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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Lacasse, Oscar Image
  • Lacasse, Oscar

  • Born on 1 November 1997 in Keewatin, Ontario, Oscar Lacasse was a middle son of Anselme (more commonly known as Samuel) and Wilhemina Melina (née Desmarais) Lacasse, parents being French Canadian, originally from the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

    Samuel and Melina married on 27 April 1885 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Melina’s family having moved to the area to open a saw mill. At some point Melina and perhaps Samuel went back to Gatineau Pointe, as their first two children, twins Joseph and Napoleon, were born there on 28 February 1886. Returning after the births, subsequent children born in Keewatin were Oscar, William, Charles, Bertha, and Eugene.

    For the 1891 census the family was living in Keewatin South, father Samuel’s occupation given as mill labourer. Living next door were Melina’s birth family, father Eusebe Desmarais, his second wife, and children from both marriages. In 1901 the family was still in Keewatin but by then his father’s occupation had changed to farmer. In the 1911 census Oscar’s parents and three of his siblings, Charles, Bertha and Eugene were living on River Street in Keewatin.

    Oscar Lacasse enlisted in Kenora on 25 November 1915, occupation given as labourer. Headquartered in Port Arthur, Ontario, the 94th Battalion had just begun recruiting at the time throughout northwestern Ontario. On 25 May 1916, Companies C and D from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead.

    “On June 9, 1916, the 94th Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for “Summer Camp” as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the SS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.” (from the now defunct 94th Battalion website)

    Once overseas, Private Oscar Lacasse was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and then to the 5th Battalion. In April of 1917 he suffered a contusion to his left elbow and spent time recovering at the Military Hospital at Fresham Hill and then at the Canadian Division Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. He was discharged 31 May 1917, and was attached to the 15th Canadian Reserve Battalion at Bramshott. Later that year Private Oscar Lacasse was granted a Good Conduct Stripe on 25 November. He rejoined the 5th Battalion in March of 1918.

    On 1 September 1918 Private Oscar Lacasse was reported as killed in action: “while taking part with his battalion in an attack on the enemy lines east of the Hendecourt-les Cagnicourt-Dury Road on the night of September 1st, 1918, he was instantly killed by an enemy high explosive shell.” Private Oscar Lacasse is interred in the Upton Wood British Cemetery 8.5 miles south of Arras, France.

    Oscar’s brother William Lacasse served during World War 1 as well, also reported as killed in action on 28 April 1918 while serving with the 44th Battalion. By 1921 Oscar’s parents and siblings Bertha and Eugene were living in Vancouver but later that year moved south of the border to Washington. Oscar’s father Samuel died on 6 July 1927 and his mother Melina on 16 December 1949. Both are interred in Union Cemetery in Sedro-Woolly, Washington. It is unlikely that any of the family remained in the Kenora/Keewatin area.

    Private Oscar Lacasse is commemorated on page 444 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Keewatin Cenotaph in Beatty Park in Keewatin, on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour Plaque housed in the Keewatin Legion, on the R Douglas Fraser Roll of Honour Plaque, and on the Municipality of Keewatin Plaque.

    In August of 1919, the Municipality of Keewatin honoured their lads who had served with medals and badges, with next of kin receiving for the fallen.

    by Judy Stockham

    gravemarker photo: International Wargraves Photography Project as found on findagrave.com
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 27 November 1915

    KMN 27 November 1915

    KMN 18 September 1918

    KMN 18 September 1918

    9 August 1919 part 1

    9 August 1919 part 1

    KMN 19 August 1919

    KMN 19 August 1919

    For King and Country

    For King and Country

    Keewatin Cenotaph

    Keewatin Cenotaph

    Keewatin Cenotaph 2

    Keewatin Cenotaph 2

    Lake of the Woods Milling Company

    Lake of the Woods Milling Company

  • Regimental Number:
  • 198334
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 5th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mignon (Melina) Lacasse, mother, Keewatin, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • November 1, 1887
  • Trade or Calling:
  • labourer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • November 25, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 28
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • September 1, 1918
  • Age at Death:
  • 30
  • Buried at:
  • Upton Wood Cemetery, France
  • Plot:
  • E. 39.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Born on 1 November 1997 in Keewatin, Ontario, Oscar Lacasse was a middle son of Anselme (more commonly known as Samuel) and Wilhemina Melina (née Desmarais) Lacasse, parents being French Canadian, originally from the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

    Samuel and Melina married on 27 April 1885 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Melina’s family having moved to the area to open a saw mill. At some point Melina and perhaps Samuel went back to Gatineau Pointe, as their first two children, twins Joseph and Napoleon, were born there on 28 February 1886. Returning after the births, subsequent children born in Keewatin were Oscar, William, Charles, Bertha, and Eugene.

    For the 1891 census the family was living in Keewatin South, father Samuel’s occupation given as mill labourer. Living next door were Melina’s birth family, father Eusebe Desmarais, his second wife, and children from both marriages. In 1901 the family was still in Keewatin but by then his father’s occupation had changed to farmer. In the 1911 census Oscar’s parents and three of his siblings, Charles, Bertha and Eugene were living on River Street in Keewatin.

    Oscar Lacasse enlisted in Kenora on 25 November 1915, occupation given as labourer. Headquartered in Port Arthur, Ontario, the 94th Battalion had just begun recruiting at the time throughout northwestern Ontario. On 25 May 1916, Companies C and D from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead.

    “On June 9, 1916, the 94th Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for “Summer Camp” as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the SS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.” (from the now defunct 94th Battalion website)

    Once overseas, Private Oscar Lacasse was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and then to the 5th Battalion. In April of 1917 he suffered a contusion to his left elbow and spent time recovering at the Military Hospital at Fresham Hill and then at the Canadian Division Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. He was discharged 31 May 1917, and was attached to the 15th Canadian Reserve Battalion at Bramshott. Later that year Private Oscar Lacasse was granted a Good Conduct Stripe on 25 November. He rejoined the 5th Battalion in March of 1918.

    On 1 September 1918 Private Oscar Lacasse was reported as killed in action: “while taking part with his battalion in an attack on the enemy lines east of the Hendecourt-les Cagnicourt-Dury Road on the night of September 1st, 1918, he was instantly killed by an enemy high explosive shell.” Private Oscar Lacasse is interred in the Upton Wood British Cemetery 8.5 miles south of Arras, France.

    Oscar’s brother William Lacasse served during World War 1 as well, also reported as killed in action on 28 April 1918 while serving with the 44th Battalion. By 1921 Oscar’s parents and siblings Bertha and Eugene were living in Vancouver but later that year moved south of the border to Washington. Oscar’s father Samuel died on 6 July 1927 and his mother Melina on 16 December 1949. Both are interred in Union Cemetery in Sedro-Woolly, Washington. It is unlikely that any of the family remained in the Kenora/Keewatin area.

    Private Oscar Lacasse is commemorated on page 444 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Keewatin Cenotaph in Beatty Park in Keewatin, on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour Plaque housed in the Keewatin Legion, on the R Douglas Fraser Roll of Honour Plaque, and on the Municipality of Keewatin Plaque.

    In August of 1919, the Municipality of Keewatin honoured their lads who had served with medals and badges, with next of kin receiving for the fallen.

    by Judy Stockham

    gravemarker photo: International Wargraves Photography Project as found on findagrave.com
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 27 November 1915

    KMN 27 November 1915

    KMN 18 September 1918

    KMN 18 September 1918

    9 August 1919 part 1

    9 August 1919 part 1

    KMN 19 August 1919

    KMN 19 August 1919

    For King and Country

    For King and Country

    Keewatin Cenotaph

    Keewatin Cenotaph

    Keewatin Cenotaph 2

    Keewatin Cenotaph 2

    Lake of the Woods Milling Company

    Lake of the Woods Milling Company

  • « Return to all stories
  • Lacasse, Oscar Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 198334
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 5th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mignon (Melina) Lacasse, mother, Keewatin, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • November 1, 1887
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • labourer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • November 25, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 28
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • September 1, 1918
  • Age at Death:
  • 30
  • Buried at:
  • Upton Wood Cemetery, France
  • Plot:
  • E. 39.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Lacasse, Oscar

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