Unreserved

Remembering Percy Roy Lickers: An Indigenous soldier who died on the battlefield in WW I

Falen Johnson is guest hosting Unreserved this week, the show is all about contributions made by Indigenous veterans. Johnson recently learned her great uncle, Percy Roy Lickers, died in battle in WW I.
Falen Johnson holds a replica flag for the 114th Battalion. Her great uncle, Percy Roy Lickers, was part of that unit. (Evan Aagaard/CBC)

By Falen Johnson

In 2012, while Canada was in the midst of honouring those who had fought in the war of 1812, The Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario held an exhibition.  

It was designed to honour the contribution of Indigenous soldiers who had participated in war efforts.

LISTEN: Falen Johnson guest hosts Unreserved's episode dedicated to Indigenous veterans

The exhibition was titled, War Clubs & Wampum Belts: Haudenosaunee Experiences of the War of 1812.  Any First Nations person who attended and could demonstrate lineage to a veteran, was presented with a replica flag for the 114th Battalion.

This regimental flag was created by the women of The Six Nations Patriotic League and depicts the five clans along with Haudenosaunee symbols.

During WW I the 114th Battalion was comprised of men from county Haldimand, one third being from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Percy Roy Lickers, was Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Oshweken, Ontario. (Veterans Affairs Canada)

One of these men was my great uncle, Percy Roy Lickers. He was Onondaga/Delaware and his mother was Canadian/British.

It was during the exhibition at The Woodland Cultural Centre that I learned about my great uncle's connection to the 114th Battalion for the very first time.

Prior to this exhibition I had no idea, which made me feel terrible but also gave me pause to think about why exactly I didn't know about my great uncle. Who was Percy Roy Lickers?

My sister Naomi is our family genealogist, she did some digging to learn more about him but even then, there wasn't much to find. The fact is, if he hadn't enlisted we probably would know even less.

From his attestation paper I know he was married to Edna Maude Lickers, that he lived in Tuscarora Township and that on February 18th, 1916 he swore an elegance to King George V.

I also know Percy Roy Lickers was killed on the battlefield and was buried in Pas de Calais, France on August 7, 1917 at the age of 24.

One day I will to go to his grave and pay my respects because even if he didn't get to come home, I hope I can bring a bit of home to him.

I also hope he somehow knows that I am trying to remember.
 

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