Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 18, 1901
Place of BirthDistrict of Rainy River, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Isabelle Sherman (mother), Wynyard, Saskatchewan
Trade / CallingCPR Roundhouse man/wiper
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number1250977
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion77th Depot Battery
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentRegina, Saskatchewan
Address at EnlistmentWynyard, Saskatchewan
Date of EnlistmentMay 4, 1918
Age at Enlistment16
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 24, 1979
Age at Death77

Archibald, John Edward

Gunner John Edward Archibald enlisted underage when he was 16 years old. He served in Canada for three months and was discharged in August 1918 due to being a minor.

John was born on 18 October 1901 in the district of Rainy River, Ontario. His mother, Isabella Maud Dearden, was from Montreal and his father, John Leith Archibald, was born in Ottawa. John Sr. worked in Rat Portage, Ontario as a bookkeeper and lumber scaler. John had an older brother Allan Clark (b.1898) and a younger brother Joseph Arthur (b.1903), both born in Rat Portage (renamed Kenora in 1905). Joseph’s late birth registration, issued in 1920, states that their father died in October 1904.

Isabella married her second husband, James Elliott Sherman, in 1905 in Kenora. James was born in Pembroke, Ontario and worked as a locomotive fireman. Their son Charles Leslie was born in Kenora in November 1906. By 1910 Elliott and his wife had moved to Saskatchewan where he was employed as a locomotive engineer. At the time of the 1911 census they were living in Saskatoon and the household included John, Joseph and a daughter Laura, age one. Isabella’s oldest son, Allan, was living in Detroit, Michigan with an uncle and aunt, James and Mary Blyth.

Allan returned to Canada in April 1917 and enlisted in Windsor, Ontario (as Allan Archbold). He was sent to England late that fall and to France in April 1918. John was only 16 years old in the spring of 1918 but he enlisted on 4 May, passing himself off as 19. He was working for the Canadian Pacific Railway at the time. His address was Wynyard, Saskatchewan and next of kin was his mother Isabella Sherman, also living in Wynyard. John signed up in Regina, joining the 77th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Shortly after enlisting he spent five days in the Grey Nuns’ Hospital in Regina, from 13 May to 18 May, due to influenza and vaccinia.

That summer recruits from the 77th Depot Battery were sent to Petawawa Camp in Ontario for training. John’s medical exam at Petawawa listed his birth date correctly as 18 October 1901 and he was officially discharged on 14 August due to being underage. His brother Allan served in France and Belgium with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He returned to Canada in March 1919 and died in Ottawa two years later, at age 23. He was survived by his wife Edna and their son Allan Kaye, age one. Within a few years Edna and her family moved to California and they settled in Los Angeles.

John moved to the U.S. around 1921 and when the 1930 census was taken he was unmarried and serving in the U.S. army at Fort Shafter, Oahu, Hawaii. In the 1940s he spent time in both Leavenworth Prison in Kansas and San Quentin in California. He was listed as divorced and next of kin was his sister-in-law Edna, who was living in Los Angeles with her mother and stepfather, Emma and Edward Gilpin.

John passed away in Los Angeles on 24 March 1979, at age 77. His brother Joseph had returned to Kenora, Ontario. He died there in 1982 and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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