Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 12, 1889
Place of BirthNew Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire
Service Details
BattalionGordon Highlanders
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentPrees Heath Camp, Shropshire, England
Date of EnlistmentJuly 15, 1915
Age at Enlistment26
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 13, 1969
Age at Death79
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, British Columbia

Rennie, John Ross

Lance Corporal John Ross Rennie was born in 1889 in New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His mother, Mary Rennie, married James Findlay/Finlay the following year and she had at least six children with James: Alexander, Mary, William, Leslie, Jemima and Katherine. Mary and her family immigrated to Canada around 1907 and settled in northwestern Ontario, where they took up farming near Dryden.

John had boarded at an industrial school for boys in Scotland but sometime before the war he joined his mother in Canada. The war started in August 1914 and he returned to the UK the following year. According to his Canadian Legion application, he enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders on 15 July 1915 at Prees Heath Camp, which was located in Shropshire, England. He attained the rank of Lance Corporal. During the war or shortly after it ended he was transferred to the Military Police. He was discharged on 22 December 1919 at Crewe, Cheshire, England, having served for almost four and a half years.

John returned to Canada in the fall of 1920, sailing from Liverpool on the SS Victorian and arriving in Quebec on 20 October. His family had stayed in northwestern Ontario and his half-brother William Findlay and half-sister Mary Blake were living in Kenora. John’s stepfather, James Findlay, had died in Kenora in 1918 and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. William was married on 21 December 1921 and John was one of the witnesses, his address at the time listed as Kenora. On 23 April 1927 John applied for membership in the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion. Some of his family moved to Winnipeg and by the early 1930s John was living there too.

Also living in Winnipeg at the time was Sarah Standsfield (nee Calvert), a widow who was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England. Sarah married George Standsfield and immigrated to Canada shortly after the war. They had at least four children: Jack, Florence, Eileen and Monica (Mona). George died in Winnipeg in 1937 and he’s buried in St. James Anglican Cemetery. Sometime after this John and Sarah were married. They continued to live in Winnipeg until the mid-1950s, when they moved to Vancouver.

John passed away in Valleyview Hospital in Essondale, British Columbia on 13 April 1969, at age 79. His wife had died at their home in Vancouver just 11 days earlier. John and Sarah are both buried in Mountain Vew Cemetery in Vancouver.

By Becky Johnson

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