During the war years Canadian citizens were kept informed by newspapers. The Ottawa Citizen had a column CANADIAN CASUALTIES. In the 10th of June, Monday Edition 1918. It listed under the Title Gassed, Gunner Eugene Jodouin from Sudbury, Ontario.1.
Many young Canadian men and women made patriotic decisions to serve their country during the years 1914-1918. Some may have been reluctant, not really knowing what lay ahead, while others perceived it as a great adventure. One thing that was most likely uppermost on their minds, was a deep obligation to serve their country. They went to recruiting offices across the country and signed Attestation papers.
One of those young men was my Uncle Eugene. He was nineteen years old, a month short of his next birthday. He signed his attestation papers on September 15th,1916 in Sudbury, Ontario and took the oath to bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth.
Joseph François Eugene Jodouin was the second child, the first son of Louis Joseph Jodouin and Louise Fortin. He was born on the 17th of October 1885 in Sudbury.2 As a young man he began working as a miner. From the mid-1880’s and onward Sudbury was a major hub of activity. Surveyors were busy, and prospectors had found precious metals, such as copper. However, predominantly nickel ore was most sought after. The village was growing by leaps and bounds with the building of the railroad, the center of activity. Young men with families were settling in the area. Jobs were plentiful. Nevertheless, Eugene enlisted and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.
Uncle Eugene signed his attestation papers and underwent the standard medical exam. It was noted that he was a short man, only 5’2”and his medical report stated that he did not meet the regulations for artillery, nevertheless, it was not a drawback. He served willingly.
He was assigned to the 72nd ‘Queen’s’ C.F.A. Battery C.E.F.
A large contingent of young soldiers gathered aboard the S.S. Grampian in Halifax on October 24th, 1916 bound for duty in France. After a lengthy journey they arrived in Liverpool, England on November 5th. They were transferred to “Shorncliffe a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War”.3. Shorncliffe is located in Kent, England.
Records received do not indicate where Eugene was stationed in France, in which battles he saw action, although one might surmise the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. His documents indicated he saw action in both France and Belgium.
On the 10th of March 1918, 1 Brigade C.G.A, Eugene’s unit was granted a short leave. They rejoined the unit in France on the 31st of March ready for continued active duty.”To break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front, both sides tried new military technology, including poison gas, aircraft and tanks.”4 … “The skin of victims of mustard gas blistered, their eyes became very sore and they began to vomit. Mustard gas caused internal and external bleeding, attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. This was extremely painful. Fatally injured victims sometimes took four or five weeks to die of mustard gas exposure”
Many soldiers suffered from shell gas and mustard gas. Eugene was no exception. His first experience was on May 29th, 1918. He was sent to Camiers and on the 5th of June, 1918 he was admitted to the 73 Gen. Trouville Hospital and again on June 13th. On the 16th of August 1918 he was hospitalized at Base Dep Étaples “the largest British Military base in the world and… “the Étaples base hospital complex hosted as many as 20 hospitals by 1917”,this time the diagnosis was mustard gas. 4. Later that year he was again hospitalized several times for scabies.
On the 25th of January 1919 Eugene was granted a seven day leave in Paris. No doubt, he and his comrades were cheered by the people of Paris. War was over. Armistice had been declared. France was finally liberated.
On April 5th, 1919 Eugene proceeded to England and on the 3rd of May 1919 he embarked on the S.S. Mauretania in Southampton, England. They were heading for Halifax where he and many other young men and women whose lives had been changed forever finally landed on Canadian soil, the 6th of May 1919.
On May 11th, 1919 Joseph François Eugene Jodouin was officially(Discharged from. H.M.S.) No. 2 Depot PART II D.D.136, Toronto,March 23, 1921
Eugene married a young widow, Della Sinnett. In two years he was to lose her. She died of septicemia on the March 5th, 1923 while giving birth to their second child. She was only 25 years of age leaving him with his young son, Frankie. Della is buried in Sudbury in the Jodouin gravesite. At 61 years of age, Frankie was also laid to rest beside his mother and grandparents in Lasalle Cemetery in Sudbury, Ontario.
Uncle Eugene moved to the Kirkland Lake where Voter’s Lists indicate he worked as a shift boss in a mine. In 1940 he remarried. He died in 1969 and is buried in the Kirkland Lake Cemetery.
2. Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1987 Ancestry.ca
Staggering statistics “a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.” https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/230/seaforth-highlanders/
You might wish to read Dad’s Favourite Christmas Story about young Frankie’s Christmas caper at https://genealogyensemble.com/?s=Dad%27s+Favourite+Christmas+Story