Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 12, 1901
Place of BirthOttawa, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Nickle (father) 12th Reserve Battalion C.E.F., England
Trade / CallingBank clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number820893 and 6703
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionLord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJuly 7, 1916
Age at Enlistment15
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 1, 1980
Age at Death79

Link, Lyman John

Trooper Lyman John Link (aka Lyman John Nickle) enlisted in July 1916, at age 15, and served in Canada for a year and a half. He was discharged for medical reasons in December 1917.

Lyman was born on 12 February 1901 in Ottawa, Ontario. He was the only son of John James Nickle and his first wife Kate Usher. John was born in Ottawa and Kate was from England. Kate probably died when Lyman was still very young and his father moved to Kenora, Ontario. Lyman was raised there by James and Annie Link and he used their surname. Annie was from Sweden and James was born in England. They had married in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) in 1899 and they had no children of their own.

The war started in August 1914 and Lyman’s father, John Nickle, enlisted the following spring. Before going overseas he married a Kenora girl, Myrtle Christina Hansen, in August 1915 in Port Arthur. He left for England the following month and served overseas until June 1919.

Lyman enlisted in Kenora on 7 July 1916, joining the 141st ‘Bull Moose’ Battalion. He was 15 years old at the time and he said he was working as a bank clerk. On 1 August the Kenora recruits left for Port Arthur, where the battalion was headquartered, and they had a warm send-off at the Kenora train station. The men trained in Port Arthur over the fall and winter. In March 1917 a medical board found that Lyman was medically unfit for service due to having a deformed wrist, the result of a fracture when he was a child. He signed his discharge document in Port Arthur on 29 March and returned to Kenora. His official discharge date was 5 April.

On 2 April Lyman was in Winnipeg where he enlisted again, this time signing up with Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). He was 16 years old by then but passed himself off as a year older. He served for eight months, probably in Winnipeg and at Camp Hughes. A medical board reported that he had impaired function in his right wrist and hand, due to a fracture in 1907. He was discharged from service on 14 December 1917.

Lyman married a girl from Kenora, Erma Jean Duncan, on 10 April 1921 in Winnipeg. When the census was taken that year they were living in Winnipeg, with Lyman working as a chauffeur and Erma as a typist in a government office. In the mid-1920s Lyman was a clerk for a cab company and also a musician with his own band, the Lyman Link Orchestra. By the early 1930s he had moved to the U.S. and his first marriage had ended. He was married again on 16 August 1935 in Cook County, Illinois. His wife, Virginia Lee Anderson, was born in 1913 in Rock Island, Illinois, the daughter of Lawrence and Helena Anderson. Lyman became an accountant and when the 1940 census was taken he and his wife were living in Roma, New York.

Lyman and Virginia had two sons: James Charles, born in 1938 in Texas, and Peter, born in 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri, where the family settled and lived for many years. James graduated from Principia College and Naval Officers Candidate School and served in the military in the 1960s and 1970s, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. In civilian life he was an accountant like his father. Peter had an early career as an actor and is now a composer, lyricist and music producer.

Lyman passed away in St. Louis, Missouri in February 1980, at age 79.

By Becky Johnson

141st-1916-07-12 141st-1916-08-02

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