John Dochard - Lest We Forget

According to the 1911 census, John Dochard was born in Scotland in December of 1896, the son of John Dochard of Scotland, born 1870 and Mary Dochard, also of Scotland, born 1871. John’s siblings were Maggie, born in 1891, Nellie, born in 1895, Tom born in 1901, Katie, born in 1904 and Robert, born in 1906. John Dochard Sr. came to Canada in 1910 and the rest of the family joined him in 1911. At the time of the census, John Dochard Senior was working as a labourer and performing odd jobs. The family was Presbyterian. The Dochard family was living in Revelstoke during the war years in a residence on First Street. (Connaught Street in 1911).  John’s youngest brother Robert was one of two boys who had lost brothers chosen to unveil the Revelstoke Presbyterian Church’s Honor Roll of those Presbyterians serving in Canada’s Armed Forces.  At the beginning of the war John Dochard was working as a locomotive fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railroad Revelstoke Division.

John was a member of the 102nd RMR and was called to service at the beginning of the war and guarded bridges for some time. John Dochard signed his attestation papers on April 10, 1915 in Victoria. He gave his birthdate as December 6, 1890, which would have made him 25 years old. His actual age was 18, which would have made him old enough to serve, making it unclear why he lied about his age. He listed his occupation as clerk. He was 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with gray eyes and brown hair. His religious affiliation was Presbyterian. His regimental number was 430968. On June 30, 1915 he passed through Revelstoke (along with many others) on his way to the front.  Mr.& Mrs. Dochard received a letter from their son in Shorncliffe, England, saying that he had qualified as a marksman. It was less than two months later that they received the news of their son’s death in France.

John Dochard died on October 8, 1915 in an explosion in G-1 Trench. He was 18 years old.  At the time of his death he was a Private with the 28th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan) Regiment. According to his service records, he was buried in Kemmel Cemetery in Belgium, but according to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, his name is memorialized on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial, Belgium. After his death, John’s parents submitted this poem to the local newspaper.

JOHN DOCHARD Age 18

We little thought when leaving home,

He would no more return;

That he so soon in death would sleep

And leave us here to mourn.

 

I often sit and think of him

When I am all alone;

But memory is the only thing

That grief can call its own.

 

John Dochard’s name is on both the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.  His family later moved to Seattle, Washington, USA.

Posted on November 10, 2015 .