Each soldier tells a story.
Some stories are more elusive than others.
Thomas Langton was born on June 23, 1869 in Yorkshire, England. At some point, he came to Canada. Although he lived in Montreal, he joined the CEF in Ottawa on January 29, 1917. He was 47. His attestation papers list his trade as a labourer and teamster.
The Canadian Forestry Corps was formed in 1916 to provide lumber for the war effort. Recruiting posters soon called for “Bushmen and sawmill hands wanted for the Canadian Forestry Units overseas.”
Lumber was needed for such diverse uses as trench construction, railway ties, tent poles, buildings, axe handles and fuel. At first, the thought was that trees would be cut in Canada and shipped overseas. But space on ships was limited, so the Corps went to the wood in the UK and France. The Corps produced about 70% of the lumber used on the Western front. They were occupied in all aspects of the trade – from felling trees and dressing lumber to actual construction. They cleared sites for aerodromes. Some of the wood was fashioned into wooden crosses for graves.
From his attestation papers in 1917, we go to Langton’s grave in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa. He died in June 1971 at age 102. What brought him from England to Canada? What did he do after the war?