Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAbout 1892 or 1893
Place of BirthShoal Lake, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinCharles Ogemah (father), Shoal Lake, Ontario
Trade / CallingTrapper and surveyor's chainman
Service Details
Regimental Number820904
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion8th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentShoal Lake, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJuly 11, 1916
Age at EnlistmentAbout 23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 2, 1921
Age at DeathAbout 28
Buried AtCemetery at Shoal Lake #39 First Nation

Ogemah, Grant

Private Grant Ogemah enlisted in July 1916 and served in France and Belgium with the 44th and 8th Battalions. He was invalided back to Canada in September 1918 due to illness and he passed away three years later.

Grant was Ojibway and a member of Shoal Lake #39 First Nation in northwestern Ontario. He was the son of Charles Ogemah and he was born at Shoal Lake around 1892 or 1893. He worked as a trapper and surveyor’s chainman. He was living at Shoal Lake when he enlisted in the summer of 1916. He signed up in the nearby town of Kenora on 11 July, joining the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. Several other local Ojibway lads joined the same unit, which was being recruited in the Rainy River district of northwestern Ontario. In August 1916 the Kenora volunteers were sent to Port Arthur for training. The battalion left for Halifax in April 1917, on the first leg of their journey overseas. They embarked for the UK on 28 April on the SS Olympic, arriving in Liverpool about a week later. Most of the recruits were absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units.

Grant spent four months with the 18th Reserve Battalion and on 8 September he was drafted to a front line unit, the 44th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field near the end of the month. In October the Canadian Corps moved to the Ypres Salient in Belgium for the Battle of Passchendaele. Artillery shells and heavy rains had turned the battlefield into a wasteland of mud, swamp and water-filled shell holes. The Canadians suffered 15,000 casualties at Passchendaele with many of the missing and dead lost in the mud. The battle ended on 10 November and afterwards the Canadians returned to a quieter sector of the front line near Arras.

On 28 November Grant was transferred to the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles). In late February 1918 he reported ill, suffering from swelling in his neck. On 4 March he was admitted to No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station and a few days later he was moved to No. 24 General Hospital in Etaples. From there he was evacuated to England and admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham on 19 March. He was diagnosed with cervical adenitis (tubercular) and transferred to No. 16 General Hospital in Orpington a month later. He spent two months there followed by three months at the Special Hospital (tubercular) in Lenham. A medical report recommended that he be invalided to Canada for further treatment.

Grant embarked on HMT Neuralia in September 1918 and he was admitted to the Manitoba Military Hospital in Winnipeg on 5 October. He was discharged to the Invalid Soldier’s Commission two weeks later, on 19 October, due to being medically unfit for further service. He was entitled to wear one gold stripe and he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His character was described as very good and his intended residence was Shoal Lake.

Grant passed away at Shoal Lake on 2 October 1921. The cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis and he’s buried in the First Nation cemetery at Shoal Lake, located on a point near Snowshoe Bay. Grant 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


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