|Date of Birth||February 28, 1874|
|Place of Birth||Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island|
|Next of Kin||William Dillon (father), Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island|
|Trade / Calling||Cook|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Brandon, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||July 26, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||41|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
Private Artemus Robert Dillon was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on 28 February 1874. His parents were William Dillon and Elizabeth Hoben and he was one of at least nine children. William and Elizabeth were married on Prince Edward Island in 1870. In 1873 the colony of Prince Edward Island became a Canadian province. William was listed as a sailmaker in both the 1881 and 1891 Canadian censuses. Artemus was also listed as a sailmaker in 1891, at age 17, but sometime after that he began studying dentistry.
In 1899 the Canadian government raised a contingent of eight companies to take part in the war in South Africa. Artemus signed up with Company G, which was recruited in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. He had been serving with the 82nd Queen’s County Battalion since at least 1896 and he was single with his trade recorded as dentistry. He enlisted in Charlottetown on 20 October 1899. The Canadian contingent embarked from Quebec ten days later, sailing on the SS Sardinian and arriving at Cape Town, South Africa on 29 November. Artemus served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment and he was discharged from the army on 3 November 1900. He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg and Cape Colony.
When the 1901 census was taken Artemus was living with his parents in Charlottetown and listed as a dentist. His father was a clerk with the city market at the time. Artemus’ South African war service entitled him to a land grant from the government and he applied for it in March 1909. His address by then was Fort William. Ontario and his occupation was railroad employee. When the next Canadian census was taken in 1911 he was living in St. Boniface, Manitoba and working as a cook.
The Great War started in August 1914 and Artemus enlisted twice. The first time he signed up was on 26 July 1915 in Brandon, Manitoba. He joined the 79th Battalion, which was being recruited in Manitoba. He was 41 years old by then, single, his occupation was cook and next of kin was his father in Charlottetown. He passed himself off as 37 and his medical in September found him fit for overseas service although it mentioned that he had a crooked right arm and a crooked left thumb. He was struck off strength in Brandon two months later, on 13 November, because he was “not likely to become an efficient soldier.”
Artemus enlisted again on 9 December 1916, at age 42. This time he signed up in Winnipeg and passed himself off as 34 years old. His address was the Manitoba Hotel and his occupation was cook. He joined the 251st “Goodfellows” Battalion, which was being recruited in the Winnipeg area. In February 1917 Artemus was in the hospital for five days with influenza. In March he was transferred to the #2 Forestry Draft then in July to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot. He was discharged from service on 29 April 1918 in Winnipeg, due to being medically unfit for further war service. His intended residence was Brandon.
Research has turned up few details on Artemus’ life after the war. When the 1921 census was taken he was enumerated in the small community of French Portage on Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario. He was working as a cook on a steamboat and he said he was married. About three years later he moved to Duluth, Minnesota. He was back in Canada briefly in 1925 but returned to the U.S. that November, on his way to Duluth again. Nothing further is known at this time and Artemus’ date of death and place of burial have not been found.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the Queen’s South Africa Medal.