|Date of Birth||January 24, 1873|
|Place of Birth||Allumette Island, Pontiac County, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Julia Bois (sister), Kenora, Ontario; also Olive Lalonde (daughter), Whitemouth, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||December 27, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||42|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 21, 1927|
|Age at Death||54|
|Buried At||Whitemouth, Manitoba|
Private Frank Lalonde was a widower with four young children when he enlisted in December 1915 at age 42. He served for three years in Canada, the UK and France.
Frank was born on 24 January 1873 on Allumette Island in Pontiac County, Quebec. He was baptized two months later in the mission church at Chapeau, on the north side of the island. His birth name was Francis Laronde and his parents were Louis Laronde and Catherine McGuire. Louis and Catherine were both born in Pontiac County. They were married in 1870 in the nearby town of Pembroke, Ontario. Frank was the second of at least ten children including his younger sister Julia. He lived with his family on Allumette Island until the early 1890s, working with his father on the family farm.
Sometime before 1895 Frank moved to the village of Whitemouth in eastern Manitoba. He was married in Winnipeg on 4 September 1900, at age 27. His wife, Mabel Josephine Anderson, was born in May 1881 in Ontario, the daughter of James Anderson and Hannah Eaton. Frank and his wife made their home in Whitemouth and at the time of the 1901 census they were living near Mabel’s parents and Frank was working as a day labourer. Over the next seven years they had four children: Orville Ferguson, Mabel Olive, Whitmore Frank and Cecil James. When the 1911 census was taken they were living in Sinclair Village, southwest of Brandon, and Frank was farming. Sadly his wife died in January 1912 and she’s buried in Whitemouth Old Municipal Cemetery, also known as Beaver Creek Cemetery.
Frank was 41 years old when the war started and he enlisted the following winter, signing up on 27 December 1915 in Winnipeg. His sister Julia was married and living in Kenora with her husband Louis Bois and Frank listed Kenora as his address. His children were living in Whitemouth with their grandparents, the Andersons. Frank said he was a farmer and he passed himself off as 38 years old but he was actually 42. In April he had served for two weeks with the 44th (Manitoba) Battalion (reg. no. A23057) and this time he enlisted with the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers). His unit trained in Winnipeg over the winter and headed overseas in the spring, embarking from Halifax on the Empress of Britain on 20 May and landing at Liverpool ten days later.
The 78th Battalion was sent to France in August, becoming part of the 12th Brigade in the new 4th Canadian Division. That fall the Canadians were at the Battle of the Somme and afterwards they moved north to the Arras area, across from Vimy. Frank was sent on a cooking course in February 1917. In April the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge then stayed in the area holding the new front line. Frank developed an abscess on his neck and he was sent to No. 3 Canadian General Hospital on 1 May. Two days later he was evacuated to England and admitted to the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where he stayed until 13 June. From there he was moved to the convalescent centre at Epsom and on 18 July he was well enough to be discharged to duty.
Frank was assigned to the 11th Reserve Battalion and he served in the UK for the rest of the war. From 6 September to 3 October he was a patient at West Cliff (Westcliffe) Canadian Eye and Ear Hospital, due to a nasal obstruction, and during that time he was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion. In March 1918 he was ill with influenza and he spent a week in No. 11 Canadian General Hospital in Shorncliffe. He became ill again in September (vdg) and he was in the hospital for two months. About four weeks after the Armistice Frank was on his way home, embarking from Southampton on the SS Olympic and arriving in Halifax on 14 December. He was given two weeks landing leave and he was discharged on demobilization on 15 January 1919 in Winnipeg.
Frank returned to Whitemouth after the war but he lived for only another eight years. He passed away in the Winnipeg General Hospital on 21 February 1927, at age 54, and he’s buried in the cemetery in Whitemouth.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo courtesy of VJT on findagrave.com.