This page is devoted to the men from P.E.I. that fought in the great wars, and to their families and descendants. One of the items planned for this page, is the posting of obituaries for those who fought, and in all too many cases gave their lives. Anyone wishing to post an obituary on this page, please send it to Dave Hunter - firstname.lastname@example.org . It is hoped that we will eventually be able to salute a significant number of P.E.I.'s brave.
This will not be limited to those lost in The Boer War, World War One and Two, but to those lost in all conflicts, even back to the Civil War, and to those veterans who survived their ordeal and who have passed away since. Please include their rank and unit, and place of death if at all possible. We hope to make this a fitting salute to our loved ones.
All obituaries will be posted to this page with credit to the family members who submit them. If anyone has a photo representative of any of the Wars Islander's were involved in, I would very much appreciate a copy so that it might be included with this page. This is your page, and to make it work, I will need your help and submissions.
"The greatness of any nation is in the spirit of its people. So it always has been since History began. So shall it be with all of us."
-- King George VI, 1942 Christmas Message.
And so it is still...
Prince Edward Islanders have fought bravely in many wars, distinguishing themselves through their bravery and self sacrifice. As early as the American Civil War, Islanders fought on both sides, often battling other Islanders fighting on the other side - a harsh reality created by the need to support their families on the small pay they were promised for their services.
As early as 1777, a company of soldiers was raised to defend P.E.I. In 1780, a law was passed requiring every man between the ages of 16 and 60 to be mustered, and in 1794, the Prince Edward Island Fencibles were formed. In the year 1833, the Military Act was amended to reform the Military into battalions, regiments, and companies. In 1859, Capt. Neil Rankin's City Guards were disbanded and volunteer corps were formed to meet any threatened invasion. By the end of 1860, 20 volunteer companies were formed, and trained.
In 1883, two companies from P.E.I. were mobilized as a precaution during the Riel Rebellion. These companies never saw action.
With the outbreak of the South African (Boer) War in 1899 members of several companies of Militia left P.E.I. - the 82nd Regiment, Charlottetown Engineers Company, and members of the Fourth Regiment Canadian Artillery to serve. A second contingent of the Canadian Mounted Rifles, the 82nd Queen's County Militia, more of the Charlottetown Engineers, the VIII Field Hospital, Fourth Regiment, 82nd Regiment, and members of many other Regiments rose to the call.
At the outbreak of World War One, and again in World War Two, Islander's again saw the call, followed by the Korean War, and the Middle East War, and Islander's have distinguished themselves in United Nations peacekeeping efforts throughought the world since its formation.
We must remember also the men of the Merchant Marine, who's bravery often went unsung. We can be proud of all who served in these efforts, and as this page grows, we will try to bring you more information on the individuals, and the battles they fought. I will welcome all submissions in keeping with this theme in the form of diaries, details of battles Islanders were involved in, and anything else suitable...
"The following song composed by Rev. G. C. Taylor, is now very popular with the soldiers. It was sung with great zest by the boys, to band accompaniment on the trip to and from the Prince County meeting on Friday evening."
The first of the soldiers who left here with the 98th Seige Battery to meet death on the battlefield, is Gunner Walter Lantz.
His father, Mr. Theodore J. Lantz, formerly of the Marine Service, has received a despatch announcing that his son, Gunner Lantz, was killed in action on July the 12th. No further particulars have yet come to hand.
Gunner Lantz joined the Battery some months before its departure in September. He was twenty-four years of age and besides his parents, one sister, Florence, and a brother Joe, are left of the family.
He was an admirable young man in every respect, and was most affectionately regarded, and much admired by all who knew him from his boyhood up to the threshold of his manhood. His comrades will be greatly grieved over this sad event but they, with our people, will feel that he has died a soldier's death - serving his God, his King and his country.
Thus, another of our dauntless Island sons has made the great sacrifice. Fitting tablets and monuments, after the war is over, will record their heroism and their patriotism.
To the grief-stricken parents, and family, we can only extend the profound sympathy of the whole community.
Thousands of parents in our province to-day have given their sons to the battle and they will all feel for, and share the grief of the inmates of the sorrow-stricken household.
Nothing too good can be said of the late Gunner Walter Lantz. He was a clever, energetic, splendid young man, and gallant soldier. He lies on the blood-stained fields of France, but his memory will be kept green in the hearts of his family, his comrades, his relatives, and the people generally, and his name should be inscribed upon the Roll of Honor of all the brave Island boys who fall in the world's greatest conflict.
Gunner Vernon Bourke, also of the 98th, is reported wounded. Gunner Bourke is a son of Mr. Patrick Bourke, of Charlottetown.
Imagine being a parent who received the following letter about your child who died in a far off land. We can all be thankful for the many men like Walter, and can share their family's pain even so many years later...
The Commanding Officer's Tribute To Late Gunner Walter J. Lantz:
Mr. Theodore Lantz of this City received on Saturday night the following letter from Major Prowse of the 98th Siege Battery telling of the death of his son, previously reported killed in action:
O. C. 98th Canadian Siege Battery,
C.E.F., C\o Army Post Office.,
London Eng. ,
July 13th, 1916.
To Mr. Theodore Lantz,
Dear Mr. Lantz,
It is with most heartfelt sorrow that I write to you regarding the death of your son Walter, who was killed this afternoon at 12.05 o'clock. An enemy shell, High Explosive, burst quite close to him where he was eating his dinner with seven other men, a piece of which hit him exactly in the middle of the forehead; he died instantly, falling into the arms of his comrade Pope Beer.
We prepared a casket for him from the rough materials at hand and his comrades carried him about 1 1\2 miles to a pretty little cemetery near a village, the name of which I will tell you later. A Church of England Minister named S.M. Morgan of the 64th Infantry Bridgade performed the last ceremony and after the grave was filled in the boys placed flowers all over it. We put a cross at the head on which the following inscription was painted:
92921-Gr. W.J. Lantz, 98th C.S.B. Killed in Action, July 12th, 1916.
Above the inscription we put the ensign of the Masons, also that of the Shriners. It was with very sad hearts indeed that we watched his body being lowered into the grave.
I was going to say that he was the best man in the Battery, but I have so many good men that it is very hard to be the best, but he certainly was one of the very few best.
He being Mr. Hooper's Assistant his duties took him into many dangers through which he passed without a scratch and it seems doubly hard that he should be killed practically by accident, as it was only a matter of the odd shell coming in at the moment when it would do the most damage.
We have been six weeks under fire during which time hundreds of hair breadth escapes have occurred, but to-day is the first real casualties we have had, and that they were so fatal makes it harder to bear, but there is one thing Mr. Lantz I want you always to remember "this boy lived a man's life since he came to me, and he died a man's death," what more can we ask ?
May God bless you and your family and help you in your dark hour of trial is the sincere wish of all your friends here.
To Mr. Theodore Lantz,
W.B. Prowse, Major.
Commanding 98th Canadian Siege Battery.
(These articles on Gunner Walter J. Lance from the collection of Donna Collings - text is as in clipping - no date - no name of newspaper.)
Coffin Douglas Killed in Action
Sometime ago it was announced that G.N. Coffin Douglas, brother of Mr. Lester Douglas, of this city, had been killed in action.
Particulars of how this gallant soldier met his death have been received from his commanding officer, Col. Martin, by his mother Mrs. Emma L. Douglas , Head of Hillsborough, in the following letter: -
In the Field, April 26th, 1917.
From the O.C. 7th Btn. Can. Ry. Troops, France
To Mrs. Emma L. Douglas
Head of Hillsborough
Dear Madam: - It is deep sorrow that I write to inform you of the particulars of the death of Srp. Douglas G. N. C. He was in a party which was doing work in an advanced district when the Germans opened shell fire on them. The officer in charge ordered them to take cover, but on this being done, one man was missing. He was lying wounded in the open. Two volunteers were asked for - to bring in the wounded man. Spr. Douglas and another man volunteered and safely reached their comrade, but on the way back the two rescuers were hit by shrapnel from a bursting shell. Spr. Douglas was instantly killed, and the other brave volunteer badly hit. The two wounded men were both finally rescued and will, I hope, recover. This sad occurrence was on April 13th.
The funeral service was held Sunday April 15th by a Church of England Chaplin, and was attended by an officer and a party of his comrades. He was buried in a churchyard in one of the villages to the rear of the line, the location of which will be sent to you from the D.A.G. at the base.
This is the first fatality in France of this Battalion; and the loss is felt keenly by myself and every member of the Battalion, more particularly as he met his death as a result of voluntarily exposing himself to fire in order to save another.
You have my deepest sympathy in your loss but have the consolation that he met death bravely and knew the danger incurred, but did not shirk when duty called him.
Yours very truly,
S. Martin, Lt. Col., 7th
G.N.C. Douglas, was the third son of the late Elisha Douglas, Head of Hillsborough, and was thirty-four years of age. Six years ago he went to Moosejaw, Sask., where he was engaged in railroading. By his faithful perseverance and ability he was promoted to the position of Conductor. Two years ago he visited his old home at the Head of Hillsborough, where his many friends gave him a hearty welcome. After a few months he returned to Moosejaw, and like many another brave Island boy, gave up his position and enlisted with the railway construction company on February 18. On March 4 they sailed from Halifax arriving in England on the 14th, where he visited his brother Henry in the 14th Battalion. He had a furlough to Scotland where he visited some of the historical buildings, and in a letter written from there spoke of the place as being the finest he had ever seen. He also bore tribute to the kindness and friendliness of the Scotch people. On March 26 he crossed to France, and was there only about two weeks when he fell in action.
The late Coffin Douglas was a young man of splendid character - brave and manly. His death in the full prime of young manhood is a severe trail to his sorrowing mother, brothers and sisters. The brothers are Alfred in Moosejaw, Lester in Charlottetown, Edison in Lawrence, Mass., Geddie at Head of Hillsborough, Fulton, who recently returned from Lawrence, Mass., where he had been ill with typhoid fever, Henry of the 104th Battalion in England, Walter and Harry at home, also three sisters, Jennie, Blanche and Hilda..
It is worthy of note that a brother of the deceased, Lester, was awarded a medal for saving the life of a boy from drowning in Summerside. Bravery certainly runs in the Douglas family.Forwarded by "Heather Birt" email@example.com, clipping - from a Charlottetown paper, but exact paper unknown.
Don Lowe - firstname.lastname@example.org, of Grande Prairie, Alberta passes along the following obituary...
John James "Jack" Lowe (b. 4 Aug 1892, Charlottetown, PEI, d. 26 Jul 1917, France)
John James Lowe enlisted in Moose Jaw, Sask., on 31 Mar 1916. Sailed for England from Halifax April 1st, 1917. Left for France the latter part of May - transferred from the 210th Battalion, Legion of Frontiersmen to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Was killed on July 26, 1917.
Memorial inscription on headstone of Samuel Lowe family, People's Cemetery, Charlottetown, PEI, reads "In Proud and Loving Memory of John James Lowe 1st Can. M.R.* Born Aug.4 1892 Killed in Action July 26 1917 Burried (sic) in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, France."
From Heather Birt, email@example.com:
Pte. George Birt - Sep 29, 1918.
George Birt died September 29, 1918 at Cambrai, France & was buried at Terlincthun British Cemetary, Boulogne. He enlisted at Vancouver in August 1915 & had children George, Ethel, & Margaret. His wife was Loretta Cooper. His death info comes from the Veterans Affairs website & enlistment from his attestation papers.
From an unknown Island Newspaper:
Private George W. Birt
The following references to Private Birt, son of Mr. Wm. H. Birt, Covehead Road will be read by relatives and friends with much interest and sympathy.
The two following letters of personal appreciation have been received this week by Mrs. Geo. Birt, Grand Forks, B.C., whose husband, Pte. Geo. W. Birt died from wounds in France recently.
"I very greatly regret to have to tell you of the death of your gallant husband, Pte. Geo. W. Birt, who died Sept. 29th from wounds received in action. I am proud to be able to tell you that he died as he had lived, absolutely fearless to the end of his glory and the manner of his death you must be very proud. Even when mortally wounded his first thought was for his officer, Lieut. McCallum, close by whose side he was at the time. When he had assured himself that the officer was not wounded his every thought was of you and the little ones.
"So grieve with him with great pride in the glory which is his, for it is such wonderful, faithful and gallant boys as he who have made this battery for he was ever very popular with all of us and in his death we have lost a very gallant soldier. All ranks of the battery join with me in sending you our heartfelt sympathy in your great loss. F.C. Ross, captain commanding 10th C.L.T.M. Battery."
"I write you to express the deep sorrow I fell for you in the loss of your husband. George was my man and he was with me wherever I went. In addition to being a help in every difficulty he was my friend and I miss him very much. He was with me when he came by the wounds which caused his death. A shell landed in the midst of our party and of ten I was the only one who escaped. I did what I could for him which was very little in the heat of the battle. I saw his wounds dressed and sent him to the dressing station and had great hopes of him pulling through, and it was a blow when the news came of his death. Before I left he gave me his watch, ring, pocketbook and pen which I have forwarded to you under registered mail."
"George, I know was a true man and you have lost a loving and dutiful husband. He was a great favourite in the Battery and his loss is keenly felt by all of us who are left. Our genuine sympathy goes out to you in your deep sorrow. J.M. McCallum, Lieut., 10th C.L.T.M. Battery"
Gary Gallant - firstname.lastname@example.org describes his search for the circumstances surrounding the death of his Uncle, Arthur Gallant in the following article. It shows the process he went through while learning about his uncle, who had become only a fleeting memory in his father's memory, a little boy at the time of his older brother's death. We must preserve the memories of those who died and who never had a chance to leave descendants to remember them!
Private John MacLaren to his sister Katie McLaren Aug 1st 1915 and letters from his Chaplain regarding his death, 1916
The Death of Lieutenant J. Alfred Blanchard, 23 Nov 1943 - Lieutenant Blanchard was killed in action on 23 November 1943 in the Battle for Sangro Heights in Italy
Able Seaman Lloyd Murchison Gordon - A memoriam by June (MacPhee) Taylor for her uncle who died on April 29, 1944 in the sinking of the HMCS Athabaskan.
Thomas R. Broderick, R. C. N. R., Veteran, WW 2 - an obituary for Thomas Raymond Broderick, a veteran who served in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves during WW 2.
Private John Lafferty - a memorial from Joyce Lafferty Holmans for her uncle who died December 11th 1944 while locating of landmines for dismantlement, which were buried, by retreating Nazis, close to the German frontier.
Did you know many Islanders fought during the American Civil War? For some, it was for the adventure, for others it was to earn money to raise their families, and others yet, had their own individual reasons. One such gentleman was John J. MacDonald, grandson of Donald and Mary (Campbell) MacDonald of East Point. While he and his wife were living in Boston, due to circumstances outlined below, both were Islanders. Here is their story, unfolding through letters of the day transcribed by Bill Norin!
Photos of P.E.I. Soldiers - a page where you can post photos of Islanders who served!
Search the CEF Database for your relative's attestation papers or Military Service Act forms. Attestation papers indicated the recruit’s name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation and previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. See the attestation papers of John James Lowe above for a sample of information shown. Recruits were asked to sign their attestation papers, indicating their willingness to serve overseas. Those drafted into the CEF under the provisions of the Military Service Act (1917) completed a far simpler form, indicating name, date of recruitment, and compliance with requirements for registration. The CEF Database indexes some 620,000 individual attestation papers and Military Service Act Enlistment forms, and some 50,000 attestation papers are scanned and viewable from the database.
Copies of Attestation papers are accessible under the Freedom of Information Act, through the Canadian National Archives, and the person applied for must have been deceased for at least 20 years. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive the papers applied for. It helps if you submit full name, birth and death dates, father's name, and regimental number.
"The Register of Those Who Fell in the 1939-1945 War and are buried the Maritimes"
The Commonwealth Graves Commission has a Web Site at http://www.cwgc.org , or they may be reached in Canada at:
Veteran Affairs Canada,
Commonwealth War Graves Commission,
66 Slater St.,
Ottawa, ON. K1A 0P4
The Commission has launched the Debt of Honour Register. Members of the public can trace casualties from the two world wars on a search by surname basis.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission marks and maintains the graves of all members of Commonwealth forces who died in the world wars, builds memorials to those without known graves, and keeps records and registers including (after World War II) a record of the civilian war dead.
You may email them for information on the burial locations of Commonwealth Soldiers killed in action, and they will forward information about their burial location, and instructions on how to find their grave site. When inquiring, please give as much detail as possible such as residence, parents, birthdate, where enlisted, regiment, etc. (if known). Giving them his military service number and rank is ideal.