First World War Veterans at the LAI

Following the First World War, a number of Canadian veterans found themselves in the London Asylum. In a memorandum from 1927, all ex-servicemen and one nursing sister are listed by the superintendent. This memo includes a brief description of their symptoms, diagnosis, and the conditions of war that led to their committal. Many of the veterans listed were not diagnosed with mental illness until well after the war. Often veterans had a difficult time adjusting to life at home, and turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

*Names of veterans have been altered to ensure privacy. Click here to see the full list of veterans receiving treatment at the hospital.

Select veterans receiving care:
Patient: C. A.
Year of birth: 1892
Enlisted: Drafted under Military Service Act; Signed up January 8, 1918.
Details: Served in France, wounded, discharged in 1919.
Diagnosis: Dementia Praecox, Paranoid (Schizophrenic, with severe anxiety or fear, to the point of delusion)

Patient: C. B.
Year of birth: 1894
Enlisted: Volunteer; Signed up June 17, 1915
Details: Served in France. Prisoner of War in Germany until May 1919. Punished with seclusion while a POW, for attempted escape. Admitted July 1924.
Diagnosis: Dementia Praecox, Catatonic (Schizophrenic, characterized with intense negativity, mutism, stupor, or difficulties in movement)

Patient: J.D.
Year of birth: 1898
Enlisted: Volunteer; Signed up November 10, 1916
Details: Arrived in France August 1917. Gassed at Passchendale in November 1917. Admitted to Ontario Hospital, London March 1927.
Diagnosis: General Paresis (Mental illness caused by an unchecked syphilis infection)

Patient: B. D.
Year of Birth: Unknown
Enlisted: June 1915; Nursing Sister
Details: Served in France July 1915 to November 1916. Discharged April 1916. Hospitalized from April 1916 onwards.
Diagnosis: Manic Depressive, Manic (Currently referred to as bi-polar disorder)