Lambton at War


The First World War

Hugh Murray McQueen

Hugh Murray McQueen, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. M. McQueen, was born on September 1, 1894.    Hugh graduated from Petrolia High School, and attended St. Andrew’s College in 1912-13.   While at college he earned his place on both intermediate and senior football teams.   He was also on the hockey team.

Hugh resigned Commission in Order to go to the Front more quickly.  He took a commission in the 70th Battalion, C.E.F. to insure a place with that battalion when it went overseas on April 30th, 1916; he reverted to the rank of private.  Hugh’s determination to get to France as quickly as possible prompted his transfer to the 58th Battalion, with whom he crossed the Channel soon after his arrival in England.  He went all through the heavy fighting in the summer of 1916, and was wounded at the Somme.

Recovering, he returned to France, but was gassed during the winter campaign.  While convalescent in England he was offered an appointment on the instructor’s staff.  This he turned down because he believed himself too fit for such work.  During the last six months he saw much strenuous fighting, and was continually in the trenches until killed in action on September 30, 1918.

Great sympathy will be felt for his parents, who are now in Peru in connection with Mr. McQueen’s interests in the oil fields, he is Vice-President of the International Petroleum Co.  Hugh will also be missed by his sisters, Jean and Margaret and his brother Neil (Mac).

~ Story told by Judith A. MacDonald, Sarnia


Thomas Gleeson

“My Grandfather, Thomas Gleeson was born outside the Petrolia and Oil Springs area in 1895. The corner that was adjacent to their farm was known locally as Killarny Corners as the owner of the store was from Killarny Ireland.  He had 12 brothers, however at the time he joined the army the family had moved to Sarnia at 330 Queen Street. He worked for Imperial Oil both before and after the war.

Thomas served with “B” company 1st Depot Battalion, Western Ontario Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  He was 22 years 8 months old when he enlisted.  The brothers, in the army, all ended up in France.  Great Uncle Pat told me a story at my Grandfathers funeral and it went like this.

Great Uncle Pat’s group were sent to a staging area where many Canadian troops were billeted in tents of course, he said it was a huge tent city.  He was walking along the rows of tents when he stumbled on to his brother, my Grandfather.  They had not seen each other in many months so it was a joyous occasion. It was further enjoyed when my Great Uncle Pat informed my Grandfather that he knew where another brother was, so of course they went to see him. Well, as he told me, they got together at a cafe or something and there were a group of American soldiers basically harassing some local French women. The boys from Petrolia advised their American cousins that all women are ladies and should be treated as such.  Well, he said, “the fight was on and the Americans learned their lesson.”

That is the only story I ever heard of my Grandfather during the war.  He died in 1970.”

~ Story told by Gerry Bezaire of Grand Bend, Thomas’s great-grandson. With contributions from Thomas’s last living son Charles Gleason, Gerry’s uncle.