Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 6, 1880
Place of BirthBrampton, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Birdie M. Mullin (wife), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingDentist
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number241
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Army Dental Corps
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Dental Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 10, 1916
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 7, 1947
Age at Death66
Buried AtRoyal Oak Burial Park, Victoria, British Columbia

Mullin, John Alexander McDonald

Sergeant John Alexander McDonald Mullin was a dentist living in Kenora, Ontario when he enlisted in the spring of 1916. He joined the Canadian Army Dental Corps and served overseas for two years.

John was born on 6 July 1880 in Brampton, Ontario, the youngest of at least eight children. His parents were John Turner Mullin, a physician, and Mary Ann Lamb. He attended dental school and by 1908 he was living in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario and working as a dentist. He married a local girl, Birdie Minnorah Swanson, on 27 October 1908. Birdie, the daughter of George and Annie Swanson, was employed as a dental assistant. Shortly after their marriage John and Birdie moved to Lethbridge, Alberta and their only daughter Amy Isobel was born there in 1909. A son, John Walter George, was born in 1915.

Around the time the war started John and his wife returned to Kenora. In the spring of 1916 he went to Winnipeg to enlist, signing up on 10 March with the Canadian Army Dental Corps. He was sent overseas that fall, embarking from Halifax on the SS Olympic on 13 October and arriving in Liverpool ten days later. John spent the next two years serving as a dentist for several different units in England, including the 18th Reserve Battalion, the 144th Battalion, Granville Canadian Special Hospital and No. 5 Canadian General Hospital. In November 1916 he was promoted to Sergeant. He became ill with influenza in March 1917 and spent two weeks in the Military Hospital at Eastbourne.

In July 1918 John was transferred to the Dental Corps’ General Depot to await his return to Canada, where he planned to finish his dental license. He embarked from Liverpool on the City of Poona on 22 September and arrived in Montreal two weeks later. He was officially discharged in Winnipeg on 3 December. Birdie’s brother George Swanson had enlisted in 1915 and he served overseas with the 44th Battalion. He was wounded at the Battle of Hill 70 but survived the war.

John and Birdie moved back to Alberta in 1919 and settled in the town of Claresholm, about 50 km northwest of Lethbridge. John had a long career there as a dental surgeon. His wife became ill and she returned to Kenora in early July 1928. She died at St. Joseph’s Hospital on 27 July, at age 40, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. John’s second wife, Alice May Copley, grew up on a ranch near Calgary and her sister was a nurse at Claresholm Hospital. John and Alice had one son, Brian. John’s daughter Amy attended a college on Vancouver Island and trained to be a teacher. She was teaching at a school in Cadomin, Alberta when she passed away in May 1937, at age 27. Her funeral was held in Claresholm and she’s buried in Claresholm Cemetery.

Around 1943 John and Alice moved to British Columbia. He retired in 1946 and passed away in Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital on 7 April 1947, at age 66. He’s buried in Royal Oak Burial Park. His wife Alice died in 1968. His oldest son John served as a Flying Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force and he passed away in 1979, at age 64.

By Becky Johnson

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