Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 20, 1879
Place of BirthMattawa, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEva Belle Dufour, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingTrainman
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number504083
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion4th Divisional Engineers
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 28, 1916
Age at Enlistment36
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 9, 1921
Age at Death41
Buried AtLake of The Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotRC E - 23 - 18

Dufour, George Thomas

The son of Thomas and Mary (née Graham) Dufour, George Thomas Dufour was born on 20 October 1879 in Mattawa, Ontario. According to the  1891 Canada census both of his parents were born in Quebec but by the birth of their first child, a daughter Celia in 1875, the family was living in Mattawa. Another son, William, was born in 1885. For the 1891 census for Mattawa, Thomas was listed as a general labourer while Celia was apprenticing as a dressmaker.

At some point both George and his brother William moved north to Haileybury where George found work as a bartender. On 7 August 1906, in Haileybury, George married Eva Belle Owens. Born in Scotch Grove in the Renfrew area of Ontario, Eva was the daughter of Edward and Mary Jane Owens who had farmed in the district. While in Haileybury George and Eva gave birth to two children, son Thomas Edward Roy and daughter Rae Cecilia. By the 1911 census George, Eva and the children were living in Fort William, Ontario before moving on to Kenora where George found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway.

With occupation given as trainman and his next of kin as his wife Eva Belle, George signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 28 February 1916. Two Kenora Miner and News paper articles spoke of his enlistment with the 2nd Field Troop, Canadian Engineers and his passing through Kenora on his way from Winnipeg to Ottawa to train with the Corps.

George embarked from Halifax aboard the SS Baltic in mid May of 1916, arriving in England on the 29th. On the first of June he was taken on strength with the 4th Division, Canadian Engineers and posted to the 10th Field Company. However all was not well with George and his time overseas was to be short lived. He was first admitted to a hospital in Bramshott on the 12th of June and transferred to the Pinewood Sanatorium in Wokingham on the 24th. His diagnosis was pulmonary and larygeal tuberculosis compounded by bronchitis. After spending time at the Southern Sanatorium at Hastings as well, it was decided that George should be invalided to Canada, embarking on the 1st of August.

Once in Canada, George was hospitalized at the Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Treatment focused on bed rest, a nourishing diet, and fresh air with patients spending 10 to 12 hours a day in the open air, regardless of the weather. George was eventually discharged from service as medically unfit, with compensation, in Toronto on 31 May 1917. His illness was deemed as acquired during active service and he was granted a pension.

While George was overseas Eva and the children had returned to Haileybury. Moving back to Kenora, the family was found on the 1921 Canada census living on 1st Street North with George working as a switchman for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

On 9 July 1921 George died in the St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora, cause of death given as tubercular laryngitis. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

The plaque and scroll and memorial cross were sent to Eva in Kenora but it appears that  she and the children did not  remain in the town. A family tree on ancestry suggests that Eva died in Timmins, Ontario in 1952, followed by daughter Rae (Barron) in 1983.

George’s brother William and family had moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where William signed his US World War 1 Draft Registration card on 12 September 1918.

George is commemorated on page 556 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, on the Kenora Legion War Memorial, and on the  Notre Dame du Portage Roman Catholic Church Memorial in Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

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