Thomas crossed the English Channel to France on May 17 and proceeded to the Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District with his comrades. In late October, Thomas “began feeling weak,” according to his service record. Hospitalized at Jura and initially treated for influenza, Thomas was discharged to duty but continued to feel unwell. Readmitted to hospital on November 21, he was diagnosed with nephritis (kidney disease). Following several months’ treatment at Jura, Thomas was transferred to Hoole Bank Auxiliary Military Hospital, Chester, England on March 3, 1918, where his condition slowly improved.
Discharged to King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bushy Park on July 29, Thomas recuperated sufficiently to return to Canada, arriving at Quebec in late September 1918. He spent several months at Pine Hill Hospital, Halifax before being released on March 21, 1918. Seven days later, Thomas was discharged from military service as “medically unfit.”
Thomas returned home to Upper Big Tracadie, but later relocated to the Sydney area, where he worked in the local coal mines. He married Eleanor Gero at Sydney on December 14, 1926. Thomas never fully regained his health, passing away at Upper Big Tracadie on January 29, 1935.
While his death lists the cause of death as “dropsy”—commonly known today as edema (excessive fluid retention)—his previous medical history suggests nephritis as the likely cause. Although military authorities were notified of his death, no Memorial Cross, Plaque or Scroll were issued as his mother, Jane, was deceased at the time of Thomas’s passing and he married after his military discharge.
2. Joseph Clyke was born February 14, 1899 at Guysborough, NS, son of Archibald and Elizabeth Clyke. He enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Truro on September 22, 1916 (number 931272). Joseph departed Nova Scotia with No. 2 Construction on March 28, 1917 and crossed the English Channel to France on May 17. He worked in Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District from May to December 1917, at which time he was transferred to the Forestry Corps’ Alcenon District’s operations in the Normandy forest.
Joseph returned to England with No. 2 Construction on December 14, 1918 and departed for Canada in January 1919. He was officially discharged from military service on February 15, 1919. According to the 1921 Canadian census, Joseph was living in Truro with his father, Isaac B. Paris. He later married and in the mid-1940s was living in the Amherst area, working in the local coal mines. By 1949, Joseph had returned to Truro, where he found employment with Canadian National Railways. No further information is available on his later life.
3. Lavin Day was born at Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County on June 30, 1898, the son of Harriet Eliza “Hattie” Day. Lavin enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Truro on September 22 (attestation number 931273). Unlike Joseph Clyke, Lavin spent his entire overseas service in the Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District, close to the French - Swiss border. He received a Good Conduct Badge on September 22, 1918.
Following his February 15, 1919 discharge, Lavin returned to the Tracadie area, where he worked as a labourer. While his service record contains no reference to health issues, Lavin developed “Bright’s disease—a term used at the time to describe kidney ailments—sometime after returning to civilian life. Lavin passed away at Upper Big Tracadie on November 20, 1923 and was laid to rest in Hillcrest Cemetery, Upper Big Tracadie.
4. John William Elms was born at Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County on July 22, 1888, the son of John (Sr.) and Alice Elms. John enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Truro, NS on September 22, 1916 (attestation number 931274). Married at the time of his enlistment, John was also father to two small children, a two-year-old daughter and an eight-month-old son. He spent his entire overseas service woking at the Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District operations.
John’s dedication to duty earned him a Good Conduct Badge on September 22, 1918. He also maintained a “clean sheet” throughout his time in uniform. Following his discharge from military service on February 15, 1919, he returned to Tracadie, where he passed away on June 25, 1959.
5. William Henry Gero was born at Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County on September 30, 1876, son of Thomas and Eliza Gero. He enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Truro on September 22, 1916 (attestation number 931269). At the time of his enlistment, William was married to Alice Day and had two small children, James (age 12) and Annie (age 7).
As with John, William maintained a perfect record throughout his service in the Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District and was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on September 22, 1918. Following his discharge on February 14, 1919, William eventually settled in Truro, where he passed away on October 8, 1945.