Arthur Seymour Tyler (1897-1985) was born on February 22, 1897, and was living with his mother in Saint John, New Brunswick, before the First World War began. On September 4, 1916, he enlisted with the No. 2 Construction Battalion, the only battalion in Canadian military history to be staffed predominantly by African Canadians. Racial prejudices of the day had prevented many eager and patriotic African Canadian volunteers from enlisting, and it was not until the No. 2 Construction Battalion was raised, in July 1916, that many were given the opportunity to serve in the war. Like most of the members of the unit, Tyler was a teamster from the Maritimes. He went overseas with the battalion in March 1917. Following two bouts of influenza, for which he was treated at the No. 2 General Hospital in Jura, France, he experienced permanent hearing loss in his right ear. Tyler was discharged in 1919 due to demobilization. He later served in the Second World War with the Carleton and York Regiment. He died on February 17, 1985, at the age of 88.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: February 22, 1897
Date of Attestation: September 4, 1916
Age at Enlistment: 19 years
Height: 5 feet, 4 inches
Weight: Not indicated
Description: Dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair. Church of England.
Home Address: 280 Pitt Street, Saint John, New Brunswick
Details of Family: Mother, Mary McCarthy, living at 280 Pitt Street, Saint John, New Brunswick.
Next of Kin: Mother (Mary McCarthy)
Branch of Service: Canadian Expeditionary Force
Theatre of War: England, France
- November to December 1917 – Between mid-November and the end of December 1917 he is twice admitted to hospital in Jura, France, with influenza. (Pages 15–16)
- February 8, 1919 – A medical history completed in Fredericton, New Brunswick, gives details of the injury to his right ear: a perforation of the ear drum due to an infection. (Pages 42–45)
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- April to May 1917 – He arrives in England, on the SS Southland, on April 7, 1917. By May 17 he is in the field in France. (Page 13)
- June 11, 1917 – A note indicates that he was disciplined for falling in late on parade grounds. For this minor offence he was sentenced to 10 days' Field Punishment No.2, which entailed doing hard labour while in fetters (around the ankles) and handcuffs, as well as loss of pay. (Page 15)
- February 18, 1919 – He is discharged in Fredericton, New Brunswick. His discharge papers indicate that he was awarded two blue Service Chevrons for his 19 months of overseas service. (Pages 21–23)
- February 20, 1919 – After the war he intends to return to Saint John, New Brunswick. (Page 26)
- November 14, 1982 – He is featured in a Toronto Star article about a dinner held in honour of veterans who served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion. (Page 27)
The London Gazette
No records found
Military Medals Honours and Awards
No records found
In 1911, "Seamore" [Seymour] Tyler is 15 years old and living in the Sydney Ward of Saint John, New Brunswick, with his mother, Mary McCarthy (37), and his stepfather, Clarence McCarthy (36). His older brother, Elijah Tyler (18), also lives in the home, along with his four half-brothers, the sons of Mary and Clarence: Clarence (13), Harold (10), Simon (7) and James W. (5). Julia L(?) (70), listed as a mother-in-law, also lives with the family. The elder Clarence works as a teamster and the younger Clarence works as a labourer. The family is Anglican.