Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 9, 1895
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAnnie Dauphin (mother), 1603 Amphion Street, Victoria, British Columbia
Trade / CallingApprentice Engineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number180452
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 1 Tramways Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment1603 Amphion Street, Victoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentNovember 19, 1915
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 11, 1983
Age at Death87
Buried AtRoyal Oak Burial Park, Victoria, British Columbia

Dauphin, Leonard George

Sapper Leonard George Dauphin enlisted in Victoria, British Columbia in November 1915 and served overseas for three years. He survived gas poisoning and influenza and returned home in April 1919.

Leonard was the only child of Joseph Dauphin and his wife Annie Belleau. Joseph and Annie were both born in Quebec but by the time of the 1891 census they were married and living in Rat Portage, Ontario. Joseph worked for the railroad, first as a fireman and later as an engineer. Leonard was born in Rat Portage on 9 June 1895. His family was still in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) when the 1901 census was taken but not long after that they moved west to Alberta. Leonard’s father died there in 1904 and he’s buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary. When the 1906 census was taken Leonard and his mother were living in Calgary but about a year later they moved to British Columbia. By 1911 they had settled in Victoria on Vancouver Island.

The war entered its second year in August 1915 and Leonard enlisted that fall, signing up in Victoria on 19 November with the 88th Battalion (Royal Fusiliers). He was 20 years old and working as an apprentice marine engineer at the time. His unit trained in the Victoria area over the winter and moved to Willow Camp in the spring. They headed overseas that summer, embarking from Halifax on 31 May 1916 on the SS Olympic and arriving in Liverpool a week later.   On 8 July Leonard was posted to the Canadian Pioneer Training Depot and on 28 August he was transferred to the 3rd Canadian Pioneer Battalion and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field towards the end of September.

Pioneer battalions worked closely with the engineers and spent a large part of their time at or near the front lines. Their work included mining, wiring, tunnelling, railway and road work, constructing water systems, and building and repairing trenches and dugouts. At the end of December Leonard was ill and he spent five days in the hospital. In May 1917 the 3rd Pioneer Battalion was withdrawn and replaced by the 123rd Battalion, Royal Grenadiers. Leonard was transferred to the 123rd, which was also a pioneer unit, and he served with them for the next six months. That summer they took part in the Battle of Hill 70 (15-25 August) and in October they moved to the Ypres Salient for the Battle of Passchendaele (26 October-10 November).

On 23 November Leonard was transferred again, this time to the Canadian Light Railway Operating Company. He was immediately given two weeks leave and it was mid-December before he joined his new unit in the field. On 22 February 1918 they were re-designated as the 1st Tramways Company, Canadian Engineers. Tramway companies built, operated and maintained light railways in the forward areas. The railways were used to transport supplies, ammunition, troops and ambulance trains. In May Leonard’s unit was based near Lens in France and at the end of the month the men working at Liévin faced heavy shelling. About 25 of them suffered from gas poisoning, including Leonard. He was admitted to No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station then sent to No. 16 U.S.A. General Hospital in Le Tréport on 5 June.

After two weeks in the hospital Leonard was transferred to a convalescent depot and on 1 July he was released to the base depot. Two weeks later he became ill again and he spent another month in the hospital. From mid-August until the end of September he was at two convalescent depots and it was 2 November before he rejoined the Tramways company in the field. The Armistice ended hostilities nine days later and on 14 November Leonard was given two weeks leave in the UK. His unit stayed in France for another two months. They moved to Le Havre on 25 January 1919 and Leonard sailed for England three days later.

Shortly after arriving at Seaford Camp in Sussex Leonard contracted influenza. On 2 February he was admitted to No. 14 Canadian General Hospital and listed as dangerously ill. He recovered over the next three weeks and he was released from the hospital on 28 February. He embarked for Canada on 16 April on the SS Belgic, sailing from Liverpool and landing at Halifax a week later. He was discharged in Victoria on 29 April.

On 18 October 1919 Miss Frances Louisa Lowe arrived in Montreal on the SS Scandinavian. Louisa was born in Westminster, London, England in December 1889, the daughter of James and Georgina Lowe. Leonard met her in Montreal and they were married at the Sherbrooke Street Methodist Church on 20 October. When the 1921 census was taken they were living in Victoria and they had a daughter Betsy, age 10 months. Leonard had a long career as a marine engineer for the CPR, serving on ships in the Victoria area. In 1953 he was listed as the chief engineer on CPR’s Princess Patricia, which sailed between Victoria and Seattle, Washington. He and his wife had at least three more daughters, Joan, Hazel and Iris May.

By the spring of 1958 Leonard was retired and they were living on Cordova Bay Road in Saanich. Louisa passed away that fall, on 18 October 1958, at age 68. Leonard’s second wife, Helen Maud Neal, was born in 1897 in Port Hope, Ontario, the daughter of Elisha and Eliza Jane Neal. Her brother Reverend Harold Baker Neal had been called up for service in May 1918, while he was a divinity student in Toronto.

Leonard passed away in Sandringham Hospital in Victoria on 11 April 1983, at age 87. He is buried at Royal Oak Burial Park in Saanich. His first wife Louisa, his mother Annie Dauphin (1859-1937) and his daughter Iris May McConnell (1928-2009) are also buried there. Helen died in Victoria in 1991, at age 93.

By Becky Johnson

Dauphin-Leonard-90 Dauphin-Leonard-91

Grave marker photos courtesy of Betty & Dan, Find A Grave.

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