Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 10, 1871
Place of BirthCaraquet, Gloucester County, New Brunswick
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Mary Godin (sister), Maisonnette, New Brunswick
Trade / CallingCarpenter
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number500534 and 1013030
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 23 Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 18, 1915
Age at Enlistment44
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 3, 1946
Age at Death75
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotRC B - 18 - 9

Godin, Richard

Sergeant Richard Godin enlisted in September 1915, at age 44, and served in France and Belgium with the Canadian Engineers. After getting discharged due to his age he re-enlisted with a forestry unit and served overseas for another two years.

Richard was the oldest son of Vital Godin and Marie Paulin of Caraquet, Gloucester County, New Brunswick. Vital and Marie were both born in New Brunswick and they were married in 1857 in Bathurst. They made their home in Caraquet, where Vital was a farmer, and Richard was born there on 10 February 1871. He had two older sisters, Marie and Olive, and a younger brother, Raphael.

Richard and Raphael were both still at home for the 1891 census and their father passed away the following year. Sometime after that the two brothers left home and went west. Raphael lived in Ottawa for awhile and he was married there in 1899. Richard spent some time in Fort William, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba. When the 1911 census was taken he was living in the village of Norman in northwestern Ontario and working as a mill carpenter.

The war started in August 1914 and Richard enlisted a year later, signing up in Winnipeg on 18 September 1915. He joined the Canadian Engineers Training Depot and passed himself off as 38 years old. He was actually 44 which was overage for front line service. He embarked for the UK in November with the depot’s fourth draft. After just a month in England he was transferred to the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers, and sent to France. He joined them in the field a few days before Christmas and served with them until the summer of 1916.

During the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916 Richard was admitted to the hospital for a minor medical condition and he was out of action for several weeks in June and July. When he recovered he didn’t rejoin his unit as he was ‘unable to stand the stress of active service due to his age.’ He was sent back to England in mid-August and classified as permanent base. He returned to Canada three months later, embarking on the SS Olympic and arriving on 18 November. He was discharged as permanently unfit for service on 27 November 1916 in Quebec.

Richard was back in the Kenora area for only a few weeks when he enlisted again, this time with the 230th Battalion. He signed up in Kenora on 18 December and said he had served with the Canadian Engineers for 14 months. The 230th was a forestry battalion raised in Ontario and the western provinces and drafts of men were sent overseas as needed. Richard went in the 2nd reinforcing draft, embarking from Halifax on 26 January 1917 on the SS Grampian and arriving in the UK about eleven days later. Before leaving he had been promoted to Lance Corporal. On 19 February he was appointed Acting Corporal and sent to France with a newly-organized unit, No. 24 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps.

No. 24 Company was No. 2 District which was headquartered at Conches, west of Paris. Canadian forestry units were employed in cutting timber, running sawmills, preparing railway ties and helping to clear terrain and build airfields and aerodromes. Other work listed in the war diaries included clearing sites, ditching, draining, hauling gravel, levelling, making culverts, grading, ploughing, filling depressions, etc. On 2 September 1917 Richard was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to No. 23 Company, which was in the same district.

On 23 January 1918 Richard was admitted to No. 6 General Hospital in Rouen, suffering from inflamed lymph nodes. He was released a week later but was back in the hospital at the end of February for the same problem. He recovered for a month this time and rejoined his unit at the end of March. In September he had ten days leave in Paris and he was back in the field for the final weeks of the war. A month after the Armistice Richard returned to England and he spent some time with the Canadian Forestry Corps Depot. He sailed from Liverpool in late January 1919 on the SS Baltic, arriving in Halifax on 5 February. He was given two weeks landing leave and officially discharged on demobilization on 26 February. He had just turned 48 years old.

Richard returned to the Kenora area and settled in Norman again, where he lived for the rest of his life. He had a long career as a carpenter with the Keewatin Lumber Company. He passed away in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora on 3 November 1946, at age 75. His funeral was held two days later and he’s buried in the Catholic section at Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His brother Raphael had died eight months earlier, in March 1946, and he’s buried in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.

By Becky Johnson

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Richard’s new grave marker (top photo) was installed in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund. The bottom photo is the original marker.

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