Awards and Decorations

The members of the 52nd Battalion received numerous awards and decorations for their service in the Great War. This document shows images and contextual information about the commendations and the feats that preceded them.

Sergeant Frederick Willesden La Soeur

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Soon after the 52nd Battalion returned to the Lakehead, the Port Arthur Daily News Chronicle announced that they would be publishing a series of articles by Sergeant Frederick Willesden La Soeur that would tell the story of the celebrated military unit. The story was titled The Officially Authorized Story of the Fifty-Second Battalion: Its Record in France, Belgium and Canada. The News Chronicle added that the stories would later be published with illustrations in book format. Starting on April 16, 1919 the newspaper began with the first part of story and continued sporadically until May 23, 1919.

Professor David Ratz (Lieutenant Colonel, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment) contributes the following information from a letter from Lieutenant Colonel W.W. Foster, 12 April 1919:

“2181355 Sgt. F.W. La Soeur at Prince Arthur Hotel., Port Arthur, Ont., writing History of the 52nd Bn. Note. an account of unpaid Hotel Bill, C.N. Rly Coy, refused allow removal of Documents and Records. La Soeur went A.W.L. and work was not completed. Went to W’pg 2.6.19. Col. Foster left with Capt. Williams and La Soeur the whole of his private records, photographs, cartoons and autographed letters from commanders in the field for use in compiling B. History.” (Source: Library and Archives Canada file RG24 vol1906 file HQ 5-7-35, 52nd Canadian Infantry Battalion)

In all, twelve articles were published, however, the story never ended. With the last published piece in the News Chronicle, the page read ‘to be continued’ but no further articles could be found. Moreover, we could not locate any information that supported the book ever being published. Whatever happened to the story behind the story is a mystery. If you can supply any information concerning this author or his work, please contact reference@tbpl.ca

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Medals of Pte. J. Howarth, 52nd Battalion C.E.F.
The 2 medals on the left are the World War One, British War Medal & Victory Medal, these were the standard two medals that where issued to soldiers of World War One.
The medal on the far right hand side is a World War One, German Iron Cross, that Pte. J. Howarth, had gotten from the trenches during World War One.
(medals donated to the Thunder Bay Military Museum by Andrew Cadzow of Ottawa, Ontario)
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Cap Badge of the 52nd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Photo courtesy of George Romick.

The 52nd Battalion (New Ontario), was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the Great War.

The 52nd Battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 23 November 1915.

The 52nd Battalion recruited in Port Arthur, Kenora, Fort Frances and Dryden, Ontario and was mobilized at Port Arthur.

It disembarked in France on 21 February 1916, where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.

The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The Lake Superior Regiment, A History

The Lake Superior Regiment article is available through the Thunder Bay Museum. This article shares the development of the Port Arthur Company in 1885 and its subsequent changes to the 96th Battalion, the 52nd Battalion, the Lake Superior Regiment and the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.

See the collections related to the Lake Superior Regiment at the Thunder Bay Museum.

See the collections related to the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the Thunder Bay Museum.