Norman Falkner


Mar 29, 1894

Born at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada


Apr 20, 1916

Attested into the 96th Battalion at Saskatoon Sask. 

Ø      Number 204763

Ø      Next of kin given as Mrs Judith Weaver (mother) of Melfort PO, Sask. Canada

Ø      Present address given as 524 Spidina Crescent, Saskatoon, Sask.

Ø      Previous occupation given as “Draftsman”

Ø      Stated to be single

Ø      No previous military experience listed

Ø      Religion given as “Church of England”


Jul 27, 1916

Promoted to Provisional Lance Corporal


Sep 18, 1916

Last Will and Testament filled in leaving everything to his mother, Mrs Judith Weaver of Melfort Saskatchewan


Sep 27, 1916

Embarked SS Laconia at Halifax for England


(Torpedoed and sunk in 1917)


Oct 6, 1916

Disembarked at Liverpool England – proceeded to East Sandling Camp and appointed Acting Lance Corporal


Oct 8, 1916

SOS (Struck Off Strength) and Transferred to 92nd Battalion and TOS (Taken On Strength) at East Sandling Camp


Jan 1, 1917

Appointed Acting Corporal with pay


Jan 4, 1917

Transferred to 5th Reserve Battalion at East Sandling Camp, Bramshott


Jan 20, 1917

Transferred to 21st Battalion


Jan 21, 1917

Arrived at 21st Battalion Canadian Base Depot (CBD) – reverts to permanent rank of Private – this was reversed the same day


Jan 22, 1917

Left to join 21st Battalion in the field


Feb 20, 1917

Reverts to permanent rank of Pte, then appointed rank of Lance Corporal


Jul 17, 1917

Wounded by exploding shell – shrapnel entered right calf and severed arteries – wound not dressed for 8 hours


Jul 19, 1917

Admitted No 58 Casualty Clearing Stn (CCS) with a “dangerous wound to right leg”


Jul 20, 1917

Right leg amputated below knee


Jul 24, 1917

Transferred to No 26 General Hospital Etaples


Jul 30, 1917

Transferred to Northamptonshire War Hospital Duston, and posted to Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot (EORD) for administrative purposes


Sep 7, 1917

Right leg amputated 6” above knee


Nov 20, 1917

Transferred to Sulby Hall Auxiliary Hospital


Feb 19, 1918

Transferred to Northamptonshire War Hospital Duston


Feb 26, 1918

Transferred to Granville Cdn Special Hospital Buxton 

Peg leg recommended


Mar 7, 1918

Medical report at Granville Cdn Special Hospital Buxton 

Ø      Right leg has been amputated 6” above knee

Ø      Wound caused by Shrapnel and infection in the Lens area in 1917

Ø      Recommended that he be invalided to Canada


May 28, 1918

No 5 Canadian General Hospital, Liverpool


Jun 6, 1918

SOS EORD and Embarked HMHS Llandovery Castle (a hospital ship) at Liverpool for Canada


Jun 17, 1918

Disembarked at Halifax


Jun 20, 1918

Admitted to Whitby Military Hospital and granted leave until July 4, 1918 

According to pay records, this leave was cancelled


Jun 27, 1918

Attached to No 2 District Depot (DD)


Jul 9, 1918

Reported that he has had some teeth extracted and has not been measured for a leg as yet


Jul 22, 1918

Granted leave with substance to Aug 21, 1918


Aug 7, 1918

To be measured for a leg


Aug 21, 1918

Leave extended to September 5, 1918


Nov 3, 1918

Foot on artificial limb adjusted


Nov 12, 1918

Absent without leave (AWL) until 10.00 pm November 13


Nov 15, 1918

Artificial limb to be shortened ¼ “


Dec 12, 1918

Knee to be repaired


Dec 23, 1918

Transferred to No 12 District Depot Regina Sask


Jan 24, 1919

Medical History compiled at Regina Sask. 

Ø      Next of kin given as Mrs George Weaver (mother) of 3006 15th Street W Calgary Alta

Ø      Wound reported as happening July 17, 1917 at Lens France by a shell explosion

Ø      Has a well fitting artificial limb

Ø      Stump is painless

Ø      Recommended that former occupation can only be “partially” resumed

Ø      Recommended that he be discharged


Jan 28, 1919

Medical Board at St Chad’s Hospital, Regina states: 

Ø      He was transferred from Whitby Ontario for the purpose of being discharged

Ø      No treatment is recommended

Ø      He has an artificial leg


Jan 29, 1919

Discharged at Regina Saskatchewan as medically unfit (leg amputation) 

Ø      Total service – 2 years and 285 days

Ø      Entitled to wear 1 casualty stripe

Ø      Entitled to wear 3 blue chevrons


Oct 1, 1924

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to Apt 4 – 85 Wilson Ave, Toronto Ontario



Toronto Star, October 24, 1980 

No hospital room for vet 

By Pat McNealy Toronto Star

            Sixty-three years ago, Norman Falkner of Richview Rd. lost a leg to shrapnel in the bloody, muddy fields of Flanders. 

            But when the 86 year old war veteran—suffering with an aching stump and dizzy spells that make him fall—went to Sunnybrook Medical Centre for treatment and examination the other day, he was told to come back in three weeks. 

            The hospital was originally built as a veterans’ hospital and still has a special wing for them. 

            Falkner, who is worried about the dizzy spells, was shocked by the long wait.  “This is the first time I’ve been turned away,” he remarked sadly in an interview.

Figure skater 

            Falkner, who served with the 21st Battalion, is a doughty and determined man, little given to complaining about the loss of a limb in serving his country. 

            When doctors removed his right leg above the knee on July 16, 1917, after shrapnel from an exploding shell had cut through arteries, Falkner was determined he would not be a cripple. 

            Despite painful falls, while at a convalescent home in 1918 he mastered figure skating and was acclaimed “the world’s only one-legged skater.” 

            He skated professionally for 15 years and has continued his lifelong attachment to sports.  He is still an avid golfer and played his last game of the year three weeks ago. 

            Falkner, who wears an artificial limb, is a former Ontario Hydro supervisor with 38 ½ years’ service. 

            “I’ve been falling all my life but this is a different kind of fall—a fall I don’t have any control over,” he said. 

            Three days ago he cut his lip in a fall. 

            Falkner said he was turned away from the hospital while clerks employed by the department of Veterans Affairs were on strike.  “They said they didn’t have anyone to see me,” he said. 

            Before it was taken over by the University of Toronto as a teaching hospital in 1966, Sunnybrook was synonymous with veterans. 

            The huge 1,200 bed hospital in a park-like setting on Bayview Ave. was built as a monument to Canada’s fighting men and women.  In opening it in 1948, Prime Minister Mackenzie King described it as “a symbol of the nation’s gratitude.” 

            At the hospital’s cornerstone-laying ceremony, Ian Mackenzie, minister of pensions and national health, paraphrased Abraham Lincoln in boasting that no nation had surpassed Canada in the provision of care “for him who shall have borne the battle.” 

            There are some veterans who question that claim today. 

            There are delays and waiting lists for veterans seeking admission to Sunnybrook and most of the other veterans’ institutions across Canada. 

Priority for veterans 

            The agreement between Ottawa and the U of T provided for a new building with at least 400 beds for veterans needing domiciliary or extended care and priority for them in the hospital’s 535 active care beds. 

            Sunnybrook spokesman Gary Cousins says the university has kept its promise because it is providing 170 extra domiciliary and extended care beds and the priority for veterans still applies for the other beds. 

            Before U of T took over in 1966, about half of Sunnybrook’s beds were empty. 

            But the more than 400,000 veterans entitled to care—one third of them in Ontario—are getting older, requiring more hospital care than was considered necessary in 1966. 

            Veterans entitled to pensions for wounds or disabilities resulting from their military service are given free treatment, while those who served overseas are entitled to priority treatment at Sunnybrook and the few other veterans’ hospitals remaining. 

            “This is an old story,” Ed Slater, director of the service bureau of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command, said in referring to Falkner’s plight. 

Local doctors 

            “This is something we are concerned about.  We have been after DVA to provide more beds,” Slater said.   He added that the department doesn’t want to spend more money on veterans’ facilities because it prefers that veterans use their local doctors and hospitals 

            “There’s no reason he (Falkner) should have been turned away,” says Reg Cleator, the legion’s provincial secretary. 

            Cleator said it took a tragedy earlier to tighten up the hospital’s policy on veterans’ admissions. 

            He said a veteran tried unsuccessfully some years ago to get into a Scarborough hospital so his wife then took him to Sunnybrook.  But he was turned down there too and died. 

            As a result, it became hospital policy that no entitled veteran would be turned away without being referred to the senior treatment officer in the veterans’ section of the hospital, Cleator said. 

            With the present tight hospital bed situation resulting from the provincial government’s budget restraints, “The agreement is meaningless as far as acute treatment beds are concerned,” Cleator said. 

            He says veteran status doesn’t mean anything to some of the hospital’s staff.  “Some of the young interns don’t care if you are a veteran.  You’re just a patient to them.”

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