Despatch Runner Thomas Charles Longboat

Regimental Number:
862805
Survived War:
Yes
Force:
Army
Regiment:
Canadian Engineers
Battalion:
2nd CE Battalion
Company:
Headquarters
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Enlisted
Prior Military Experience:
Yes
Enlistment Date:
February 17, 1916
Age at Enlistment:
28
Enlisted at:
Brantford, Ontario
Address at Enlistment:
Caledonia, Ontario
Civilian Occupation:
Professional Runner
Saw Service in:
Europe
Date of Death:
January 9, 1949
Age at Death:
61
Cause of Death:
Survived
Battle Died/Wounded:
Wounded
Burial:
Six Nations Grand River Reserve Cemetery, Ontario
Plot:
Commemorated:
Canadian Sports Hall of Fame
 
Date of Birth:
June 4, 1887
Next of Kin:
Loretta Longboat, wife. Caledonia, Ontario
Place of Birth:
Brantford, Ontario
Country of Birth:
Canada
Prisoner of War:
No
Interned:
Married:
Married
Religion:
Church of England
Height:
5 Feet 11 Inches
Chest:
40 Inches
Expansion:
5 Inches
Ethnic Origin:
Native American
   
NAC Reference:
Rank Regiment Unit Company
Private
Canadian Infantry
180th Battalion
Despatch Runner
Canadian Engineers
107th Pioneer Battalion
Headquarters
Lance-Corporal
Canadian Infantry
180th Battalion
Private
Canadian Infantry
125th Battalion
Despatch Runner
Canadian Engineers
2nd CE Battalion
Headquarters
Awards and Decorations
Notes

An Onondaga from the Six Nations Grand River Reserve, a world champion long-distance runner. In 1907, he won the Boston Marathon. In 1909 he won the world professional marathon championships at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. As a despatch carrier with the 107th Pioneer Battalion in France, Longboat ran messages and orders between units. He also kept in competitive form by racing in inter-battalion sporting contests, many of which he won. At the 1918 Canadian Corps Dominion Day competitions, Longboat won the eight-mile [13-kilometre] race.

The famous runner was wounded twice during his time of service. Once he was declared dead, but he survived the war and returned to Canada in 1919 [Wounds are not shown in Longboat's military service record, which would have shown such casualties. This information may have come from reporting errors by the Press, or rumours]. Tom Longboat died in 1949 at the age of 62. He is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Indian Hall of Fame.

Research Notes

180th Battalion Nominal Roll 

His Onondaga Indian name was Cogwagee