Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 27, 1897
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGeorge Caslake, father, 112 Scott Street, St Rouge, Manitoba
Trade / Callingbugler and driver
Service Details
Regimental Number503713
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Engineers Training Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment112 Scott Street, St Rouge, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 22, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 14, 1983
Age at Death85
Buried AtSt Vital Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Caslake, Gordon Douglas

Gordon Douglas Caslake was born on 27 December 1897 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His parents were George and Rachel (née Coupland) Caslake who had married in London, Ontario in 1884. The couple settled in St Mary’s, Ontario, Rachel’s home town, where George worked as a butcher. George and Rachel gave birth to three children while in St Mary’s, Elizabeth Pearl (1895), Edna Pauline (1887), and George Wilkin (1890). Another child, Rachel’s son Arthur Coupland, appears to have been adopted by George, assuming the surname of Caslake.

The 1891 census found Rachel and the children living with her mother in St Mary’s but by the next year the family had relocated to Rat Portage where George had found work as a railway brakeman. Children born in Rat Portage were John Augustus (1892), Albert (1895-1906), Gordon Douglas, Leslie Francis (May 1900-Jul 1900), Lyle Harold (1901), and Rachel Grace (1903).

By the 1911 census, George, Rachel and children Gordon, Lyle, and Grace were living in Rainy River. By 1916, most of the Caslake family had moved to Winnipeg where both Gordon and Arthur (listed as adopted son) were recorded on the census as being overseas.

George signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 22 February 1916. His occupation was given as bugler and driver and his next of kin as his father George. A newspaper  column from the Kenora Miner and News of the next day reported that members of the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers, including Gordon Caslake, had left by train for Ottawa to train for a short period before proceeding overseas. Arriving in England aboard the Baltic on 29 May, Gordon was transferred to the 11th Field Company, Canadian Engineers on June 1st.

By mid August of 1916 Gordon was in France.  Field companies were responsible for construction of defences, sanitation systems, water supplies, bridging, and assisting with trench raids. In September of 1917 Gordon was granted a leave and after his return he was to be in and out of service a number of times(vdg). In March of 1919 he was granted a leave to the UK.  Driver Gordon Caslake returned to Canada aboard the Olympic, arriving in Halifax on 13 June 1919.

Gordon continued to make Winnipeg his home after the war. On 22 October 1921, in Winnipeg, he married Beatrice Hannah Osborne. Born in 1896 in Howard, Kent, Ontario, by the 1921 Canada census Beatrice was working as a saleslady and  lodging at the Caslake house in Winnipeg. Over the years Gordon worked for the Hudson Bay Company, retiring after 50 years of employment. The couple gave birth to at least two children, James and Aileen. Gordon was active in the Fort Garry Curling Club where he became a lifetime member.

Predeceased by his wife Beatrice in 1977, Gordon died at Oakview Place, Winnipeg on 14 February 1983. At the time of his death he was survived by his son James and family of Belleville, Ontario and his daughter Aileen Lillies and family of Winnipeg. Also surviving were ten grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren. Along with Beatrice, Gordon is interred in the St Vital Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Arthur Caslake also served during the war, going overseas with the 8th Battalion in the fall of 1914. However trench conditions and wet weather played havoc with his health (myalgia), resulting in his discharge as medically unfit. He returned to Canada aboard the Northland in December of 1916.

by Judy Stockham

grave marker photo: Bocephus on

Caslake-Gordon-Douglas-2  Caslake-Gordon-Douglas-3 Caslake-Gordon-Douglas-4

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