|Date of Birth||1880-1882|
|Place of Birth||Lac Seul Indian Reserve, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Eliza Lands (wife), Wabigoon Indian Reserve, Wabigoon, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Trapper and hunter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Lac Seul Indian Reserve, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||July 27, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||about 36|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 28, 1955|
|Age at Death||about 75|
Private David Lands (aka David Land) enlisted in 1916 and served overseas in Great Britain and France. He was invalided to Canada due to illness in February 1918.
According to his attestation and his service file, David was born between 1880 and 1882 at Lac Seul Reserve, a First Nations community located north of the town of Dryden, Ontario. He grew up in the Lac Seul area and worked as a hunter and trapper. By the time he enlisted he was married and he and his wife Eliza had three daughters, Mary, Elizabeth and Annie.
David first enlisted in Dryden on 28 March 1916, signing up with the 94th Battalion (reg. no. 199213). After just a few days he was discharged as ‘not likely to become an efficient soldier.’ He enlisted again that summer, signing up with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion on 27 July in Dryden. His occupation was hunter and next of kin was his wife Eliza in Wabigoon, Ontario. David trained with his unit for a few weeks but he was absent without leave for three weeks in September and again starting on 17 October. He was discharged as a deserter on 22 November.
David re-enlisted on 25 January 1917 in Port Arthur, where the 141st Battalion was training. His unit left for the east coast that spring, embarking from Halifax on 28 April on the SS Olympic and arriving in England about nine days later. The recruits were absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. On 21 June David was drafted to a front line unit, the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field in mid-July. The 52nd Battalion had been recruited in northwestern Ontario including the towns of Kenora and Dryden.
By early August the Canadians were preparing for the assault on Hill 70, near the city of Lens in France. David suffered mild gas poisoning from an artillery shell and he was admitted to No. 3 Australian General Hospital in Abbeville on 16 August. A week later he was moved to a convalescent depot. He was discharged to duty on 15 September but just three days later he was back in the hospital, this time at No. 7 Canadian General in Etaples. He was ill, possibly with tuberculosis, and was invalided to England for medical treatment.
David spent three weeks at Old Park Hospital in Canterbury and on 16 October he was moved to the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington. He was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and a medical report stated that his parents and two sisters had all died of tuberculosis. On 6 February 1918 he was transferred to No. 5 General Hospital in Liverpool to await his return to Canada. He sailed on 16 February on the hospital ship Llandovery Castle, arriving in Nova Scotia on 1 March.
On 15 March David was admitted to the Ninette Sanatorium in Ninette, Manitoba. He responded well to treatment and three months later he was given leave pending his discharge. He was discharged on 22 June due to being medically unfit for further war service and his intended residence was the Wabigoon Reserve. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Two other young men from Lac Seul, Edward Lands and George Lands, were most likely David’s brothers and they also enlisted with the 141st Battalion and served overseas.
After the war David lived at Wabigoon, Eagle River and Lac Seul. He had at least two more children, Paul (ca1919) and Lucy (1920). When the 1921 census was taken the family was living in Lac Seul and David was listed as 36 years old and a trapper. Sadly, both Annie and Lucy died of tuberculosis in 1927 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. They are buried in the cemetery at St. Mary’s Residential School in Kenora.
David passed away on 28 August 1955, as noted on his veteran death card and in his service file. His place of death and burial are not recorded. He’s commemorated on the Anishinaabe Veteran Heroes plaque at Ne-Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora and on the Aboriginal Veterans Tribute Honour list here.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the Victory Medal.