Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of Birth1902
Place of BirthBradford, Yorkshire
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
Battalion2/6 West Riding Regiment
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Place of EnlistmentKeighley, Yorkshire, England
Date of EnlistmentMarch 10, 1918
Age at Enlistment15
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 24, 1966
Age at Death64
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Millings, John Richardson

John “Jack” Richardson Millings was born on 27 October 1902 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. His name was registered as Jack Richardson and he was born in the Horton Union Workhouse. His mother, Lily Richardson, was single and her usual residence was 99 Clayton Street in Bradford. She worked as a worsted spinner.

At some point Jack was adopted by Albert Millings and his wife Isabella/Isabel Crook. Albert was born in the village of Wilsden near Bradford and he worked as a labourer, green grocer and brewer’s drayman. Isabel was born in Thompson, Norfolk. They were married in Yorkshire in 1891 and had no children of their own.

Albert immigrated to Canada in 1906 and settled in the Eagle River area in northwestern Ontario, where he took up farming. Isabel and Jack joined him there the following year. When the 1911 census was taken the family was living in Aubrey Township and Jack was listed as a son. Isabel and Jack returned to England for a visit that same year, sailing from St. John, New Brunswick in March 1911 on the Empress of Ireland. When the 1911 census of England was taken they were staying with Isabel’s married sister, Sarah Ann Titchmarsh, in Bradford, Yorkshire. They returned to Canada in November 1911, sailing on the Empress of Ireland again.

The war started in August 1914 and Albert enlisted a year later, in September 1915. He was about 44 years old at the time and he signed up in the nearby town of Dryden, joining the 52nd Battalion. His occupation was butcher. His medical exam found him unfit for service, due to varicose veins, and he was discharged in October. Albert enlisted a second time in January 1916 in Dryden, this time joining the 94th Battalion. His occupation was farmer and next of kin was his wife Isabel in Eagle River. He headed overseas with his unit in June 1916 and served in the UK for the next two and a half years. Isabel and Jack moved back to England in the fall of 1916, arriving in Glasgow in November on the SS Pretorian. They lived in Keighley, North Yorkshire. Sadly, Isabel died in England on 26 April 1918.

According to his Canadian Legion membership application, Jack enlisted in Keighley on 10 March 1918 and served with the 2/6 West Riding Regiment in the British army. He would have been just 15 years old at the time and he likely served only in the UK. The war ended on 11 November and he was discharged on 30 November. Albert was stationed in Bramshott, Hampshire during that time. He had been given permission to remarry in June 1918. He married Miss Elizabeth King, whom he called his cousin and the guardian of Jack. Albert served in England until late December. He sailed back to Canada with Elizabeth and Jack on the SS Scandinavian, arriving in St. John on 10 January 1919. He was discharged on demobilization on 8 February in Winnipeg.

Albert and his wife settled in Aubrey Township and when the 1921 census was taken he was working as a meat store keeper. Jack was married in Dryden on 11 May 1929. His wife, Margaret Beulah Spicer, was born in 1906 in Port Elmsley, Ontario, the daughter of Richard Spicer and Christina Tole. On the marriage registration Jack listed his parents as A. Millings and L. King. He was employed as a fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railway at the time and he went on to have a long career with the company.

Not long after they were married Jack and Margaret moved to Kenora. They had two children, Bernice Margaret and Orville John. Jack became an engineer with the CPR and retired around 1961. Afterwards he worked as a stationary engineer with the Ontario Department of Highways. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion (Kenora branch), Pequonga Lodge and Knox United Church. His stepmother Elizabeth died in Aubrey Township in 1940 and she’s buried in Eagle River Cemetery.

Jack died in a car accident in Kenora on 24 October 1966. His funeral was held three days later, on what would have been his birthday, and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His obituary and grave marker have 1900 as his year of birth but census records and passenger manifests from his early life confirm a birth year of 1902. His wife died in 1979 and she’s buried beside him. Their daughter Bernice (Mrs. Edwin James Bunn) (1929-2005) is also interred in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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