Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 5, 1897
Place of BirthForesters Falls, Renfrew County, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Thomas Eady (mother), Foresters Falls, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number3055063
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion21st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKingston, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentForesters Falls, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentOctober 25, 1917
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19670621
Age at Death69
Buried AtRedditt Cemetery, Redditt, Ontario

Eady, Russell Gordon

Private Russell Gordon Eady enlisted in October 1917, at age 20, and served with the 21st Battalion in the last months of the war. He returned to Canada in May 1919.

Russell was born on 5 July 1897 in Foresters Falls, Ross Township, Renfrew County, Ontario. His mother, Elizabeth Eady, was the oldest daughter in a family of twelve children. Her parents were Thomas Eady, a blacksmith, and Ellen Cowdry. Russell was raised by his grandparents and he later referred to them as his parents. His mother Elizabeth Eady married David Dunlop in August 1902 in Rat Portage, Ontario. David was from Carleton Place, Ontario and he and Elizabeth had four children: Harold and Clifford (born in Rat Portage/Kenora), Edna (born in Ross Township, Renfrew County) and Willis (born in Carleton Place). Sadly Willis died in June 1908 at age six months, Elizabeth died in September 1908 at age 28, and Edna followed in January 1909, at age 3. Elizabeth died of tuberculosis and the children of tuberculous meningitis.

When the 1911 census was taken Russell was living with his grandparents in Foresters Falls. They still had six children of their own at home as well as two infant granddaughters.  Russell’s uncle Calvin Eady, who was six months younger than him, enlisted in January 1916 and went overseas with the 130th Battalion that fall. Russell enlisted the following year, signing up in Ottawa on 25 October 1917. He joined the 1st Depot Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment and they trained at Barriefield Camp near Kingston. The unit provided drafts of men for overseas service as needed. Russell left with the 3rd Draft, embarking from Halifax on 21 February 1918 on the SS Melita and arriving in Liverpool on 4 March. In England he was assigned to the 6th Reserve Battalion and he trained with them for five months.

On 9 August Russell was transferred to the 21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion and sent to France. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, had just started and the Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months. Russell’s uncle, Calvin Eady, was wounded on 30 August and he died in England about three weeks later. The 21st Battalion took part in the assault on the Drocourt-Quéant Line in early September and the crossing of the Canal du Nord at the end of the month. On 1 October Russell was sent to a casualty clearing centre, suffering from laryngitis and bronchitis. The following day he was admitted to No. 26 General Hospital in Etaples, After about two weeks he was moved to a convalescent depot then discharged to duty on 1 November. He arrived at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on 11 November, the day the Armistice was signed, and he rejoined the 21st Battalion three days later.

Russell’s unit took part in the March to the Rhine, crossing into Germany on 6 December and staying there with the occupying forces for six weeks. On 18 December Russell was attached to the 2nd Canadian Division as a guard and when he rejoined the 21st Battalion in mid-February 1919 they were back in Belgium. At the end of March they moved to Le Havre and they returned to England on 3 April. The troops embarked for Canada on 14 May on the SS Caronia, sailing from Liverpool and landing at Halifax eight days later. The battalion had been formed in Kingston and there was a huge reception for the troops when they arrived there on Saturday, 24 May. A banquet held that night was attended by 900 soldiers and veterans.

Russell was discharged in Kingston on 25 May, with his intended residence listed as Foresters Falls. A short time later he started working for Canadian National Railway and he had a long career with them. Over the years he lived in Port Arthur, the Sioux Lookout area and Transcona (Winnipeg). By 1940 he had settled in Redditt with his wife Rauha Esther Blomquist. Esther was born in Finland in 1907, the daughter of Leander and Annie Blomquist. Her family had come to Canada in 1909 and settled in the Port Arthur area, where her father worked for the railroad.

Russell joined the Redditt branch of the Canadian Legion and he retired from the CNR in 1961. He passed away at home on 21 June 1967, two weeks before his 70th birthday. His funeral was held in Kenora three days later. His wife died in 1979, at age 72, and they are both buried in Redditt Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

Eady-Russell-90 Eady-Russell-91 Eady-Russell-92

Russell’s grave marker has his birth year as 1871 (in error); it was 1897.


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