Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 10, 1891
Place of BirthShoal Lake, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinChief Redsky (father), Shoal Lake, Ontario
Trade / CallingLabourer
Service Details
Regimental Number820905
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJuly 11, 1916
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 9, 1942

Redsky, Edward

Private Edward Redsky enlisted in July 1916 and served for three years in Canada, the UK, France and Belgium. He was wounded at the Battle of Hill 70 but he survived the war and returned home in August 1919.

Edward was the son of Chief Redsky (Miskokesik) and Endopeek of Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Chief Redsky and his wife had at least seven sons and five daughters including Edith, Kathleen, Edward (Ogema-winni), James (Esquakesik), Herbert, Alex and Peter.

Edward and his brother James both enlisted in the summer of 1916, as the war was entering its third year. Edward signed up in the neighbouring town of Kenora on 11 July 1916, joining the 141st “Bull Moose” Battalion. James had joined the same unit two weeks earlier. Edward said he was a labourer, born on 10 June 1891 in Shoal Lake and next of kin was his father Chief Redsky. He was married and he and his wife Nancy had an infant daughter, Lila. Edward and James likely left for Port Arthur on 1 August with the rest of the Kenora detachment. The battalion trained in Port Arthur over the winter then headed east on 21 April 1917, embarking from Halifax a week later on the SS Olympic. They arrived in Liverpool on 7 May and Edward was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion the same day.

Near the end of June Edward was posted to the 52nd Battalion and sent to France. Late that summer the Canadians took part in the Battle of Hill 70 (15-25 August 1917). Edward was one of the casualties on the first day, suffering shell gas poisoning. After a short time in a Canadian field ambulance he was evacuated to England and admitted to Endell Street Military Hospital in London on 19 August. The hospital was unique in that it was the only British army hospital staffed and run entirely by women, including all the doctors. On 24 August Edward was transferred to the Uxbridge convalescent centre and about four weeks later he was discharged to duty. However on 24 September he was admitted to the hospital at Etchinghill for treatment of vd and he spent about three months there.

After his recovery Edward was kept in the UK for another three months. At the end of March 1918 he was sent back to France and he rejoined the 52nd Battalion in the field. Over the summer the Canadians were given several weeks of training in open warfare. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, started on 8 August and the Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months. The Armistice ended hostilities on 11 November and the 52nd Battalion stayed in Belgium until February 1919. On 1 February Edward was admitted to No. 51 Casualty Clearing Station due to an infection in his knee. He was transferred to No. 20 General Hospital in Camiers then evacuated to England, where he received treatment at the 1st Birmingham Hospital in Rednal until late in March. Afterwards he spent another four months in the UK. He sailed from Glasgow on 25 July on the SS Saturnia, arriving in Montreal ten days later. He was discharged on 9 August in Winnipeg. His brother James also served in France and Belgium with the 52nd Battalion and he returned to Canada in January 1919.

When the 1921 census was taken Edward was living at Shoal Lake with his wife Nancy, their daughter Lila, age 5, and a son Norman, age 3. He was a labourer in a lumber camp at the time. Sadly Edward was missing and assumed drowned on 9 April 1942. According to an article in the Kenora Miner and News, he left Kenora in a canoe that day along with a friend Charlie Williamson. Their canoe was found three days later but there was no trace of the two men. Both were from the Poplar Bay Reserve. Edward was survived by his wife and two children as well as four brothers and three sisters.

Edward and James are commemorated on the Anishinaabe Veteran Heroes plaque in Kenora and on the Aboriginal War Veterans Tribute list found here.

By Becky Johnson