Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 27, 1874
Place of BirthOrleans Island, Quebec
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Godfrey Lizotte (mother), 1 Parlor Street, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Trade / CallingCatholic Priest
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion41st Battalion (attached)
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Chaplain Service
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentQuebec City, Quebec
Date of EnlistmentApril 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment40
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain and the Medditeranean
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 26, 1932
Age at Death57
Buried AtSt. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Lizotte, Joseph Oscar

Introduction: On April 2, 1919, the Kenora Miner and News reported on a celebratory evening honouring close to two hundred local men who had served in – and returned from – the Great War. One of those on the list was Rev. Fr. Lizzett, a name that was not recognized. After researching different variations of the surname, it was determined that the Reverend Father was Joseph Oscar Lizotte, a Roman Catholic priest who was now living in Keewatin. It was this single mention in the newspaper that connected the Reverend Father to the Kenora/Keewatin area and led to his inclusion in the Kenora Great War Project.

Birth: According to the parish record, Joseph Oscar Godefroy Lizotte, was baptized on October 27,1874, Ile d’ Orleans, Parish of St. Petronille, Quebec. His Attestation Papers state he was baptized a year later October 27,1875. His obituary gives a date of 1876. Joseph was the only child of Godfroid and Octavie (Laliberte) Lizotte. Godfroid was an hotelier, or, Innkeeper, at the time. It is noted that there are different variations of the spelling of Lizotte; and, also of Godfroid (Godefroid, Godefroy, Godfroie).

Early Life: The family of three is recorded in both the 1881 and 1891 Canadian Census as living in Jacques Cartier Ward, Quebec City. In 1881 Godfroid was still an innkeeper. In 1891, at the age of 52, he was now employed as an agent/salesman for welding and soldering machines. Octavie was 36 and Joseph, 16. The family was Roman Catholic. Joseph received his education in the Petite Seminaire of Quebec City and the Grande Seminaire in Montreal. Prior to enlisting, he had served as Pastor within Quebec and may have been Chaplain of the 9th Quebec Battalion.

War Experience: Reverend Father Joseph Lizotte was one of fourteen Catholic Priests selected to go overseas, in 1915, to serve as Chaplains to Catholic personnel in the war. When he enlisted on April 21,1915, in Quebec City, Joseph was 39 ½ years old, stood 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 155 pounds, and had a dark complexion, dark hair, and brown eyes. He listed his widowed mother as his next of kin. She was living at 1 Parlor Street, Quebec City. Octavie’s address later changed to Maison Ste. Marguerite, 105 Rue des Stigmates Quartier Belvedere, Quebec City. Throughout his time of service, Joseph assigned his pay to his mother.

As a Chaplain, he was given the honourary rank of Captain and was initially assigned to the 41st Battalion, a short-lived French speaking unit out of Quebec. The Battalion embarked for England on October 18, 1915.

On April 16, 1916 Father Joseph was taken on strength with the 4th Canadian General Hospital in Salonika, Greece. The hospital had been in Salonika since 1915; however, it was moved to Kalamaria, Greece, in May of 1916. Here, thousands of sick and wounded soldiers were cared for, including those ill with dysentery and malaria. Father Joseph was one of the many who was treated for dysentery in May and again October of 1916,

On October 11, 1916, an officer at the 4th General Hospital recommended a change and a sea voyage for Joseph; and, on October 15th, he disembarked on Malta from the Hospital Ship, Glenart Castle. Over about a five-week period, Father Joseph was at St. Andrew’s Military Hospital, Ghain Tuffieha Convalescent Camp and All Saints convalescent Camp due to debility/nervous debility.  By December of the same year, he had returned to England and on the 21st, was attached for duty to the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow.

In mid January of 1917, Joseph was transferred to the Chaplain Service General list. Shortly thereafter, he resigned his commission and embarked for Canada on March 5, 1917, on the SS Metagama. His official discharge date, according to his final pay statement was March 16, 1917. Upon his return to Canada, Father Joseph resided at 94 Maple Avenue, Quebec City.

Overall, Reverend Lizotte’s personnel file contains little information. Joseph’s obituary says he was twice commended by England for his service. This may refer to the medals he would have received for his war service. Further research indicates that he was known to have a problem with alcohol and there were some unkind reports about his military service in two different publications. Perhaps the Nervous Debility diagnosed in his medical record referred to this condition. Despite this, following the war, Reverend Lizotte appears to have served well and long his parishioners and his communities in Keewatin and St. Boniface.

Life after the war: In October of 1917, Father Joseph travelled to Troy, New York. There is a record with the U.S. Records of Aliens Pre-Examined in Canada, for Reverend Joseph O. Lizotte dated October 17, 1917, in Quebec City. This permitted him to live in the United States without paying American taxes.

It is not known when he returned to Canada; however, he was in Keewatin at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church by at least April 2,1919 and was carrying out duties in the Keewatin parish as evidenced  by a marriage he performed on April 30 of that same year. The Reverend’s mother came to live with him in Keewatin and died there on April 15, 1926. She is buried in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery. It was in this same year Father Joseph became Chaplain at the St. Boniface Sanitorium in Manitoba.

Date of death and burial location:  A year before his death, Father Joseph developed an illness that eventually claimed his life. His obituary cites his service as pastor in parishes in Quebec, Vermont, Keewatin and in the Mediterranean during World War 1.  L’Abbe Joseph Oscar Lizotte died in Winnipeg, August 26,1932, and is buried in the St. Boniface Roman Catholic Cemetery in Winnipeg.

Prepared by Susan [Hillman] Brazeau for the Kenora Great War Project with research assistance from Becky Johnson.

The newspaper article (in three parts) is from the Kenora Miner and News April 2, 1919


  • ca: Canadian Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Census Records; Drouin Collection; U.S. Records of Aliens Pre-Examined in Canada, 1904-1954 (Head Tax Certificates, Form 524, Exempt Aliens)
  • Archives de la Société Historique de Saint-Boniface/Société Historique de Saint-Boniface Archives, 411 Photographie/Photograph
  • 10 Mar. 1917, 283. As cited in Crerar, Duff, Padres in No Mans Land.
  • CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project:(
  • Crerar, Duff. Padres in No Mans Land: Canadian Chaplains in the Great War. 1 ed., 1995. McGill-Queen’s Press.
  • Denton, Edgar, ed. Limits of Loyalty. Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1980.
  • Kenora Miner and News, April 2, 1922 article.
  • Library and Archives Canada: Military Personnel Records WW1; Quebec Census Records (
  • Manitoba Vital Statistics: (
  • O’Gorman, J.C.D., Major the Very Reverend J.R. Canadian Catholic Chaplains in the Great War:1914-1918. (’Gorman.html)
  • Registrar General of Ontario: Marriage Affidavit, May 5, 1919.
  • Why did Malta become one of WW1’s biggest hospitals? (
  • Winnipeg Free Press, August 27,1932. Obituary.

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