Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 28, 1880
Place of BirthCharleston, Queens County, Nova Scotia
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Louise McKenna, wife, Milton, Queens County, Nova Scotia
Trade / CallingMechanic
ReligionBaptist
Service Details
Regimental Number514220
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo 2 Overseas Training Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentHalifax, Nova Scotia
Age at Enlistment37
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 20, 1949
Age at Death69
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot53E-42-1

McKenna, John Archibald

Although the family lived in Mill Village, Queen’s County, Nova Scotia, John Archibald (Jack) McKenna was born on 1 February 1880 in nearby Charleston. Both of his parents Joseph McKenna and Mary Jane Arthur were from Nova Scotia, marrying in 1869 in Liverpool. Over the years Joseph’s occupation was given as labourer on the censuses, likely involved in the logging and lumber industries that the area was known for. Jack had five known older siblings, Florence, Walter, Ellen, Gorham, and Aubrey, and younger siblings Ernest, William, Augustus, Annie, Ingram, and Hilda.

On 8 September 1903, in Liverpool, Jack married Louisa Adelaide Winters. Born in 1883, Louisa was the daughter of George and Louisa Winters of Liverpool. At the time of the marriage Jack’s occupation was given as barber. Jack and Louisa gave birth to known children Vera Louise (1904-1917), Isabelle Marie (1906-1906), James Borden (1907-1982), Joseph Lorin (Lorne) (1909-1989), Roger Bernard (1912-1914), Archibald (1914-1914), Ronald, Ella, and another daughter, forename unknown.

With occupation given as mechanic, place of birth as Mill Village, and his wife Louisa in Milton, Queens, Nova Scotia as next of kin, Jack signed his attestation papers with the MD #2 Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot on 16 March 1917 in Halifax. Although initially found medically fit, a short time later it was discovered that Jack had a mitral systolic heart murmur. He was discharged from service on 30 April 1917 in Toronto as medically unfit. His character was described as exemplary.

Sadly, according to his obituary, Jack’s wife Louisa died in 1929 although a transcription for the Trinity Cemetery in Liverpool, Nova Scotia gives her year of death as 1939, likely an error. At some point after her death Jack moved to northwestern Ontario where he worked as a chef in camps throughout the area. Jack died on 20 September 1949 in the Kenora General Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by sons Lorne of Confederation Lake, Borden of Miami, Florida, and Ronald of Vancouver and daughters Ella Costello of Toronto and Mrs ND Finney of Halifax. Jack is interred in an unmarked grave in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. The Trinity Cemetery transcription also lists a marker for him with his wife Louisa.

By Judy Stockham

McKenna-John-Archibald-2

Photograph of John taken in 1941 in Red Lake, courtesy of Lauren Castello on ancestry.ca
John’s grave marker was installed in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund


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