|Date of Birth||January 13, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire|
|Force||British Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Royal Field Artillery|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Date of Death||May 2, 1968|
|Age at Death||72|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
William Dykes Loudon was born on 13 January 1896 in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire in Scotland. His father John Loudon, a cheese merchant, was from Strathaven in Lanarkshire. In 1869 he had married his first wife, Grace Peat and together in Strathaven gave birth to children Mary Goole (1869-1945), Gavin (1871-1878), Maggie Dykes (1873), Grace Peat (1875-1903), James Peat (1877-1963), Gavin (1879-1897), and John (1881-1948). Moving to Lesmahagow, daughter Eliza was born in 1887 but died in 1888. Sadly, John’s wife Grace had passed away in September of 1887. In April of 1890, in nearby Glassford, John married Gertrude Shaw, a native of the Isle of Man. Children born to Gertrude and John in Lesmahagow were Thomas Shaw (1891-1901), Gertrude Mary Catherine (Kitty) (1892-1956), Elizabeth Cochrane (1893-1976), William, Gavin Morton (1899-1980), Henry Shaw (Harry) (1902-1980), and Hugh Morton (1905).
Although a service record was not available, by most accounts William enlisted early in the war with the 17th Division of the Royal Field Artillery. According to his later medals index card, as a 2nd Lieutenant he arrived in France in July of 1915. As published in the 24 July 1917 edition of the London Gazette, William was awarded the Military Cross: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When acting as F.O.O. he went forward on several occasions under heavy fire and ascertained the position of our own troops and of the enemy.” He was discharged from service in 1919, rank of Lieutenant.
William immigrated to Canada in 1928, arriving in Halifax aboard the Ascania on 23 March. The passenger list indicated that he was a provision salesman and that he was on his way to a meat packing house business in Toronto. On 5 January 1932, in Callander, Ontario, William married Kathleen Victoria Rousseau. At the time of the marriage both were living in nearby Ferris where William was working as a manager and Kathleen as a school teacher. Born on 8 September 1906 in Nipissing Junction on the outskirts of North Bay, Ontario, Kathleen was the daughter of Placide Rousseau, a farmer and sawyer, and Hattie Richardson. Her parents had married in 1899 in North Bay.
Moving to Geraldton, Ontario, William operated the Loudon Brothers Bottling and Wholesale, likely with his brother Hugh who had immigrated to Canada in 1924. Selling the company around 1952, the family moved to Kenora, Ontario, running a tourist camp on Rabbit Lake called Edgewater Beach. Children born to the couple were sons Kenneth and Donald and daughters Marilyn and Janet. William was a member of the Canadian Legion both in Geraldton and in Kenora.
William died on 2 May 1968 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Kathleen, sons Kenneth and Donald of Kenora, daughter Marilyn of Kenora, and daughter Janet Gauthier of Ottawa, Ontario. He was also survived by one grandchild as well as siblings Morton in Scotland, Harry in London, England, Hugh of Sunridge, Ontario, and Elizabeth of Surrey in England. Kathleen later died on 3 November 1996 followed by Marilyn in 2014, Kenneth in 2017, and Donald in 2019, all in Kenora. William and Kathleen are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham
Portrait of William as found on Canada Veterans Hall of Valour
Years of death for William’s siblings are incorrect in his obituary.