|Date of Birth||February 2, 1889|
|Place of Birth||Norman, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Kate LaTour, mother, 610 East 14th Street, Duluth, Minnesota, USA|
|Trade / Calling||Railway construction engine helper|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||3rd Battalion, CRT|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||610 East 14th Street, Duluth, Minnesota, USA|
|Date of Enlistment||February 6, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 10, 1950|
|Age at Death||62|
|Buried At||Forest Hill Cemetery, Duluth, Minnesota, USA|
|Plot||Section J, 4, 2, 6|
John Joseph LaTour was born on 2 February of 1889 in the village of Norman a few kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. His father Joseph LaTour was from Quebec while his mother Catherine (Kate) McIntyre was from Scotland. The couple likely married around 1883-84 in North Dakota, with son Peter Joseph born in July of 1885 in Neche, a small community very near the Manitoba/North Dakota border. By the birth of their next child in 1886, daughter Laura, the family had moved to Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario (later renamed Kenora) where Joseph found work as a mill hand. Following John’s birth the family moved to Duluth, St Louis, Minnesota where children David (1891), Charles (1894), and William (1899) were born. Over the years Joseph’s occupation was given as labourer on the censuses.
Although living in Duluth and having previously signed his WW1 US Draft Registration card, John enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 6 February 1918. His occupation was given as railway construction engine helper, and his mother Kate in Duluth as next of kin. Previous military service was given as three years with the US Naval Militia. John embarked from Halifax aboard the Melita on 28 April 1918, taken on strength at the Canadian Railway Troops Depot in Purfleet upon arrival in England. He arrived in France on 7 July, joining the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops in the field. Canadian railway units played a major role in the construction and maintenance of railways of all gauges, including light railways, for the five British Army areas in France and Belgium.
With the end of the war John returned to England in early January of 1919. He was admitted to the Canadian Special Hospital at Witley in early February for six weeks. John embarked for Canada aboard the Belgic on 16 April and was discharged from service on the 27th in Winnipeg.
At least two of John’s brothers served during the war, both David and Charles with the US 125th Field Artillery. David died in 1956 and is interred in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth while Charles died in 1957 and is interred in the Oneota Cemetery, also in Duluth. Both have military gravemarkers commemorating their service. John’s brother Peter signed a US Draft registration card but it is unknown if he served during the war.
John returned to Duluth after discharge where all of his family were still living. The 1930 census found him living with his brother David just outside of Duluth, working as a labourer at odd jobs. In 1942 he signed his WW2 Draft Registration card. Never marrying, John died on 10 January 1950 in the Miller Hospital in Duluth. At the time of his death his usual occupation was given as woodsman. John is interred in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth.
By Judy Stockham
John’s grave marker was installed in the Forest Hill Cemetery in 2018, provided by the Last Post Fund.
Grave marker photograph by J Huntley.