Laughlin, John Walter Henry: Service no. 407058

Digitized Service Record

Source: Record of promotion in service record of Pratt, J.S., reg. no. 225630.

AKA: Alexander John Walter Edward Laughlin

John Walter Henry Laughlin 407058.

My grandfather was born Alexander John Walter Edward Laughlin (although he might have been known as John) on the 4th of November 1896 (attestation papers say 1897). He was 1st generation Canadian .His father was drowned in the Niagara River in 1901 and both his mother’s parents died in 1902.His mother put the 3 eldest children into a children’s home in Toronto. The 4th child died before she was 1 year old. She never saw her children again. When going into the home his name was recorded as John Walter Henry Laughlin and believing this to be his name went by it for a few years. After coming out of the children’s home and apprenticeship system he probably went into farm labouring before joining the 36th battalion at Niagara on the Lake on 10th June 1915.

After joining the 36th on the 10th June 1915.he sailed with them on the 19th and arrived in the UK on the 28th June 1915. On arrival the 36th became a reserve battalion and John was transferred to the 18th joining them in the field at the end of November 1915.Whenever he was in France/Flanders he was with the 18th. He was wounded 3 times (once at the Somme) suffered trench foot (Passchendaele) and myalgia. He fell foul of military discipline while at Witley 21 days detention for being late for morning parade and refusing to obey an order and while waiting to join 18th in the field, loss of pay for gambling. He was on strength of battalion when Nov./Dec 1918 the 18th marched from near Mons to the Rhine to become part of the Army of Occupation.c4th April 1919 he was waiting to go back to UK. He sailed from Liverpool on the 14th May 1919 and was demobilized at London, Ontario on the 24th May 1919. He finished the war as a corporal.

While in the UK John met the Durrant family and on his return to Canada he kept in contact. After a time in Canada he made his return to the UK working his passage on a cattle boat. He went to stay with the Durrants at their home in Burpham, Surrey. The parents having lost their 2 eldest sons to the war treated John like a son. On 1st August 1925 John married Agatha Durrant. My grandparents lived their married life on Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon, Surrey. My grandmother died in 1969 and my grandfather continued living on the common with my uncle and his family. Eventually he moved to Wales and lived with his daughter and son-in-law. He died in Wales on 10th November 1985 aged 89. He was cremated and his ashes interred at Guildford Crematorium.

Biography by his grandson, Martin Laughlin.


Summary of Service[i] for Private John Walter Laughlin, Reg. No. 407058

Date Event Remarks
November 5, 1896 Born Born at Youngstown, New York to William Henry and Kate Laughlin.
June 10, 1915 Enlisted Enlisted with the 36th Battalion at Niagara Camp, Niagara-on-the-Lake, He was a farmer standing 5’5” tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. He had a small scar on inside of right knee. He is 140 lbs. He is 18-years and 7-months old. He had no prior military experience. His next-kin- is listed a George Laughlin and is later changed to S.G. Wolfe, care of Mr. William Hunter, Purpleville, Ontario.
June 1915 Assigns Pay Assigns $10.00 per month to his George Laughlin.
June 19, 1915 Unit Sailed Sailed from Montreal about the S.S. Corsican.
June 28, 1915 Arrived Arrived England.
November 25, 1915 Arrives Arrives from 36th Canadian Reserve Battalion at the Canadian Base Depot, Etaples. TOS to the 18th Battalion.
November 27, 1916 Proceeded to Unit
November 30, 1915 Arrives Unit Arrives “in the field”. The unit is currently serving in the Ypres.
December 1915 Assigns Pay Assigns pay to a Mrs. C.G. Wolfe in the new amount of $20.00 per month.
May 11, 1916 Wounded Reported from base wounded. Rejoined the unit on the same day.
June 19, 1916 Admitted Admitted to 2nd DRS with a GSW to the face.
June 21, 1916 Discharged As above.
August 5, 1916 Admitted Admitted to No. 4 CFA, myalgia.
August 6, 1916 Transferred Transferred to No. 5 CFA.
August 10, 1916 Discharged As above.
September 16, 1916 Admitted Admitted to No. 26 General Hospital for GSW, elbow.
September 17, 1916 In Transit In transit from France to England aboard the H.S. Stad Anterpen.
September 18, 1916 Admitted 3rd North General Hospital, Sheffield, for a GSW, slight, to the right elbow.
November 11, 1916 Admitted CCH Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge.
November 25, 1916 Discharged As above.
January 31, 1917 Transferred Transferred from CCD to 4th Reserve Battalion, West Sandling.
April 24, 1917 SOS SOS above to 18th Battalion.
November 13, 1917 Admitted Admitted to No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne for trench feet.
November 16, 1917 Admitted Admitted Queen Mary’s Hospital.
December 6, 1917 Admitted Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom.
January 7, 1918 Discharged As above.
September 2, 1918 Appointed Appointed Lance-Corporal.
October 15, 1918 Promoted Promoted Corporal.
April 5, 1919 TOS TOS from 18th Battalion to the PWCCC.
May 7, 1919 Medical Exam Note his full name is John Walter Henry Laughlin. It is noted he was founded with the following. A GSW, right thigh, May 19, 1916; GSW face, June 25, 1916; GSW right elbow, September 17, 1916; Myalgia, August 8, 1917; Trench feet November 12, 1917.
May 13, 1919 SOS SOS to Canada, at Witley.
May 24, 1919 Discharged Discharged from CEF at No. 1 MD, London, Ontario. He is 21-years old. He has 2 small scars on front left forearm. His proposed residence is Mono Road, Ontario.



CAMC Canadian Army Medical Corp
CCH Casualty Clearing Hospital
CFA Canadian Field Ambulance
DRS Divisional Rest Station
GSW Gun Shot Wound – this was a generic term for all projectile penetrating wounds.
MD Military District
PUO Pyrexia of Unknown Origin
SOS Struck Off Strength
TOS Taken On Strength


[i] The Summary of Service for this soldier is meant as just that, a summary of his service. It is not intended to be an exhaustive biographical relation of his life or his war service. Some information may be deliberately suppressed by the author out of sensitivity to the soldier. Readers are encouraged to reference the actual service records available at the Library and Archives Canada in PDF format if they wish to learn more about this soldier. Such additional information (i.e. hyperlinks etc.) are for informational purpose only and no claim to verification or accuracy is made by the author of this summary.

452680a 452680bDigitized Service Record

Source: Another soldier’s service record.

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