Leo Bernard O'Rourke signature

On this day in 1917 Leo Bernard O’Rourke, a machinist, signed up in Toronto. He was born in Deseronto on October 26th, 1895, the son of Hugh O’Rourke and Beatrice (née Brown). The family were still in Deseronto in 1901, but by 1911 had moved to Princess Street, Kingston, where Leo was working as an apprentice machinist in the locomotive works. They were living in Toronto in 1917 when Leo signed up (he said in Raybaold Avenue – possibly Raybould Street).

O’Rourke joined the York & Simcoe Foresters (part of the Canadian Forestry Corps) with the regimental number 2498018. He was five feet four and a half inches tall, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was missing the top joint of the first finger on his right hand. O’Rourke’s service record shows that he arrived in England on September 15th, 1917 on the SS Megantic and was posted to the 80th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps in France, where he arrived on October 17th. On October 25th he was sentenced to ten days of field punishment number two for “giving a false name to a picquet”. He received the same punishment on December 1st for neglect of duty: “absent from stable at 4pm”.

In January 1918 Leo was admitted to hospital suffering from a hydrocele. He rejoined his unit on February 2nd. In January 1919 he was transferred to the Forestry Corps’ headquarters in England and had an operation at the Military General Hospital in Epsom to remove the hydrocele in April 1919.

Leo Bernard O’Rourke left England on June 2nd, 1919 and  was demobilized on June 10th in Toronto. married Clara Boungard (née Reid) in Toronto on July 21st, 1920. They had two daughters. He died on November 16th, 1968 and was buried in the Riverside Cemetery at Shannonville.

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