|Date of Birth||June 28, 1889|
|Place of Birth||Kidderminster, Worcestershire|
|Next of Kin||William Gardner, father, Kidderminster, England|
|Trade / Calling||Lumberman|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Age at Enlistment||26|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Medal|
|Date of Death||24/09/1953|
|Age at Death||64|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
The first born child of the family, John Henry Gardner was born on 28 June 1889 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England. His parents William, a bricklayer by trade, and Nina Elizabeth (née Whitehouse), a dressmaker, had married during the first quarter of 1888 in Kidderminster. Other children born to the family were Frederick (1893) and Frank (1898).
John was found on the passenger list of the SS Lake Erie that arrived in Canada on 9 March 1907, destination given as Winnipeg, purpose to attend school. Accounts differ as to when he moved to the Rat Portage (later named Kenora) and Keewatin area but after a stint as working as a cookee on he construction of the Grand Trunk Railway, he found employment doing bush work with the Rat Portage Lumber Company.
John Henry Gardner enlisted in Winnipeg on 6 November 1915, occupation given as lumberman. With a ruddy complexion, light gray eyes and dark brown hair, he was 26 years of age. On 31 May 1916 he embarked from Halifax on the SS Olympic with the 90th Battalion. Once overseas he was briefly attached to the 11th and 78th Battalions before being taken on strength with the 24th in October. In January of 1917 he sustained a shrapnel wound to his leg requiring hospitalization followed by a bout of laryngitis in February. In late October he was granted a 10 day leave to England.
On 6 November 1917, Private John Gardner was awarded a Good Conduct Stripe followed by the Military Medal on 19 February 1918.
John was granted his next leave of 14 days to the UK on November 6th, rejoining his unit on the 25th. The following April he returned to England and then on to Canada in May.
Returning to Kenora, John once again was involved in the lumber industry. He travelled back to England in September of 1921 for an extended stay, arriving back in Canada the following February. In 1926, back in Kidderminster, he married Eleanor Edwards during the third quarter. John returned to Canada in late September. Over the years he worked for the Keewatin Lumber Company as a cruiser, foreman on the drive, and then became camp foreman, a position he held for over twenty years although the company changed hands. He was also a scaler at one point as well as a captain on one of the Lake of the Woods steamboats. In his later years he was employed by the Department of Lands and Forest at their Lakeside base. He was a member of St Alban’s Pro Cathedral, Lake of the Woods Masonic Lodge, and the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.
Predeceased by his mother Nina in 1937 and his father William in 1940, both in Kidderminster, John William Gardner passed away while at work on 24 September 1953. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. His brother Frederick died in 1963, his wife Eleanor in 1964, and brother Frank in 1978, all in Kidderminster. John’s gravemarker was replace in 2015.
By Judy Stockham