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


Laughlin, John Walter Henry: Service no. 407058. Circa 1919.
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

November 4, 1896BornBorn at Youngstown, New York to William Henry and Kate Laughlin.
June 10, 1915EnlistedEnlisted 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 1915Assigns PayAssigns $10.00 per month to his George Laughlin.
June 19, 1915Unit SailedSailed from Montreal about the S.S. Corsican.
June 28, 1915ArrivedArrived England.
November 25, 1915ArrivesArrives from 36th Canadian Reserve Battalion at the Canadian Base Depot, Etaples. TOS to the 18th Battalion.
November 27, 1916Proceeded to Unit 
November 30, 1915Arrives UnitArrives “in the field”. The unit is currently serving in the Ypres.
December 1915Assigns PayAssigns pay to a Mrs. C.G. Wolfe in the new amount of $20.00 per month.
May 11, 1916WoundedReported from base wounded. Rejoined the unit on the same day.
June 19, 1916AdmittedAdmitted to 2nd DRS with a GSW to the face.
June 21, 1916DischargedAs above.
August 5, 1916AdmittedAdmitted to No. 4 CFA, myalgia.
August 6, 1916TransferredTransferred to No. 5 CFA.
August 10, 1916DischargedAs above.
September 16, 1916AdmittedAdmitted to No. 26 General Hospital for GSW, elbow.
September 17, 1916In TransitIn transit from France to England aboard the H.S. Stad Anterpen.
September 18, 1916Admitted3rd North General Hospital, Sheffield, for a GSW, slight, to the right elbow.
November 11, 1916AdmittedCCH Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge.
November 25, 1916DischargedAs above.
January 31, 1917TransferredTransferred from CCD to 4th Reserve Battalion, West Sandling.
April 24, 1917SOSSOS above to 18th Battalion.
November 13, 1917AdmittedAdmitted to No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne for trench feet.
November 16, 1917AdmittedAdmitted Queen Mary’s Hospital.
December 6, 1917AdmittedCanadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom.
January 7, 1918DischargedAs above.
September 2, 1918AppointedAppointed Lance-Corporal.
October 15, 1918PromotedPromoted Corporal.
April 5, 1919TOSTOS from 18th Battalion to the PWCCC.
May 7, 1919Medical ExamNote 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, 1919SOSSOS to Canada, at Witley.
May 24, 1919DischargedDischarged 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.


CAMCCanadian Army Medical Corp
CCHCasualty Clearing Hospital
CFACanadian Field Ambulance
DRSDivisional Rest Station
GSWGun Shot Wound – this was a generic term for all projectile penetrating wounds.
MDMilitary District
PUOPyrexia of Unknown Origin
SOSStruck Off Strength
TOSTaken 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.


Digitized Service Record

Source: Another soldier’s service record.

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