Sunday, October 26, 2008

Private Clair Van Wyck Laughton

Private Clair Laughton Joins the CEF

Clair Van Wyck Laughton was one of two sons of John Hugh Laughton who attested to the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 15, 1915. At the time of his attestation he was living in Parkhill, Ontario and was already married to Eva Rose Laughton (nee Wickert). The 1911 Census of Canada Records show that although the John Hugh Laughton Family was in Parkhill, Clair and Eva were living with Eva's mother "Esther Wickert".

Clair's attestation papers #823321 show that he was born on April 30, 1886, thus he was 29 years and 8 months old when he enlisted. As such, he was 9 years senior to brother George Van Wyck Laughton #82130, who also attested in December 1915. Clair listed his occupation as that of a "Traveller" (Travelling Salesman) and noted that he had served six (6) years with the 26th and 27th Regiments of the Canadian Militia.

Service Record of Private Clair Laughton

The service record of Private Clair Laughton is very brief as it shows that within a month of his attestation to the 142nd Infantry Battalion he was struck-off-strength for being absent without leave from the unit. The specifics of the records show that he was absent from 10 pm on January 16, 1916 and formally recorded as a "Deserter" on February 11, 1916 by the "Court of Inquiry".

For pay and other purposes, his file was closed as of January 17, 1916 when he failed to return to service. On two places where his absence is noted it appears that the word "Ill" is written when his desertion is noted. It is not clear if this implied a medical cause for his absence, as there are no related records in his medical file.

The event is record in the Part II Daily Order #72 dated February 14, 1916 as amended by After Order #5 dated December 10, 1921. It may be possible to retrieve those documents.

On December 20, 1919 a large number of soldiers who had deserted were pardoned under a General Amnesty. Private Clair Van Wyck Laughton was one of those included in that list, thus his service record notes that pardon.

There is no mention of these events in the family history.


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