Fred Lawson joined the 89th Battalion of the CEF in Red Deer, Alberta in 1915, and soon afterwards transferred to the 10th Infantry Battalion in Calgary.
He arrived in France in early 1915 and fought with the battalion during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, where they were among the first troops exposed to deadly gas released by the Germans during the attack. He also likely fought in the counter-attack at Kitchener's Wood where the 10th Battalion suffered heavy casualties.
The following year in 1916 he fought in the Battle of the Somme, and in the spring of 1917, the 10th Battalion took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
On Easter Monday, April 9th, 1917 at Vimy Ridge, Fred was among those who crawled from the forward trenches at pre-dawn behind a 1,000 gun barrage to face German machine guns and murderous shrapnel from high explosives. The all-Canadian assault consisted of 16 Battalions and some 30,000 men, and is recognized as a defining moment in Canadian history.
The battle resulted in a loss of 3,600 men killed and 7,000 wounded. Fred was amoung them when an exploding shell inflicted severe shrapnel injuries to his leg, and then not long afterwards, he received a gunshot wound to his arm. He fell into a shell hole in no man's land from which he was rescued hours later and some days later repatriated to England to recover. This was the end of Fred's service in France.
Following his convalescence in late 1918, Fred was promoted to Sergeant and he volunteered for the expeditionary force bound for Russia to face the Bolshevik uprising.
He joined the 16th Canadian Brigade Headquarters unit, one of two Canadian Field Artillery Battalions sent to join up with a British, American and French force at Murmansk. The force marched across the frozen White Sea in the Fall to take up positions at Archangel for reconnaissance.
Fred was wounded in the back from Cossack gunfire and shortly thereafter the expeditionary force was rescued from dire straights due to lack of armament and other supplies by a British ship sent to pick them up when the ice cleared sufficiently to allow the ship to reach Archangel.
Sergeant Lawson received his honorary discharge on July 18th, 1919. As a result of his wounds, Fred was a patient of the Colonel Belcher hospital many times throughout the rest of his life. He was everlastingly grateful to the staff for their dedication in serving the needs of the veterans in such an unselfish and caring manner.