|Date of Birth||July 5, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Rutherford, Lambton County, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Albert Dawson (father), Port Lambton, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Battalion, Canadian Engineers|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Port Lambton, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||March 22, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 31, 1937|
|Age at Death||46|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Sapper Evans William Dawson was called up for service in March 1918, at age 27. He served in France with the Canadian Engineers in the last months of the war, returning to Canada in May 1919.
Evans was the son of Albert Dawson and Sedith Morningstar of Dawn Township, Lambton County, Ontario. His parents were both born in Lambton County, Albert in Dawn Township and Sedith in Sombra. They were married in nearby Wallaceburg in October 1886 and they had at least five children: Wilson, Evans, Olive, Edna and Vera. Evans was born on 5 July 1890 in Rutherford, Lambton County and his father was a blacksmith. Sadly his mother passed away on 8 May 1907 and baby Vera followed just a month later. His oldest brother Wilson had died in 1892 at age 4. When the 1911 census was taken Evans was living in the village of Sombra with his father and two sisters. By the time he was called up for service they had moved to the town of Port Lambton, just a few miles to the south.
Conscription started in the fall of 1917 and Evans had his military medical exam on 29 October in Sarnia. He was called up for service the following spring, on 22 March 1918, in London, Ontario. He was 27 years old at the time, living in Port Lambton and working as a labourer. He was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Western Ontario Regiment. Seven weeks later he was on his way overseas with the 28th Draft of the Canadian Engineers Training Depot. He arrived in England on the SS Runic on 24 May and he was transferred the same day to the 2nd Canadian Engineers Reserve Battalion.
The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, started with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918. On 9 August Evans was sent to France and transferred to the Canadian Engineers Pool. A month later he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Canadian Engineers. When he joined them in the field in September they were based at Wancourt, southeast of Arras. The fighting had moved away from trench warfare into a more mobile phase and the engineer battalions were kept busy building and repairing roads and bridges. At the end of September they played a crucial role in the successful crossing of the Canal du Nord.
In October Evans’ unit advanced past Cambrai and on 11 November they were at Valenciennes, near the Belgian border. They continued into Belgium and crossed into Germany on 8 December, staying there with the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions as part of the occupying forces. They returned to Belgium on 12 January 1919. The troops entrained for the coast on 24 March and sailed to England a few days later on the SS Devonshire. Most of them were immediately given eight days leave. Evans embarked from Liverpool on 6 May on the RMS Scotian, landing at Halifax nine days later. He was discharged on 17 May in London, Ontario with his intended residence listed as Port Lambton.
Around 1931 Evans moved to the Kenora area in northwestern Ontario, where he worked on road construction. He became ill with pneumonia early in 1937 and he was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. He passed away there on 31 January 1937, at age 46. He was survived by his sister Olive (Mrs. Roy Innis) of Port Lambton. Evans’ funeral was held on 2 February and he’s buried in the veterans section at Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Becky Johnson