|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
|Lac Seul Indian Reserve, Ontario
|Next of Kin
|Annie Lands (wife), Wabigoon Indian Reserve, Wabigoon, Ontario
|Trade / Calling
|Trapper and hunter
|Link to Service Record
|Canadian Expeditionary Force
|Enlisted / Conscripted
|Address at Enlistment
|Lac Seul Indian Reserve, Ontario
|Date of Enlistment
|July 27, 1916
|Age at Enlistment
|Theatre of Service
|Prisoner of War
|Date of Death
|January 11, 1949
|Age at Death
|First Nations cemetery, McIntosh, Ontario
Private Edward Lands (aka Edward Land) enlisted in 1916 and served overseas for about two years. He was wounded at Ypres and returned to Canada in May 1919.
According to his attestation and his service file, Edward was born around 1890 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 Marie Annie had one daughter, Mary, born about 1916.
Edward first enlisted in Dryden on 28 March 1916, signing up with the 94th Battalion (reg. no. 199214). 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 Annie in Wabigoon, Ontario. Edward 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.
Edward re-enlisted on 26 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. Most of the recruits were absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. On 8 September Edward was drafted to a front line unit, the 44th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field near the end of the month.
By early October the Canadians were preparing for the assault on Passchendaele. The 44th Battalion moved to Ypres on 21 October and spent a few days getting their camp in order. On 25 October they relieved another battalion in the support line. Edward was one of the casualties on 24 or 25 October when he was gassed and wounded in the head by a shell fragment. He was admitted to No. 11 General Hospital on 26 October and evacuated from there to England. He spent the first three weeks of November recovering at the War Hospital in Exeter followed by three months at several convalescent hospitals.
Edward was discharged to duty on 27 February 1918 and back in France a month later. He rejoined the 44th Battalion in the field on 3 April but a few days later he reported sick with gastritis. He was on duty again after a week but at the end of April he became ill. On 3 May he was taken to a casualty clearing station suffering from hematemesis. He was evacuated to England where he was admitted to the Military Hospital in Edmonton on 8 May and diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. A medical report stated that his parents had both died around age 50 and two sisters and three brothers had also died, one boy as an infant. Two other brothers were in service, one in France and the other invalided home due to illness.
Edward recovered until March 1919 at the General Hospital in Basingstoke, the Canadian Special Hospital in Lenham and two convalescent centres. He was discharged to duty on 19 March and attached to the 18th Reserve Battalion. Two months later he was on his way home, sailing on the SS Regina on 20 May and arriving at Halifax about nine days later. He was discharged on 2 June in Port Arthur. Two other young men from Lac Seul, George Lands and David Lands, also enlisted with the 141st Battalion and served overseas and were most likely Edward’s brothers.
When the 1921 census was taken Edward and Annie Marie were living at the Lac Seul Reserve and they had two children, Little Rabbit, age 5, and Alice, age 6 months. Edward was a trapper at the time. He and his wife, usually known as Marie, were married in Kenora on 12 October 1933, as noted in his veteran’s pension file. Marie’s birth was confirmed as being in 1891 in Wabigoon, Ontario. The source for the information was the records of St. Mary’s Residential School in Kenora.
Edward and his wife settled on the Lac Seul Reserve near McIntosh, Ontario, living in a cabin in the winter and a tent in the summer. He worked as a guide and trapper and Marie supplemented their income by picking blueberries to sell. Edward passed away in McIntosh on 11 January 1949 and he was buried the next day in the First Nations cemetery there. On his veteran death card next of kin is recorded as his wife Mrs. Marie Lands of 258 Lac Seul Band, McIntosh. At the time they had two children still at home, a son age 17 and a daughter age 14.
After being widowed Marie lived in several places in northwestern Ontario including McIntosh, Quibell, Eagle River and Vermillion Bay. She passed away in Dryden on 6 July 1978 and her residence at the time was Quibell.
Edward is 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