Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 12, 1897
Place of BirthRussell Township, Russell County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinBen Eastman (father), Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number104787
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentQu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 21, 1971
Age at Death74
Buried AtVictory Memorial Park Crematorium, Surrey, British Columbia

Eastman, Peter Bolton

Private Peter Bolton Eastman enlisted in September 1915 and served with the 5th Battalion in France and Belgium. He was wounded three times – at the Somme, Vimy and Passchendaele. He served again for five years in the Second World War.

Bolton was the son of David Benjamin Eastman and Sarah Ann Bolton of South Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Benjamin and Sarah were both born in Russell County, Ontario. They were married in Winchester Township, Dundas County in 1888 and their daughter Pearl was born there in 1889. Another daughter, Eva Mary, followed in 1893. Bolton, the youngest child and only son, was born on 12 April 1897 in Russell Township, Russell County, where his father was a farmer. Bolton’s mother died in 1907 when he was ten years old and his father remarried the following year. His second wife, Mary Bolton, may have been related to Sarah.

The Eastmans were still living in Russell Township at the time of the 1911 census but they moved to Saskatchewan about a year later. They settled in South Qu’Appelle and Bolton worked on his family’s grain farm for the next three years. The war started in August 1914 and he enlisted on 21 September 1915, signing up in Regina with the 68th Battalion. The unit was mobilized at Regina and recruited in the surrounding area. The troops trained over the winter and headed to the east coast in the spring, embarking from Halifax on 28 April 1916 and landing in Liverpool on 7 May.

After just seven weeks in England Bolton was drafted to the 5th Battalion and sent to France. He arrived there on 29 June and joined his new unit in the field in late July. The Somme Offensive had started on 1 July and the Canadian Corps began moving to the Somme area late that summer. The 5th Battalion arrived in Albert on 2 September and had their first rotation in the trenches a week later. On 26-27 September they took part in the battle of Thiepval Ridge, suffering almost five hundred casualties over the two days. Bolton was one of the wounded, with a shell or bullet wound to his left arm. He was sent to a field ambulance but was out of action for only three days.

After the Somme Offensive the Canadians moved to the Lens-Arras sector, across from Vimy, where they spent the winter. Early in 1917 they began intensive training for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The 5th Battalion took part in the assault on the first day, 9 April, advancing in the middle of the line toward the village of Farbus. Bolton suffered his second wound that day when he was hit in the right hip. He was evacuated to England on the hospital ship Jan Breydel and admitted to Queen Mary’s Military Hospital in Whalley, Lancashire on 13 April. After a week there he was moved to the Woodcote Park convalescent centre where he recovered until 20 May. He was transferred to the 15th Reserve Battalion then sent back to France in early July. He rejoined the 5th Battalion in August, just as the Battle of Hill 70 was ending.

In October the Canadians began moving to the Ypres Salient for the assault on Passchendaele. Bolton’s unit arrived at Ypres on 7 November and moved into the line a few days later. Their positions were heavily shelled by German artillery on 10 November and Bolton was buried by the explosion of an artillery shell, suffering a concussion and numerous wounds. He was evacuated to No. 37 Casualty Clearing Station and from there to No. 3 Australian General Hospital. On 19 November he returned to England on the hospital ship Warilda and the following day he was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. Ten days later he was transferred to No. 13 Canadian General Hospital in Hastings.

On 19 December Bolton was discharged from the hospital and assigned to the 15th Reserve Battalion. He served in the UK for the next year. He embarked for Canada on the SS Regina on 12 December 1918, a month after the Armistice, arriving in Quebec nine days later. He was posted to the casualty company in Regina and given leave from 26 December to 9 January 1919. He was discharged on demobilization on 16 January in Regina, with his intended residence listed as Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.

Bolton was married in Winnipeg later that same year, on 4 August 1919. His wife Rose Halley was born in 1899 in Minnesota and came to Canada as a child. Her parents were Louis Halley and Anna Leroux and she had nine brothers and sisters. Her family lived in Kenora, Ontario and Bolton and his wife spent some time there. Bolton joined the Kenora branch of the Great War Veterans’ Association. He and his wife also lived in Manitoba for awhile, working on a farm, but by the mid-1920s their marriage had ended.

Some time after that Bolton moved to Calgary and found work as a roofer with J.E. Deegan and Son. He enlisted again in the Second World War, signing up in Edmonton in June 1940 with the Canadian Armoured Corps. He served in England for two years and while he was there he suffered a broken cheekbone in an accident. He returned to Canada in June 1943 and served for another two years, the last six months as a guardsman with the Veterans Guard of Canada. He settled in Calgary again after the war and worked from about 1948 to 1957 as a watchman at a grain elevator. He retired around age 60 and moved to Vancouver in 1964. He spent about 18 months back in Calgary and Edmonton before returning to Vancouver in 1969.

Over the years Bolton was in the hospital numerous times due to heart disease and problems related to his war injuries. He was admitted to Shaughnessy Veterans Hospital in Vancouver on 20 May 1971 and discharged on 1 June by his own request. He passed away at home three weeks later, on 21 June, at age 74. He is buried in Victory Memorial Park in Surrey. Rose (Mrs. Joseph Lafontaine) had remarried and she died in Victoria, British Columbia in 1953.

By Becky Johnson

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