|Date of Birth||July 1, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mary Agnes ApJohn, sister.|
|Trade / Calling||Barrister-at-Law, Ontario and Alberta|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Field Artillery|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||July 16, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||31|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 6, 1918|
|Age at Death||31|
|Buried At||Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme, France|
|Plot||IV. D. 22.|
According to his Ontario birth record Frank James ApJohn was born on 1 July 1887 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario.
As written in the Men of Canada article found in Encyclopedic Canada/Progress of a Nation, his father Francis (Frank) Joseph ApJohn had studied law in Montreal, first attending St Laurent College, then Jesu College, and finally Montreal College. At one point editor of the Winnipeg Manitoba Gazette, he moved to Rat Portage in 1880 and was eventually appointed as Master of Titles, Registrar of Deeds, Registrar of the High Court of Justice, and Associate Coroner.
During October of 1883 Frank Sr married Agnes Stackhouse in Saint John, New Brunswick, returning to Rat Portage by train on 6 November 1883. Agnes’ father James Stackhouse was a prominent shipbuilder and Alderman in Saint John. Agnes and Frank’s first child Fannie Louise was born on 5 August 1884, followed by Frank, then Mary Agnes on 10 January 1889, and Olive who was born 0n 10 July 1898. After a illness of only 10 days, Frank Joseph ApJohn died in his home on Tunnel Island on 26 April 1906 of pulmonary disease.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Frank James attended Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, being called to the bar in 1910. Returning to Kenora he and Harold Machin were the local solicitors for the Imperial Bank of Canada which opened its new building on 12 November 1910, with their offices on the second floor.
By the 1916 Canada census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Frank, along with his mother and three sisters, had moved to Edmonton. Frank continued to practice law while Fannie and Mary were employed as stenographers at the Provincial Office.
According to the Kenora Miner and News article that reported his death, Frank James ApJohn had left Edmonton in the fall of 1916, heading overseas to join the Imperial Forces. Listed in the Supplement to the London Gazette, he was appointed as Temporary Second Lieutenant with the Royal Garrison Artillery on 26 Apr 1917. On 16 July 1918 he transferred from the 230th Battery of the RGA to the 3rd Brigade of the Canadian Garrison Artillery, rank of Temp. Lieutenant.
Less than a month later, on 6 August 1918, Lieutenant Frank James ApJohn died of his wounds at the #47 Casualty Clearing Station. From the Circumstances of Death record:
Died of Wounds. During the shelling of the Battery position and billets near the ”White Chateau,’ Villers Bretonneaux, this Officer, who was on duty, was proceeding from the fighting post to the guns when a shell exploded, severing both his legs below the knees. He was taken to the advance dressing station in ‘White Chateau’ where his wounds were dressed; and from there he was evacuated to No. 47 Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed to his wounds. From the War Diary of the 8th Siege Battery, 6 August 1918: ‘Guns arrived early this a.m. and put into position. Lieut. F.J. Apjohn was wounded at the position by hostile shell fire, both legs being severed at the knees.
Frank James ApJohn is interred in the Croury British Cemetery, Croury-Sur-Somme, Somme, France. Croury is a village about 16 kilometres northwest of Amiens on the west side of the River Somme. The cemetery was used between April and August of 1918 for burials from the 5th and 47th Casualty Clearing Stations. A cable was authorized on 19 August 1918 to be sent to his mother at 9834 106th Street, Edmonton.
Frank James ApJohn is commemorated on page 360 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, on the Kenora Legion War Memorial, on the Kenora and Keewatin High Schools plaque, on The Law Society of Upper Canada Honour Roll, on the Osgoode Hall War Memorial, on two commemorative plaques located in main entrance of the Alberta Legislature in memory of all Alberta Civil Servants killed serving their country in the First and Second World Wars, and on a memorial erected by the Law Society of Alberta in memory of the barristers and students who fell during the Great War. In 1921 his medals and decorations, Scroll and Plaque, and Memorial Cross were sent to his mother Agnes c/o J J Robinson and Sons, Market Square, Saint John, New Brunswick.
Frank’s mother Agnes ApJohn died in Victoria, British Columbia on 21 July 1936. According to her obituary she had been living there for the past 9 years and was survived by two daughters, Mary Agnes who had married George Samuel Yardley just 5 days earlier on 16 July 1936, and by Olive. Both were living in the area. As there was no mention of Fannie, she must have predeceased her mother although in 1919 she published a children’s book entitled The Enchanted Island. Mary Agnes ApJohn Yardley died on 10 May 1963 in Victoria; there were no children. According to her obituary, Agnes was a 5th generation Canadian United Empire Loyalist. Olive ApJohn never married and died in Victoria 17 April 1964.
by Judy Stockham
newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News
Osgoode Hall War Memorial: Marika Pirie, CVWM
Alberta Civil Servants Memorial: The Legislative Assembly of Alberta, CVWM
Law Society of Alberta Memorial: Legal Archives Society of Alberta, CVWM
Gravemarker photo: courtesy of Len Scott, findagrave.com