Only one World War I veteran left in Canada

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Canadian National War Memorial

Just yesterday the second-last Canadian World War I veteran died, leaving just one remaining alive in Canada. The 106 year old Percy Dwight Wilson died in Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's veterans residence, being there from June 2006.

Born, February 26, 1901, one of nine children in Elgin County, Ontario, Wilson enlisted in the Army in 1915 as a Bulgier. After his Basic Training, he was sent to England via a ship across the Atlantic. As he was a minor, he was never sent to the front lines, and helped to dig trenches until being sent back to Canada.

However, he was still determined to be a soldier, and re-enlisted upon arriving home, and was then discharged from the service in 1918. He joined the forces once more, as a reserve Officer in the 1st regiment reserve. World War II began and Wilson enlisted for a third time but was not accepted due to age limits.

From 1919 on to his retirement in 1966 he worked for Bell Canada, he studied music and vocals at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and London, Ontario's University of Western Ontario where he met his wife Eleanor Dean, who married in 1927 and later died at 94.

His death leaves John Babcock, 106 years old, who currently resides in Spokane, Washington, USA and Gladys Powers, 108 years old, the last known female veteran of the First World War who served with the British and who currently resides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, as the sole living Canadians who once served in the First World War.

Wilson is survived by his two sons Dean and Paul, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.


  Learn more about Surviving veterans of World War I and Dwight Wilson on Wikipedia.