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Private George Cardozo: A Jamaican Hero in the 4th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force

The First World War witnessed the heroic contributions of individuals from various backgrounds and nations, united in their commitment to the cause. Among these brave soldiers was Private George Cardozo, a Jamaican who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and made significant sacrifices as part of the 4th Battalion. Let us delve into the life and contributions of this remarkable individual. Pte Cardozo, born on 14 November, 1892, in Kingston, Jamaica, displayed a strong sense of duty and enlisted in the CEF on 22 September, 1914. He joined the 4th Battalion, which was raised in Canada as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force for service during the First World War. He was a bugler also.

Trained at the Ravina Barracks in Toronto, Pte Cardozo exhibited remarkable determination and resilience. However, his service file reveals a momentary lapse when he faced disciplinary action, forfeiting five days’ pay and spending eight days in detention for being absent for five days. Yet, these minor setbacks do not define his character or overshadow his contributions to the war effort. This infantry battalion quickly embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom, sailing from Quebec on the SS Tyrolia on 17 October, 1914.

After a period of training in the United Kingdom, the 4th Battalion was deployed to the Western Front, where it remained in France and Belgium until the end of the war. This unit played a crucial role in the conflicts of the time, enduring the hardships and dangers of trench warfare. The battalion’s personnel demonstrated immense bravery and resilience as they faced the challenges and sacrifices of the war. Tragically, Pte Cardozo’s life was cut short during the Second Battle of Ypres, a turning point in the war marked by the first use of poison gas by the Germans. His death occurred between 22 and 26 April, 1915, during this intense battle. Like many others, his remains were likely never recovered. Today, his memory is honored and perpetuated at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium, a testament to his sacrifice.

Pte Cardozo’s service file provides valuable insights into his background. He was born to Uriah Cardozo and Marie Nicholson, hailing from Aux Cayes, Haiti, West Indies. His early education took place at the Petit Séminaire College, St. Martial, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and later at St. George’s College in Kingston, Jamaica. The 4th Battalion’s history is intertwined with Pte Cardozo’s story. It was raised in Valcartier on 2 September, 1914, drawing recruits from the 2nd Military District encompassing Aurora, Brampton, Brantford, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W.S. Buell, the battalion set sail from Quebec on 3 October, 1914, arriving in the United Kingdom on 14 October, 1914. The battalion underwent further training before being deployed to the Western Front. At the conclusion of the war, the 4th Battalion returned to Canada in mid-1919 and was disbanded in 1920.

Private Pte Cardozo’s story exemplifies the sacrifices made by individuals who left their homes and families to serve their adopted country. His contribution as part of the 4th Battalion reflects the courage and resilience displayed by countless soldiers during the First World War.

We honor the memory of Pte George Cardozo and recognize his place among the heroes of the 4th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. His selflessness and bravery are a testament to the profound impact made by individuals from all walks of life during times of war. May we never forget the sacrifices of those like George, who fought and gave their lives for the freedom and peace we enjoy today.

The Latin American Soldiers in Canada Committee’s mission is to publicize the names and stories of Canadian-Latinos who were part of the Canadian Armed Forces.

By Cap Rey Garcia-Salas