Ernest Leslie Arrowsmith

(November 15, 1896 to May 11, 1917)

By Jonathan Milner

The house which is said to have been built in 1905 for the Arrowsmith Family.

The house which is said to have been built in 1905 for the Arrowsmith Family (L989.D.009.001).

Ernest Leslie Arrowsmith was born in Paris, Ontario, on November 15th 1896, but grew up in Stamford, Ontario, what we call today Niagara Falls. His parents were Albert and Amanda Arrowsmith and he had an elder sister by the name of Pearl. The family lived in a home at 2660 Stanley Avenue which is located near the Whirlpool and the railway junction. This location was adjacent to the former Chateau-Gai Winery. Albert worked as a foreman for the Grand Trunk Railway.  Pearl and Ernest attended the schoolhouse which was located near the halfway in Stamford. The School Section One was the predecessor to Victoria School. Victoria School was constructed in 1916 at the north-west corner of Stanley and Portage Road.  

On the 29th of January 1916 at the age of 19 and a few months Ernest Arrowsmith enlisted in Niagara Falls, Ontario, to be part of the 98th Battalion of the Canadian [Over-Seas] Expeditionary Force or CEF. Ernest was previously part of an active militia, the 44th Regiment (possibly with the Welland Canal Force), and his stated trade was that of a “Steel Handle Finisher”. He passed his medical inspection on the same day that he showed up to enlist and was admitted into the CEF on the 3rd of February 1916.


According to official documentation he was killed on the 11th of May 1917 but it does not record where he was killed --  only that he was 20 years of age, part of the 19th Battalion (Central Ontario), and is buried at the Barlin Communal Cemetery at Pas de Calais in France. He is listed on the Memorial Book which is located inside the Peace Tower in Ottawa. The 19th Battalion of the CEF was posted in this area of France during mid-1917 so it would seem that this is likely where Ernest may have been killed. As there is no definitive information given as to where and in which battle Ernest died it could be possible that he was injured and trying to recover from injuries sustained earlier in April or May (this could be Vimy Ridge), or it could be that Ernest was killed during the Second Battle of Arras which was being fought in the month of May. These two battles had the 19th Battalion, Ernest’s Battalion, serving. He also could have died due to illnesses such as trench fever, trench foot or trench mouth, or parasites such as scabies and typhus, or the common cold/flu. Or Ernest could have been killed during a period of non-specific engagement in an ambush or other engagement but not on such a large scale as we see in Battles. 

Photo taken about 1897 of Ernest , the baby, and Pearl, his older sister.

Photo taken about 1897 of Ernest , the baby, and Pearl, his older sister. (l989.D.009.003)


Canadian Virtual War Memorial: Private Ernest Leslie Arrowsmith.

Library and Archives Canada, Attestation Papers of Ernest Arrowsmith

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