William Foster Lickers

Portrait of William Foster Lickers

William Foster Lickers (1887 –1938) was a Mohawk from the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario. He was a rubber worker before enlisting at Grimsby, Ontario, on September 20, 1914. He arrived in France with the 15th Battalion on February 15, 1915. During the Second Battle of Ypres, Lickers was captured by German soldiers. Due to racial prejudice, many First Nations soldiers were singled out by the Germans for harsh treatment. Lickers was treated so severely by his captors that he was disabled for the rest of his life. He died on April 18, 1938, at the age of 50. He is buried at Queen’s Lawn Cemetery in Grimsby, Ontario.

More information about Lickers may be found on the website of the Great War Centenary Association.

Service Record Details

Documents d’attestation

Date of Birth: October 10, 1887

Date of Attestation: September 20, 1914

Age at Enlistment: 27 years

Prior Military Service: No

Height: 5 feet, 5 inches

Weight: Not indicated

Description: Dark complexion, black eyes, dark hair. Mole on left upper lip.

Home Address: Brantford, Ontario

Trade:  Rubber Worker

Married: No (He marries in England in December 1918.)

Details of Family: Not indicated

Next of Kin: Mrs. Johnson (Relationship not stated)

Theatre of War: France, Belgium

Casualties / Medical History

  • May 1915 – When Lickers goes missing he is at first presumed killed in action. His status is later changed to prisoner of war. He is being held in Göttingen, Germany. (Page 7)
  • October 10, 1918 – He is treated for myalgia (muscle pain). He complains of pain in his back and head and says he is sometimes unable to walk. He is transferred to the Canadian General Hospital at Orpington near London. (Page 13)
  • March 8, 1919 – Upon being repatriated he undergoes a thorough medical examination at Witley Camp. (Pages 29–32)
  • Undated – A medical report indicates that he was injured by a tree falling across his back. This put him in hospital for five months. He subsequently experiences pain when breathing and stepping heavily, and has a slight backward curvature of the spine. (Page 19)
Attestation Papers

Interesting Details from the Service Record

  • October 4, 1914 – He sails from Quebec on the SS Megantic. (Page 44)
  • January 1, 1916 – He arranges for a portion of his assigned pay to be sent each month to Miss M. Sutton, living on Cable Street in Formby. (Pages 54 and 57)
  • 1915 to 1918 – On June 5, 1915, he is reported to be a prisoner of war. A note written on April 27, 1917, indicates that he is “reported transferred to Hameln,” where the German army had a work camp. By June 1918 he is interned in Holland. (Page 5)
  • October 7, 1918 – He is repatriated and admitted to King George Hospital in Hanford, England. (Page 6)
  • December 30, 1918 – He is married at St. Peter’s Church in Formby, near Liverpool.  (Page 6)
  • March 3, 1919 – A medical report completed at Witley Camp lists his wife as Mrs. M. S. Lickers and his former occupation as farmer. He reports that he worked in salt mines for two years as a prisoner of war. (Pages 29–30)
  • April 1919 – He returns to Canada and is officially discharged from service on April 23, 1919, in Saint John, New Brunswick. His discharge papers note that he served in France for three months before being captured and held in Germany for 38 months. (Pages 8–10)
  • July 5, 1938 – After his death, his widow lives at 136 Maple Avenue in Grimsby, Ontario. (Pages 50–51)

The London Gazette

  • No records found

Military Medals Honours and Awards

  • No records found

Census Records

  • No records found   
Date modified: