|Date of Birth||April 2, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Downpatrick, County Down|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Charles Blackwood, mother, 12147 - 87 St, Edmonton, Alberta|
|Trade / Calling||Store clerk|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||78th Depot Battery|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Field Artillery|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||12147 - 87 St, Edmonton, Alberta|
|Date of Enlistment||March 19, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||21|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 24, 1985|
|Age at Death||88|
|Buried At||Brandon Cemetery, Brandon, Manitoba|
|Plot||45 F 18|
John Blackwood was born on 2 April 1897 in Comber, Downpatrick, County Down, in northern Ireland.* His parents Charles Blackwood and Grace Russell had married during the last quarter of 1886, married registered in the district of Downpatrick. Children born to the couple were Mathew (1888), Hans Russell (1891), Charles (1894), Jane (Jennie) (1896), John, and Grace (1898). It appears that Grace was the owner of the family farm in Comber, employing a groomsman and a general servant. Daughter Grace was born in May of 1898 and sadly mother Grace died that August.
During the last quarter of 1900, in Belfast, Charles married Mary Jane Fyffe. Born in 1868, Mary Jane was from County Tyrone. Charles and Mary Jane gave birth to son Robert in 1901 in Downpatrick, daughter May in 1902, and son James in 1903 in Lisburn. Charles, Mary Jane, and all the children were found on the passenger list of the Lake Champlain that arrived in Halifax on 30 April 1904, destination given as Strathcona, Alberta. Charles first tried his hand at farming but later became a building contractor/carpenter out of Edmonton. Children born in Alberta were Thomas Alexander (1906), Temple (1907), and Nora Elizabeth (1908).
With the advent of conscription and the passing of the Military Service Act, John had his medical examination in October of 1917 in Edmonton. While waiting to be called up he travelled to Toronto in January of 1918 to enlist with the Royal Flying Corps. However his application was not completed and he returned to Edmonton. On March 19th he signed his recruitment papers in Calgary, giving his stepmother back in Edmonton as next of kin, later changing it to his father. His occupation was given as store clerk and date and place of birth as 23 November 1897 in Belfast. With the 36th Draft of the 78th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, John arrived in England aboard the Waimana on the 7th of July. Taken on strength at Witley, he was on command to Frensham Pond. In January of 1919 he was struck off strength to the Reserve Brigade, CFA and on August 9th embarked for Canada aboard the Cafonia.
John returned to Edmonton and was found living with his parents and some of his siblings for the 1921 Canada census. At the time he was working as a wholesale grocer clerk. On 16 February 1929, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, John married Madeline Carmichael. Born in 1900 in Oban, Argyll, Scotland, Madeline had arrived in Canada with her parents Archibald and Mary (née Campbell) Carmichael and siblings in May of 1911. Found on the passenger list of the Empress of Britain that arrived in Quebec on the 13th, the family were in Strathcona by the time of the census. In his early years John served as district organizer for Ford Motor Company in Alberta and held the same position with General Motors in Manitoba.
John and Madeline were eventually to make Kenora, Ontario their home where John worked for Imperial Oil Ltd as a supervisor. Along the way the couple gave birth to two children, John and Robert. In 1950 they moved to Brandon, Manitoba where John became resident manager for Imperial Oil. John was a president of the Brandon Rotary Club and the Brandon Toastmasters Club.
Predeceased by his stepmother Mary Jane in 1919, his father Charles in 1945, both in Edmonton, and his wife Madeline in 1981 in Brandon, John died in the Brandon General Hospital on 24 October 1985. At the time he was survived by his son John of Winnipeg and son Bob of Brandon. John and Madeline are interred in the Brandon Cemetery.
by Judy Stockham
grave marker photo: Brandon Cemetery
Research note: *birth registered in the district of Downpatrick during the 2nd quarter of 1897, his obituary gives the date as 2 April 1897, the 1901 Ireland census has the family farming in Comber, Downpatrick and lists Downpatrick as the county of birth, and his mother’s will supports Comber as their place of residence