Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 13, 1897
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Antoine Lauzon (mother), Pinewood, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number198677
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion7th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentPinewood, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 1, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 27, 1965
Age at Death67

Lauzon, Emile

Private Emile Lauzon enlisted in January 1916, at age 18, and served in France and Belgium with the 7th Battalion. He returned to Canada in May 1919.

Emile was the son of Antoine Lauzon and Flavie Ducharme of Pinewood, Ontario. Antoine and Flavie were married on 1 January 1887 in Marieval, Saskatchewan. Their son Antoine Napoleon was born in October 1887 in St. Boniface, Manitoba. Not long after that they moved to the town of Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario and they had at least six more children: Joseph Emilien (1890), Flavie Alexina (1892), Marie (1896), Emilien/Emile (1897), Sybil and Joseph Hylas Albert (1910). Sadly, Joseph Emilien and Flavie Alexina both died at age one and Marie at age four days.

Emile was born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) on 13 August 1897. He was baptized (as Emilien) on 25 August 1897 at Notre Dame du Portage Roman Catholic Church, with his father recorded as Antoine Rozon alias Lauzon. When the 1901 census was taken the family was living in Rat Portage and Antoine was a butcher. By 1910 they had moved to the Pinewood area in Dilke Township, District of Rainy River, where they took up farming.

The war entered its second year in August 1915 and Emile enlisted that winter, signing up in Pinewood on 1 January 1916 with the 94th Battalion. He was 18 years old and a farmer. The 94th Battalion was based in Port Arthur and recruited in towns throughout northwestern Ontario. The recruits were sent to Port Arthur in May 1916 and they left for Quebec on 9 June. The troops spent a short time at the military camp in Valcartier before embarking for England on the SS Olympic on 28 June. They arrived in Liverpool on 6 July and Antoine was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion. He trained with them for two months.

On 10 September Emile was drafted to a front line unit, the 7th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field in early October, during the Battle of the Somme. The Canadians suffered heavy casualties during the Somme Offensive and afterwards they moved north to the Vimy area. In 1917 they took part in the Battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele. A few days after the Battle of Passchendaele ended Emile was given two weeks leave. Over the winter of 1917-18 the Canadian Corps held a long stretch of the front line near Arras. They worked on strengthening their defences and carried out raids on the enemy lines.

In early May 1918 Emile reported sick and he was sent to a field ambulance then transferred to No. 7 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples. He had a fever and possible influenza. He recovered for a month in the hospital and five weeks at a convalescent depot in Trouville and was discharged to base duty on 12 July. That same day he was sentenced to a week of Field Punishment No. 2 for ‘being in possession of good purchased in a Canteen with intent to dispose of same to civilians.’ He rejoined the 7th Battalion in early September for the final two months of the war. He was attached to the Traffic Control Corps for six weeks starting on 1 October. He rejoined his unit a few days after the Armistice and at the end of December he had two weeks leave.

Emile was admitted to a casualty clearing station on 23 January 1919 then moved to No. 7 General Hospital in Wimereux and from there to No. 14 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne. He had contracted herpes and in mid-February he was evacuated to England on the hospital ship Jan Breydel. He received treatment at the Red Cross Hospital in Bexhill and the Canadian Special Hospital in Etchinghill. Emile was discharged to duty on 5 March and on his way home two months later. He embarked from Glasgow on 2 May on the SS Cassandra and arrived in Quebec about ten days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 15 May in Port Arthur. His brother Antoine Napoleon Lauzon had enlisted in May 1916. He was wounded in the last weeks of the war and spent a year recovering in hospitals.

Emile was living at home on the family farm when the 1921 census was taken. In May 1925 his future wife, Myrtle Carolyn Skaalrud, immigrated to Canada from the U.S. Myrtle was the daughter of Oscar and Clara Skaalrud. She was born in McIntosh, Polk County, Minnesota on 24 November 1905 and she was the oldest of twelve children. Her family settled in Clair, Saskatchewan, northeast of Regina, and took up farming.

After Emile and Myrtle were married they farmed in the Pinewood area and they had one son, Gerald. Emile was still farming when the federal voters lists were compiled in the spring of 1963. He passed away at the Red Cross Hospital in Rainy River on 27 June 1965, at age 67. In her later years Myrtle lived at the Rainy River Long Term Care Facility. She died in the Rainy River Hospital on 23 August 2011, at age 105.

By Becky Johnson

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