Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 5, 1885
Place of BirthVincennes Township, Knox County, Indiana
CountryU.S.A.
Marital StatusWidower
Next of KinElmer Blackburn (father), 222 Vine Street, Evansville, Indiana
Trade / CallingLocomotive fireman
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number2379693
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentWest Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Enlistment11/01/1918
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death06/11/1970
Age at Death85
Buried AtHighland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana
PlotSection 15, Block N, Grave 19

Blackburn, Arthur Stanley

Private Arthur Stanley Blackburn was called up for service in January 1918 and he arrived in France seven months later. He served with the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion in the last months of the war and returned to Canada in March 1919.

Arthur Stanley (sometimes spelled Standley) was most likely born in Vincennes Township, Knox County, Indiana on 5 February 1885, although a few records list his birth place as the nearby town of Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana. His parents, Elmer and Ida, were both born in Indiana and they had two more sons: Edward, born in 1892 in Fargo, North Dakota, and Elmer, born in 1902 in Knox County, Indiana. At the time of the 1900 U.S. census the family was living in Vincennes City and Elmer was working as a switchman for the railroad. By 1910 Elmer and his wife had separated or divorced.

Arthur moved to Canada and he was married in Kenora, Ontario on 20 November 1912. He was working as a locomotive fireman and he said he’d been living in Kenora since June 1912. His wife, Nellie Marie Spork (aka Mary Helen), was 28 years old and born in Terre Haute, Indiana. Sadly, Nellie passed away in 1913 and she’s buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Terre Haute.

Conscription started in Canada in 1917 and Arthur registered as required and had his medical in Winnipeg on 30 October 1917. He was living at a hotel in Winnipeg at the time and working as a locomotive fireman out of Kenora. He was a widower and next of kin was his father Elmer in Evansville, Indiana. His mother was still living in Vincennes with her youngest son and Edward was serving in the U.S. army.

Arthur was called up on 11 January 1918 in Winnipeg and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. Depot units sent recruits overseas as needed and Arthur went with the No. 3 Draft, embarking from Halifax on 24 March on the SS Missanabie and arriving at Glasgow about ten days later. In England he was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion and he trained with them for four months. On 21 August he was drafted to a front line unit, the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field at the end of the month.

The final period of the war had started in early August and in late September the Canadian Corps crossed the Canal du Nord and advanced towards the city of Cambrai. Arthur became ill with a fever in mid-October and spent two weeks recovering in a field ambulance. When the Armistice came into effect his unit was in France, close to the Belgian border. Arthur sprained his ankle around that time and he was out of action for the next six weeks. He was taken to a hospital in Etaples then recovered at convalescent depots.

A few days before Christmas Arthur was fit for duty again and he was transferred to the Canadian Infantry Base Depot. In early January 1919 he returned to Great Britain where he spent another two months. He sailed for Canada in mid-March on the SS Cretic, disembarking at Halifax on 24 March. His train arrived in Winnipeg four days later and the troops were given a huge welcome by crowds of civilians and returned soldiers. The men were discharged on demobilization later that same day.

After the war Arthur lived in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vincennes, Indiana and it appears he never remarried. By 1930 he had settled permanently in Terre Haute, staying for awhile with a cousin, George Blackburn. Around that time he started working at the Root department store and he was with them until he retired. He passed away at Webster Nursing Home on 6 November 1970, at age 85. He was survived by his youngest brother, Edwin, of Los Angeles. Arthur is buried at Highland Lawn Cemetery in Terre Haute. His mother Ida (1867-1929) is also interred there.

By Becky Johnson


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