Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 6, 1889
Place of BirthMontreal, Quebec
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMiss Maud Slater, cousin, 466 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Trade / CallingRailway fireman
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number408882
Service Record
Battalion2nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJune 9, 1915
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 11, 1945
Age at Death55
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Smith, Henry

Joseph Alexandre Lanctot was born on 6 August 1889 in Montreal, baptized in the parish church of St Vincent de Paul. His parents were Benoni/Beloni Lanctot, a day labourer, and Philomene David. Known children born to the family in Montreal were Marie Philomene Louise (1884), Alexandre, Marie Rose (1892), Joseph Benoni Leopold (1896), Marie Jeanne (abt 1898), Joseph Armand Romeo (1901), Georges Raphael (1903), Joseph Arthur (1907), and Albert (abt 1909). According to his obituary, by 1911 Alexandre had moved to Kenora to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. At some point between the 1901 census and the move to Kenora, Alexandre assumed the name of Henry Smith.

Henry enlisted with the 37th Battalion at Camp Niagara on 9 June 1915. His date and place of birth was given as 6 August 1888 in Mexico, his occupation as railroad fireman, and his next of kin later given as his cousin Maud Slater in Toronto. As a Private with the battalion he embarked from Halifax aboard the Lapland on 27 November 1915. In early February of 1916 Henry was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion, on to the 30th Battalion in June, taken on strength on 14 July. A few days later he was transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot and then was struck of strength to the 20th Battalion on 11 July for duty overseas. In January 1917 Henry was transferred to the 14th Machine Gun Company. That November he was granted a ten day leave. In March 1918 Henry was sent on course to St Pol sur Ternoise for ten days. During that time frame his unit was absorbed by the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. In late October Henry was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK, returning on 13 November. With the end of the war he returned to England in mid April of 1919, embarking for Canada aboard the Minnekahda on 14 May. Henry was discharged from service on demobilization on 25 May 1919 in Toronto. His intended residence was first given as Kenora, later changed to Toronto.

On 6 March 1923 in the parish church St Pierre-aux-Liens in St Pierre, Quebec, Henry, going by the name of Alexandre Lanctot, married widow Marie Blanche Aurore Toupin. Born on 28 June 1892 in Montreal, Blanche was the daughter of Thomas Corriveau and Marie Henedine Gaulin. She had married Conrad Toupin in 1910 in Montreal, giving birth to daughter Marie Carmelle the next year. Her husband Conrad died in 1921 in Montreal.

Henry, Blanche and Carmelle were to make Kenora their home, the couple giving birth to daughter Lucille. Over the years Henry worked as a locomotive engineer for the CPR, retiring in November of 1944. Henry was a member of Notre Dame du Portage Roman Catholic Church in Kenora, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Henry died on 11 May 1945 at his home on Seventh Avenue South in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Blanche and daughters Carmelle (George) Lang and Lucille of Kenora as well as four brothers and two sisters in Montreal. Blanche died on 3 December 1972 at the Kenora District Hospital. She was survived by daughters Carmelle (George) Lang of Kenora and Lucille (John) Stewart of Thunder Bay. Also surviving were a grandson and two great grandsons as well as a sister in Montreal. Henry and Blanche are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

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