|Date of Birth||October 4, 1893|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Ferdinand Dion (father), Fisher Branch, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Lath maker|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||May 19, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||21|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 28, 1917|
|Age at Death||23|
|Buried At||No known grave|
Corporal Joseph Dion enlisted in Winnipeg in May 1915, at age 21, and served in France with the 10th Battalion. He was killed in action in April 1917.
Joseph was the youngest son of Ferdinand (Frank) Joseph Dion and Emilie Michaud. Ferdinand and Emilie were both born in Quebec. By the early 1880s they were married and living in the Keewatin/Rat Portage area in northwestern Ontario. Ferdinand worked in a sawmill and he and his wife had at least eight children: Wilfred (1883), Josephine (1886), Marie Adele Delia (1887, died at age three weeks), Claudia (1888), Angus Auguste (1889), Ernest (1891), Joseph Ferdinand (1893) and Marie Adele ‘Dora’ (1895). Joseph was baptized on 15 October 1893 at the Notre Dame du Portage Roman Catholic Church in Rat Portage. His birth was recorded as 4 October 1893. The family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) at the time of the 1901 census but by 1906 they had moved to St. Boniface, Manitoba.
When the 1911 census was taken Joseph was still living at home in St. Boniface and employed as an apprentice. He enlisted in Winnipeg on 19 May 1915, signing up with the 44th Battalion. He was 21 years old, a lath maker by trade and next of kin was his father in Fisher Branch, Manitoba. He assigned his pay to his sister, Miss Dora Dion, in Norwood, Winnipeg. The 44th Battalion headed overseas that fall and passed through Joseph’s old hometown of Kenora on 18 October, as noted in an article in the Kenora Miner and News. The recruits embarked from Halifax on 23 October on the SS Lapland and arrived in England about a week later.
On 3 February 1916 Joseph was transferred to the 11th Battalion. In March he was sentenced to 28 days in detention for unacceptable behaviour in the barracks. In June he was drafted to a front line unit, the 10th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field later that same month, just after the Battle of Mount Sorrel. In July he was in confinement again, this time for 20 days for being absent without leave and attempting to evade and resist a sentry. He was also sentenced to 60 days Field Punishment No. 1. After rejoining his unit he was temporarily assigned to a tunnelling company and served with them from 24 October to 19 December.
The Canadian Corps spent the winter of 1916-17 in the Lens-Arras area in France, across from Vimy. Joseph was appointed Acting Corporal on 9 April 1917, the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. After capturing the ridge the Canadians stayed in the area holding the new front line and carrying out offensive operations in the area. Joseph was promoted to Corporal on 24 April. A few days later the 10th Battalion took part in the Battle of Arleux (28-29 April), west of Vimy. Joseph was killed in action near Arleux on 28 April. His body was not recovered and his final resting place is unknown. No memorial cross was issued which suggests his mother had passed away. His father Ferdinand died in 1922 and he’s buried in the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Cemetery in Fisher Branch.
Joseph’s brother Angus Dion was called up for service in April 1918 in Winnipeg. He served in Canada for eight months but suffered from illness for most of that time. He died in The Pas, Manitoba in 1931.
Joseph is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France and on page 228 of Canada’s First World War Book of Remembrance.
By Becky Johnson