Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 18, 1897
Place of BirthVictoria, British Columbia
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam J Lucas, father, Eagle River, Ontario
Trade / CallingBank Clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number439870
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentEagle River, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentOctober 8, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Medal
Death Details
Date of Death19740823
Age at Death77
Buried AtGarden Chapel, Calgary, Alberta

Lucas, Samuel John

Samuel John (Jack) Lucas was born on 18 September 1897 in Victoria, British Columbia. His father William Lucas was from Addington County in Ontario while his mother Mary Ellen (Nellie) Bowyer was from Oswestry, Shropshire in England. Nellie had immigrated to Canada in the 1880’s with her parents and siblings, the family settling in Dewdney, New Westminster, British Columbia. William and Nellie married on 28 September 1892 in Victoria but by the 1901 Canada census were also living in Dewdney, neighbours of Nellie’s parents. William was working as a teamster. Children born to the family in Victoria were William Herbert (1893), Victoria May (1895), Jack, and Mary Ellen (Helen) (1901). At some point before the 1911 census William, Nellie, and the children moved to northwestern Ontario, farming in the area near Eagle River. Although living on the farm, Nellie died in 1914 in nearby Dryden and is interred in the Dryden Cemetery.

With occupation given as bank clerk and his father William in Eagle River as next of kin, Jack signed his attestation papers in Dryden on 8 October 1915. Likely to appear to be older, he gave his year of birth as 1896. With recruitment throughout northwestern Ontario including Port Arthur, Kenora, Fort Frances, Fort William, and Dryden, the 52nd Battalion was organized and mobilized in Port Arthur. Along with a number of other local fellows, Private Jack Lucas trained in Port Arthur with the 52nd Battalion before embarking from Saint John, New Brunswick on 23 November 1915 aboard the California.

Once in England the battalion trained at Witley for six weeks followed by another two weeks at Bramshott before embarking for France on 20 February 1916. Just a few months later Jack earned a Military Medal:

During heavy shelling in Sanctuary Wood May 28th 1916. This man and three others were carrying out a man who had been badly wounded by a shell. They had just arrived at a spot where the trench had been blown in a few minutes before when a large howitzer shell exploded about 10 feet from them. Ptes Moore and Ede were both badly wounded in the head by this shell and all of them must have been badly shaken up by the explosion. The men however paid no attention to themselves but proceeded with the wounded man in the coolest manner possible leaving the trench through which it was difficult to take the stretcher and carried him to the open to the Maple Copse dressing station – a distance of about 500 yards.’

It appears that Jack may have lived in Kenora at some point as the local newspaper reported that he had won the medal. Jack served with the 52nd Battalion in many of the major battles of the war. He was granted three leaves during the course of his service, a ten day leave in August 1917, a fourteen day leave to the UK in January of 1918, and another fourteen day leave to the UK in late December of 1918. With the end of the hostilities, Jack returned to England in February of 1919 and embarked from Southampton for Canada aboard the SS Olympic on the 17th of March. He was discharged from service due to demobilization on March 31 in Port Arthur.

Jack gave his intended residence after the war as Dryden but by the 1921 census he was living in Arran, Saskatchewan and working as a bank clerk. At some point Jack married and he and his wife Violet gave birth to three children, Douglas Garth, Phyllis, and Helen Jocelyn. As office manager of the London Life Insurance Company for 37 years, the family lived in Brandon, Regina, and Calgary. During WW2 Jack was administration officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Brandon, Victoria, and Vancouver, holding the rank of Flight Lieutenant. For many years Jack was an elder of the Central United Church in Calgary, a member of Alberta Lodge No 1 Encampment and Patriarch’s Militant, IOOF, Calgary, and Past Grand Patriarch Grand Encampment of Saskatchewan. He was also a life member of the Life Underwriters Association of Canada. After retirement, Jack served for two years as administrator of the Morley Indian Residential School located about 60 kilometres west of Calgary.

Predeceased by his father in 1921 in Fort William, Ontario, his sister Helen Martell in 1933 in Winnipeg, and his sister Victoria Scott, Jack died on 23 August 1974 in Calgary. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Violet, son Douglas, daughters Phyllis McDougall of Campbell River in British Columbia and Jocelyn McIntyre of Regina, brother William of Thunder Bay, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Services were held at the Central United Church with cremation at the Garden Chapel (Foster Funeral Home) in Calgary.

by Judy Stockham

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