Sunday, 6 November 2016

Sunday November 6th, 2016 World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) supports and provides access to information for those who are interested in researching World War One. Visit the World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project ( to read council minutes (courtesy of City of Thunder Bay Archives), newspaper extracts, death notices, obituaries and soldiers letters for the period 1914 – 1918. These resources provide a very full and human picture of the impact of World War One on the local community. It is fascinating to learn about what was happening in the City and on the Western Front 100 years ago. 

On the Home Front, the Port Arthur City Council formed a committee with the goal of securing quarters for a battalion to be stationed in Fort William during the winter months. A letter of assurance was sent to Col. Little indicating that provisions were being made for their accommodations. Council received a letter from B.J. Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the British Red Cross regarding a Red Cross appeal. Council granted a request made by the 141st Battalion to provide light and phone services for the battalion’s mess located at 309 Dufferin St. Council authorized the purchase of $25,000 worth of British War bonds, maturing in 1921. 

The Port Arthur News Chronicle reported that recruitment continued in the Lakehead. The Canadian Army Service Corps required chauffeurs, machinists, teamsters, clerks, warehouse men, bakers, farriers, butchers, wheelers and saddlers. The 242nd Forestry Battalion sought two sawyers for immediate overseas service. The 212th American Legion Battalion also continued to recruit. 

The Chronicle also reported that Colonel Carrick came home after visiting the troops in action and described the conditions at the front and the wonderful work being done by the allies. He explored dugouts and other positions taken by the enemy and marvelled at the efficiency developed by the British in the last year. He said the Canadians were confident of ultimate victory. 

The Fort William Daily Times Journal noted that Captain Guinness, travelling throughout Canada, arrived in the Lakehead to promote the recruitment for the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve. With speaking engagements at the Victorian Hotel and Lyceum Theatre, Guinness spoke at length of naval life and the British and Canadian need for enlistments with the naval reserve. 

On the Western Front, the Battle of Ancre Heights and the Battle of Transloy Ridges began on the Somme. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions attacked Regina Trench. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion suffered a number of casualties, including six men from Port Arthur and Fort William.

Thomas Whittaker (born England 1887) was a carpenter who enlisted in April 1915 and is remembered at Albert Communal Cemetery Extension and at the Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, Port Arthur. Norman Fleet (born England 1892) was a clerk who enlisted in September 1915 and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial. 

Charles Teddiman (born England 1897) was a teamster who enlisted in March 1916 and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial and at St Paul’s United Church, Port Arthur. 
Harry Gray (born England 1887) was a butcher who enlisted in May 1915. He received a severe wound to the head and left leg in June 1916. He died of his wounds at No. 10 General Hospital and is remembered at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen. 

Thomas Ringrose (born England 1889) was a teamster who enlisted in September 1915 and is remembered at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park and at St Paul’s United Church, Port Arthur.  James Deagle (born Port Arthur 1883) was a teamster who enlisted in March 1915 and is remembered at Maroeuil British Cemetery and at St Andrews Roman Catholic Church, Thunder Bay.

If you have any information, family history, anecdotes, stories, photographs, diaries or artifacts relating to World War One, we would like to hear from you; please feel free to send an email to

John Pateman  

No comments: