FWW Names – L

Private Thomas Henry LAITY

Regimental Number: 790712
Enlistment Date / Location / Unit: 24 February1916 / New Westminster, BC / 131st Overseas Battalion
Birth Date / Location: 19 July 1894 /Port Hammond, BC
Parents: John Henry Laity and Mary Jane Pope
Occupation on Enlistment: Farmer
Date of Death / Location: 1 January 1917 / No.2 General Hospital, Le Havre, France of Diphtheria
Age at Death: 23
Unit on Date of Death, or on Demobilization: 47th Battalion
Circumstances of Death: 19 December 1916, Admitted to No. 8 Casualty Clearance Station, Wimereux for Laryngitis. 30 December 1916 Admitted to No. 2 General Hospital, Le Havre, isolation, “Dangerously ill”. 1 January 1917, No. 2 General Hospital, Le Havre, RPTS, “Died of Diphtheria”.
Cemetery or Memorial: Ste. Marie Cemetery, Seine-Maritime, France, Grave: Div. 3. D. 12 Division 3, Row D, Grave 12
Where commemorated: Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada; First World War Book of Remembrance page 271, Memorial Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, ON; Maple Ridge Cenotaph, Maple Ridge, BC; St John the Divine Anglican Church Memorial Plaque, Maple Ridge, BC; Municipality of Maple Ridge Honor Roll, St John the Divine Anglican Church, Maple Ridge, BC; The Gold Stripe Roll of Honour, Maple Ridge, page 89

Thomas Henry Laity was the youngest son of John and Mary (nee Pope) Laity. He was born in Port Hammond, BC in 1894. Thomas attended the Maple Ridge School. Thomas worked on the family fruit and dairy farm before enlisting. He was 1.6 meters (5 feet 4-1/4 inches) tall, weighed 72.5 kilograms (160 pounds), had grey eyes, and light hair.

Thomas enlisted with the 131st Battalion and arrived in England 11 November 1916; by 28 November 1916 he was in France. He was transferred to the field but by 16 December 1916 he had developed laryngitis, which progressed to diphtheria. On 31 December 1916 he was admitted to an isolation hospital, and died 1 January 1917 at No 2 General Hospital, Le Havre, France.

He was 22 when he enlisted and 23 when he died 11 months later.

In an era before effective antibiotics and vaccines, disease and sickness on the battlefield of the First World War took a great toll. According to military historian, Michael O’Leary, 1,701 members of the CEF were diagnosed with diphtheria and 18 died from the disease. Thomas Laity was one of these casualties. Source: (“Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War: Part 14: The Wounded and Sick” The Regimental Rogue)

“Like so many thousand other fathers, Mr. [John] Laity suffered through the war by the loss of his youngest son, who was to have farmed the home portion of the land with him. This death took much of the interest of the work from the old-timer and with the exception of the orchard and a garden he now leaves the whole burden of the acreage to the younger men.” “Success Crowns Long Years of Toil on Farm,” Daily Province, 12 January 1922, p 19.

T. Laity was one of the names of former students of the Maple Ridge School on an honour roll unveiled in the spring of 1917. T.H. Laity’s name was on the Cenotaph when it was unveiled in 1923.

(Updated 20-Feb-2024)

Private Thomas Henry Laity

Private Thomas LITTLE

Regimental Number: 2380377
Conscripted Date / Location / Unit: 14 December 1917 / Winnipeg, MB / 1st Depot Manitoba Battalion
Birth Date / Location: 17 March, 1888 / Goderich, Huron County, ON
Parents: William Little and Lydia Ann Sundercock
Occupation on Enlistment: Farmer
Date of Death / Location: 30 September 1918 / France
Age at Death: 30
Unit on Date of Death, or on Demobilization: 8th Battalion
Circumstances of Death: Died of wounds
Commemorated at: Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, France; First World War Book of Remembrance, page 450, Memorial Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, ON; Maple Ridge Cenotaph, Maple Ridge BC; Whitemouth Cenotaph, Whitemouth, MB

Thomas, or “Tom” as he was known, was born on 17 March 1888 in Huron County, ON to William Little, a carpenter, and Lydia Ann Sundercock. By 1891, the family had moved to Selkirk, MB where William was a farmer. In 1916, the family were living on a farm near Whitemouth, MB, and Tom, age 28, was working on the family farm, helping his 62-year-old father.

The Military Service Act was passed on 24 July 1917, and, despite opposition from farmers and many others, became law on 29 August 1917. On 12 November 1917 Tom wed Gladys Pearl Cousins, age 18, in Winnipeg, MB. Tom was drafted under The Military Service Act and his conscription papers were signed on 14 December 1917, 32 days after his marriage.

Tom was 1.6 meters (5 feet 6 inches) tall and weighed 59 kilograms (131 pounds), he had blue eyes and dark hair. On 10 May 1918 he sailed on the S.S. Teiresias with the 1st Depot Manitoba Battalion, and disembarked in London, England on 24th May. He arrived in France on 6 September and was soon transferred to the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

Twelve days later, on 28 September, Tom was severely wounded — a gunshot wound to the left thigh and buttocks — during the Bourlon Wood operations on the Cambrai Front. His wounds were dressed and he was taken to No. 30 Casualty Clearing Station where he died two days later. He was buried in the Bucquoy Road British Cemetery at Ficheux, 4.5 miles south of Arras, France.

Tom’s widow re-married in 1922, to Edward Arthur “Art” Anns, a returned soldier from the war who also lived in Whitemouth, MB. Art was on the local baseball team with Tom prior to going overseas.
Tom’s parents moved to the Fraser Valley in about 1919 or 1920, as they appeared in the British Columbia Directories from 1920 to 1923. William was listed as a fruit grower in Port Hammond. His parents are buried at Maple Ridge Cemetery.

T. Little’s name was added to the Cenotaph in 2000 as part of the Legion’s Millennium project.
(Updated 03-Jan-2024)

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