The 117th Eastern Townships Overseas Battalion
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The intention of this page is not to criticize or label the names below as cowards or other stigma that was attached to the label of deserter during WWI. By today's standards these men would probably not feel the pressure to enlist if they really did not want to. However, in 1916 many young men were ostracized for not enlisting and did so out of peer pressure or pressure from family. In the end, it is only the soldier himself who can judge if he did the right thing.
In fairness to the men listed below, there is no judgement set against them. I have only presented the information as read in the After Orders - 1920. Afterall, how can 748845 Private Albert Auclaire, aged 15 years 8 months be a deserter if he was not even close to being legal age of 18, nor did he lie about his age.
Despite the enthusiam shown towards recruitment of the 117th Battalion throughout the Eastern Townships, there were men who deserted the battalion after enlisting. Desertion was not unique to the 117th Battalion as it occurred in all CEF Battalions throughout the duration of the war. The majority of desertions occurred while the Battalion was in Valcartier awaiting orders to sail overseas during the months of June, July, and August of 1916. Several men simply did not show up when the Battalion embarked on the Empress of Britian. However, there were desertions that occurred earlier in the year. Several occuring in May 1916 at the time when the Battalion marched out the Eastern Townships to St. John (St. Jean). Several other former 117th Battalion soldiers deserted while serving with other battalions. They are not listed on this page.
There were two types of deserters: those who deserted after reporting for duty, and those who enlisted but did not report for duty. The latter were still considered deserters but were not officially listed as such. They were listed as "failed to report - services no longer required".
The military had more important things to do then to chase after the men who deserted. As such, these men remained on the nominal roll of the Battalion until it sailed to England. They were first considered to be Absent Without Leave (AWOL) until the Battalion sailed. Once in England their names were removed from the nominal roll. These men, however, were not forgotten about.
After the war ended and demobilization was completed, miliatry officials undertook the daunting task to reconcile and finalize the adminstrative details of all the Battalions of the CEF. Although the 117th Battalion was disbanded in 1916, military officials finalized the administration of the Battalion and published the 117th Battalion After Orders - 1920. It was in these orders that the final disposition of the men who deserted are listed.
Below is a list of those who deserted or failed to report from the 117th Eastern Township Battalion:
748177 Private James MALONE - deserted - 08 January 1916
748444 Private George BOISVERT - failed to report - 14 January 1916
748263 Private Edward LATIMER - deserted - 01 February 1916
748385 Private Joseph GAGNE - deserted - 28 February 1916
748742 Private Joseph BLAIS - failed to report - 04 March 1916
748264 Private Olivier BLOUIN - deserted - 13 March 1916
748435 Private Charles MCISAAC - deserted - 13 March 1916
748915 Private Adelard VALIQUETTE - failed to report - 16 March 1916
748972 Private Zephraim LAFRANCE - deserted - 03 April 1916
748350 Private Waterford DEMANCHE - deserted - 18 April 1916
748991 Private Charles LEBLANC - deserted - 02 May 1916
748400 Private Antonio DUCHESNEAU - deserted - 05 May 1916
749044 Private Harry DUDLEY - deserted - 08 May 1916
748463 Private Phillip DAVIDSON - deserted - 09 May 1916
748906 Private George HAMMOND - deserted - 09 May 1916
748781 Private George CHAMBERLAIN - deserted - 10 May 1916
748771 Private John EDWARDS - deserted - 10 May 1916
748858 Private Ozea BERGERON - deserted - 10 May 1916
748493 Private Archibald FURLONG - deserted - 17 May 1916
748053 Private Ernest BENOIT - deserted - 21 May 1916
748431 Private Willie DIONNE - deserted - 23 May 1916
748292 Private Andrew TURNGREN - deserted - 25 May 1916
748019 Private Arthur ERTHERINGTON - deserted - 25 May 1916
748125 Private Patrick OBRIEN - deserted - 25 May 1916
748352 Private Ernest HIBBARD - failed to report - 06 June 1916
748639 Private Johnny FECTEAU - deserted - 07 June 1916
749121 Private George PARKER - deserted - 13 June 1916
748722 Private Louis DOYON - deserted - 14 June 1916
748685 Private Oliva AUCLAIRE - deserted - 15 June 1916
748890 Private Joseph ASH - deserted - 16 June 1916
748845 Private Albert AUCLAIRE - deserted - 16 June 1916 - born 1901 listed as bugler. Would not have sailed to England with the battalion.
749006 Private Patrick OLEARY - deserted - 21 June 1916
748793 Private Joseph NADEAU - deserted - 24 June 1916
748667 Private Albert MARCOTTE - deserted - 06 July 1916
749208 Private Joe LAVALEE - failed to report - 09 July 1916
748713 Private Eugene JANELLE - deserted - 10 July 1916
748852 Private Robert BAIRD - deserted - 18 July 1916
748247 Private Simeon MACDONALD - deserted - 18 July 1916
749199 Private Martin MURRAY - deserted - 20 July 1916 - later attested in Nov 1916 with 167th and 245th Battalions
748601 Private Phillipe CYR - deserted - 25 July 1916
748952 Private George ODONNELL - deserted - 28 July 1916
749261 Private Thomas BLANCHETTE - deserted - 10 August 1916
748166 Private Joseph LACHANCE - deserted - 10 August 1916
748545 Private Henry CHAURETTE - deserted - 11 August 1916
748594 Private William THOMPSON - deserted - 11 August 1916
748506 Private Zoel LAUZON - deserted - 12 August 1916
748387 Private Joseph LEGENDRE - deserted - 02 September 1916 - later discovered to have missed the boat