Lance Corporal Laurent Gilbert Narcisse Stuart

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New Hampshire.

The grave of Lance Corporal Laurent Stuart
The grave of Lance Corporal Laurent Stuart

Laurent Stuart, and his twin brother Leonel, were born on 22 March 1895[1] at L’Ange-Gardien, Rouville, in southern Quebec, the son of Théode and Odile Stuart.[2] The family emigrated to the United States in 1906 and settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. His father owned a grocery store and most of the children worked for one of Manchester’s shoe manufacturers.

Laurent Stuart travelled to Canada and enlisted on 29 September 1914. He joined the 12th Battalion (22793, Private) and sailed for England two days later, on the SS Scotian, arriving on 14 October.[3] The Battalion was broken up to provide reinforcement drafts.

Private Stuart was posted to 1st Divisional Cyclist Company at Bulford, with which he went to France in February 1915. In March, at Rouen, he was sentenced to 15 days Field Punishment No. 1 for ‘using threatening language’ while undergoing three days Field Punishment No. 2 for another undefined minor offence! During the course of the year he was admitted to hospital twice suffering from an ingrowing toenail and, in September, for influenza. He was also troubled by a badly sprained ankle, which resulted in his evacuation to England for treatment in December. After a period in the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company at Shorncliffe, he was posted to the newly formed 4th Divisional Cyclist Company in May 1916. He did not deploy again to France, however, and in June was posted to the 74th Battalion and later that month to the 51st Battalion, both of which acted as reserve battalions in England. In August, Stuart, suffering from ‘myalgia’, was examined by a medical board in Bramshot, which recommended six weeks of physical training at the Canadian Base Depot to return him to fitness and he was taken on the strength of the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre.

Stuart became increasingly weak, however, and having been diagnosed with a heart condition, he was ordered to Canada for discharge. He sailed for Canada on 16 December on board the RMS Andania, on one of its last runs as a troopship. On 21 January 1917 he was admitted to Grey Nuns Convalescent Home but was diagnosed as also suffering from nephritis and on 30 January he was sent to Montreal General Hospital for treatment. Private Stuart died there of nephritis and valvular heart disease on 24 February 1917. His remains were returned home and he was buried in Saint Augustin Cemetery, Manchester on 28 February. Saint Augustine Cemetery is in two sections and Stuart’s grave is in the south-east corner of the western part of the older cemetery, near the junction of South Beech Street and Gold Street.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Lance Corporal Laurent Stuart
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Lance Corporal Laurent Stuart

Lance Corporal Laurent Stuart is commemorated on page 334 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 20 and 21 July. For his war service he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal, which were sent to his father with the Memorial Plaque and Scroll. His mother received the Memorial Cross.

1. (Back) His birthdate is taken from his baptismal record; it is recorded as 22 March 1892 on his attestation papers.
2. (Back) Théode Stuart (1870-28 March 1929) married Odile Vadnais (1871-10 November 1936) on 23 September 1890: Cora V. (later Lebel, later Sirois, later Page) (23 August 1891-16 May 1932); Alma G. (later Gallagher) (21 July 1893-1 March 1930); Joseph Leonel Gildas ‘Leo’ (22 March 1895-1959); Corinne Mathilda (later Sauvageau) (20 March 1897-NK); Blanche R. (later Roy) (9 January 1900-November 1979); Joseph Theode (1901-1977) and George Albert (16 February 1909-27 March 1909). Note: Some of these dates are different to those inscribed on the family memorial.
3. (Back) The embarkation roll records his name as ‘Lawrence’.

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