martin was born in Keewatin in March 1892. Not long after that they decided to move to Whitemouth, Manitoba where John took up farming. The rest of the children were born in Manitoba (Hubert, John, Gustave, Thomas, Richard, Charlotte and Walter). Walter, who was probably the youngest, was born in 1908 and their parents died just a few years later, Dina in October 1913 and John in December 1914. Some of the boys continued to run the family farm in Whitemouth and the oldest son Ole had his own farm nearby. Casper found work with the railway and he moved to Kenora, Ontario. His sister Annie (Mrs. Walter Allin) also lived in Kenora where her husband worked for the CPR.

Britain declared war on 4 August 1914 and three days later mobilization orders were issued in Canada. Volunteers were told to sign up with a local militia unit then proceed to Valcartier, an area northwest of Quebec City that would become the site of a large military camp. Jacob joined the Fort Garry Horse in Winnipeg then headed to Valcartier along with thousands of other recruits. He enlisted there with the 6th Battalion on 24 September. The 6th had just been organized and it was made up of mounted units from the western provinces, including the Fort Garry Horse. Jacob went overseas with the 6th Battalion, as part of the 1st Canadian Contingent, embarking from Quebec City on 30 September on the SS Lapland.

Overseas service:

-in England Jacob was transferred to the Canadian Cavalry Reserve Regiment
-in June 1915 he was assigned to the Canadian Cavalry Depot
-on 12 December 1915 he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Divisional Cavalry Squadron and sent to France
-in March 1916 he was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Divisional Cavalry Squadron (known as the 1st Canadian Hussars)
-in May his unit became Squadron in the newly-organized Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment
-in July Jacob was sent on a grenade and trench mortar course
-later that summer the Canadian Corps moved south to take part in the Somme Offensive
-Jacob’s unit provided troops for work parties and stretcher-bearer duty, and he was wounded in the hip and shoulder on 29 September
-he spent two weeks recovering at No. 4 and No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulances
-in February 1917 the Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment was renamed the Canadian Light Horse
-in April the Canadian Light Horse saw action at Vimy Ridge, carrying out an assault on Farbus Wood and the village of Willerval
-over the next year they were based in the area west and northwest of Lens
-they spent time in drilling, training exercises, gun practice and instruction and provided work parties for engineer units
-in December 1917 Jacob was given leave in Paris
-the Canadian Light Horse were actively involved in operations in the last three months of the war (the Hundred Days Offensive)
-they had a key role at Iwuy on 10 October 1918, where the last ever swords-drawn Canadian cavalry charge took place
-in the final month of the war the unit acted as a scouting force, sometimes leading the infantry during their advance
-along with the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions the Canadian Light Horse took part in the March to the Rhine, crossing into Germany on 9 December
-they spent eight weeks in Germany as an occupying force, most of that time at Godesberg
-the Canadian Light Horse returned to Belgium on 3 February 1919
-they moved to Le Havre on 14 February and proceeded to England on 2 March on the SS Duchess of Devonshire
-Jacob embarked from Liverpool on 16 April on the SS Belgic
-he was discharged in Toronto on 25 April with his intended address listed as Kenora

From the Kenora Miner and News, 14 May 1919: ‘Mr. J. Georgenson [Jorgenson] of Whitemouth is visiting his sister, Mrs. W.B. Allen, 2nd St. south. Mr. Georgenson enlisted with the Fort Garry Horse and went overseas with the 1st contingent in 1914. He was twice wounded and [after] recovery returned to the front and was fortunate in being one of those who returned to Canada with his unit. Four other brothers went overseas, one was killed and one is at present in Palestine.’

Jacob married Genevieve Yvonne Green on 12 September 1920 in Whitemouth. They settled in Ignace, Ontario and they had at least two sons, James and Ted, and a daughter Patricia (Mrs. Robert Kurz). Jacob was a life member of the Canadian Legion in Ignace. He spent his last years at Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora and he died there on 2 April 1970. He’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His brothers Casper and Gustave and sister Annie Allin are also buried there, as well as other family members. His daughter Patricia (1927-2009) is buried in Dryden Municipal Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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