Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 17, 1895
Place of BirthHillsdale Township (Flos), Simcoe, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary Dunn, Mother, Mount Stephen, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number644104
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion157th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentColdwater, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 16, 1916
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 29, 1938
Age at Death42
Buried AtSaint John's Anglican Cemetery, Craighurst, Ontario

Dunn, Seam Hazelip

According to his attestation papers, Seam Hazelip ‘Sam’ Dunn was born on 17 December 1895 in Flos in the Hillsdale Township, Simcoe, Ontario. His father George Alexander Dunn was from Flos while his mother Mary McQuaig was from nearby Oro. The couple married on 16 May 1888 in Barrie. By the 1901 census the Dunns were farming in Matchedash, another community in the area. Children born to the family were Edna, Cecil Alexander, Sam, Ida, Mary Eva, George Earnal, and Albert Nelson. Sadly father George died of heart failure in October of 1901 and it appears that the farm may have been sold, with the girls working as domestics by the 1911 census.

Cecil was the first to enlist, signing his attestation papers with the 157th Battalion in Coldwater, Ontario in February of 1916. With occupation given as farmer and his mother Mary in Mount Stephen as next of kin, Sam enlisted in Coldwater on the 16th of March, also with the 157th. Based in Barrie, the 157th Battalion, Simcoe Foresters, began recruiting in late 1915 in Simcoe County. It was tasked with constructing a new army training camp on the Simcoe Pine Plains which was to be named Camp Borden. As such the 157th Battalion was the founding battalion of Camp Borden, which it built to accommodate 40 infantry battalions in 10 brigades.

With the 157th Battalion, Privates Sam and Cecil Dunn embarked from Halifax on 17 October 1916 aboard the SS Cameronia. Once in England both boys were transferred to the 1st Battalion. Embarking from Quebec in September of 1914, by February of 1915 the 1st Battalion was in France as reinforcement for the 4th Canadian Reserve.

Sam joined the 1st Battalion in France in late November 1916 and was appointed Lance Corporal on 29 May 1917. That September, near Lens, Sam sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the thigh, knee, and buttocks. The 1st Battalion had been rotating in and out of the front line trenches, relieving battalions and then being relieved themselves. By the 19th he had been admitted to the No 11 General Hospital Dannes, Camiers, then invalided to England ten days later and admitted to the Military Endell Street Hospital in London, known for being the only female-run hospital and specializing in head injuries and femoral fractures. In late October he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hillingdon House Hospital, Uxbridge, and then on to Woodcote Park, Epsom for a few days in November. Upon discharge Sam was posted to the 4th Reserve Battalion and was to spend the remainder of the war in Britain. He attended bombing, rifle bombing and Lewis gun training courses, and qualified as a 2nd Class bombing instructor. Assembling dummy grenades, a cap accidentally exploded and Sam’s thumb and index finger were injured. With the end of the war, Sam embarked from Liverpool on 25 March 1919 and was discharged from service in Toronto on April 6th.

Sam’s brother Cecil had sustained a gunshot wound to his left hand in early May of 1917 and was invalided to England for treatment. That November he returned to the 1st Battalion and was promoted to Corporal in September of 1918. Cecil returned to Canada aboard the Olympic in April of 1919, discharged from service on the 24th.

Sam was found listed twice on the 1921 census, first with his mother and brothers Cecil, George, and Nelson living in Midland, Ontario and working as a teamster. He was also found on the Telfer, Nipissing census where he was working as a log driver, most likely his actual residence and job. At some point he lived in Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, joining the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Working as a camp foreman north of Red Lake at Little Vermilion Lake in northwestern Ontario, Sam died on or about 29 January 1938. Succumbing to the elements, he was found deceased on nearby Crane Lake. He is interred in the Saint John’s Anglican Cemetery in Craighurst, Ontario along with his father, sister Edna (1919), and later his mother Mary (1963) and brother Nelson (1971). Sam’s grave marker gives his year of birth as 1894.

by Judy Stockham

grave marker photo courtesy of BC Butler,


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