|Date of Birth||April 20, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Liverpool|
|Next of Kin||J Hosted (Jacob Hostetter), friend, Gainsborough, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||2nd Battalion, CE|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Commercial Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||October 20, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 10, 1963|
|Age at Death||69|
|Buried At||Pine Hills Cemetery, Scarborough, Ontario|
|Plot||Section H Grave 506|
Thomas, with the surname of Dalton, was born on 20 April 1894 in the Liverpool Workhouse in Liverpool, England. His mother was Catherine Canning who was born about 1859, likely in Liverpool. Catherine married William Gilray, a mariner, in November of 1877 in Liverpool. In February of 1880 she then married William Lawson, Catherine listed as a widow on the marriage record although her first husband later remarried in 1882. At the time of the 1881 census Catherine and her second husband were living in Liverpool where William, born in Cumberland, was working in an iron foundry. By 1883 they were living in the registration district of Wigton in Cumberland where the couple gave birth to daughter Esther Jane that year. It is not known if William died or if the marriage failed but by 1885 Catherine had entered a relationship with Thomas Lusby, a horse driver from Liverpool. Catherine and Thomas gave birth to son Charles in the fall of 1885 in Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northumberland. By the time of Thomas’ birth in 1894 Catherine was back in Liverpool, with Thomas Dalton, a general labourer, given as the father on Thomas’ birth record. Although Catherine later went by the name of Mrs Dalton, a marriage record was not found. By the next year, 1895, Catherine had reunited with Thomas Lusby, the couple giving birth to son Ernest in mid June in Cotherstone in Yorkshire. From there the family moved to Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire where son John James was born in 1898. All the boys, including Thomas, assumed the surname of Lusby although Catherine and Thomas did not marry.
Hard times soon befell the family, with Thomas SR entering the Pateley Bridge Workhouse due to ill health. In January of 1902 Thomas JR and Ernest were surrendered to the care of Mr Craig’s Shelter in Gateshead and then transferred to Barnardo’s in London. It appears that Catherine kept her son John James with her, Charles entered the care of Barnado’s by the next year, while Esther later married Michael Higgins in 1907 in the registration district of Tynemouth in Northumberland.
Between 1869 and the late 1930s over 100 000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes. (Library and Archives Canada)
On 27 March 1902, along with a large number of children from Barnardo’s, Thomas embarked for Canada aboard the Dominion. By April he had been placed with Mrs S McDonald in the Port Sydney area in Muskoka, Ontario. When she moved away in December Thomas was placed with Andrew and Fanny Kerr in Port Sydney where he was to live for five years. An older couple, after raising their own children they took in a number of young British Home children over the years. In the late fall of 1907 Thomas was recalled to Barnardo’s in Toronto, sent to Winnipeg in November, and by later that month he had been placed on the farm of Francis and Isabella Trenouth in the Gainsboro/Carievale area in Saskatchewan. During the move his surname was changed to Lusty. In 1912 Thomas went to work for Milton Birch and then for Jacob Hostetter in Gainsboro in 1914, all in the same area.
Thomas’ brother Charles arrived in Canada in July of 1903 aboard the Dominion with a Barnardo party, surname given as Lushby on the passenger list. Last trace found of him was in 1904 in Gelloe, Manitoba. His brother Ernest arrived in April of 1905 on the Kensington, also with a party of Barnardo children. He later went overseas with the 33rd Battalion and served in France with the 1st Battalion.
With occupation given as farmer and his friend J Hosted (Jacob Hostetter) as next of kin, Thomas enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 20 October 1916. His date and place of birth was given as 20 May 1896 in Somerset, England. At the time he had been staying at the Commercial Hotel in Winnipeg. As a Private with the 200th Battalion, Thomas embarked from Halifax on 30 April 1917 on the Megantic. Once in England he was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 107th Battalion for duty overseas in June, arriving at the unit in late August. In March of 1918 the unit became known as the 107th Pioneer Battalion. Pioneer battalions worked in conjunction with the Engineers continually in the forward area. The work varied but consisted of consolidating positions captured by the infantry, tunnelling, mining, wiring, railroad work, deep dugout work and laying out, building and keeping trenches in repair.
Thomas was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in late March of 1918 and in late May he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Engineers with the rank of Sapper. It appears that Thomas was transferred to the 1st Canadian Division Permanent Base & Invalid Unit that August, returning to the 2nd Battalion, CE in early March of 1919. He returned to England in late March and embarked for Canada aboard the Empress of Britain on 26 April. Thomas was discharged from service on 8 May 1919 in Winnipeg, intended residence given as the city.
On 15 September 1920, in Melita in Manitoba, Thomas married Emma Elizabeth Heatherington. At the time both had been living in Carnduff, Saskatchewan, a community about 20 kilometres west of where Thomas had previously been working on the farms. Born on 16 August 1898 in Sundridge, Ontario, Emma was the daughter of Thomas Edward Heatherington and Anna Walch. By the time of the 1901 census her family had moved to the Gainsborough/Carnduff area.
Thomas and Emma farmed in Mount Pleasant, Assiniboia in Saskatchewan for a while, giving birth to daughter Olive May by the time of the 1921 census. The family moved to Kenora where Thomas worked as a labourer, the family living on the Redditt Road. While in Kenora he joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. Thomas and Emma gave birth to a number of children, names drawn from various family obituaries and other sources: daughters Olive May, Dolene (Dolly), Annabelle, Martha, Violet, Mildred, and Rosie, and sons Thomas Edward, Douglas, and Allan. It appears that twins were also born to the family in 1928, with one daughter dying at birth and the other in 1929. Another daughter named Dorothy also died in infancy/toddler in 1932. Sadly, Emma died on 6 July 1938 in Kenora and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery.
Not a lot is known about Thomas’ life after the death of his wife Emma. Voters lists indicated that by 1957 he was working as a labourer in the St Paul area of Toronto while living with his daughter Annabelle and her husband Sam Eng and by 1963 he was a patient at the Toronto Hospital for Tuberculosis. His brother Ernest ended up living in Toronto but it is not known if the brothers reunited. Ernest died in 1984 and is interred in St James Cemetery in Toronto.
Thomas died on 10 August 1963 in the Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He is interred in the Pine Hills Cemetery in Scarborough (Toronto).
By Judy Stockham
Thomas’ grave marker photograph provided by Ken M, findagrave.com