|Date of Birth||October 3, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Frances Blakie, wife, Room 5, 318 Notre Dame Aveneue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Gasoline Engineer/Repairman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Forestry Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Room 5, 318 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||March 21, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||29|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 15, 1950|
|Age at Death||62|
|Buried At||Woodland Cemetery, Hamilton, Ontario|
|Plot||Section 5A, Row 3, No E|
According to his attestation papers, John Walter Blakie was born on 3 October 1887 in the Providence Bay area on Manitoulin Island, Ontario where his family farmed. His parents James Blakie and Ruth Emma George were both born in Ontario, marrying on 17 February 1876 in Uxbridge where their families farmed. James and Ruth’s first child, son Frederick James, was born in late November of 1876 in Whitchurch, York in Ontario, followed by daughter Bertha who was born in 1878 in the township of Pickering, Ontario where the family farmed. From there the family moved to Manitoulin Island to farm, first settling in the township of Billings where daughters Eleanor (1882) and Mabel (1886) were born. Relocating to the Providence Bay area in Carnarvon Township to farm, John was born followed by Albert Edward in 1891. By the time of the 1911 census James, Ruth, John, and Robert were living in Pellatt on the outskirts of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. At the time of the census the family was farming, with John also working as a labourer and Robert as a bookkeeper.
On 19 December 1912, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, John married Frances Lauria Bormar. According to her later death record, Frances was born about 1877 in Mount Pleasant Iowa, the daughter of Joseph Bormar (born in France) and Carline Vennistoun (born in Ireland). It is likely that John and Frances lived in the Kenora area for awhile after the marriage.
John enlisted with the Canadian Forestry Corps on 21 March 1917 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as gasoline engineer/repair man and his wife Frances in Winnipeg as next of kin. With a draft to the CFC (Independent Forestry Company), John arrived in England on 14 May 1917 aboard the Metagama. First taken on strength with the Base Depot at Sunningdale, the Independent Forestry Company was redesignated as No. 61 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps on 9 July 1917 and as 118th Company, Canadian Forestry Corps on 7 August 1917. The unit was employed at Longmoor, Bordon, Hampshire from June 1917, with John joining it in September. In May of 1918 he began drawing technical pay as engineer. In mid November 1918 he was posted to the Base Depot at Sunningdale. Later that month John was admitted to the No 12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott suffering from influenza and bronchitis. Hospitalized for fifty-seven days, he was discharged on 16 December. With the end of the war, he arrived in Halifax in Canada on 13 January 1919 aboard the Empress of Britain. Once back in Winnipeg, John was admitted to the Manitoba Military Hospital in mid February for nineteen days with tonsillitis. He was discharged from service on demobilization on 21 March 1919 in Winnipeg, rank of Private.
Shortly after John had arrived in England, their daughter Laura Bearle was born on 31 October 1917 in Winnipeg. During the war his parents had moved from Kenora to Port Arthur, Ontario and John, Frances and Laura also moved there in early 1921, likely because Frances was ill. Sadly, she passed away on 20 March 1921 and is interred in Riverside Cemetery. At the time of the 1921 census John and Laura were living with his parents in Shuniah, a community about 45 kilometres north east of Thunder Bay, where John was working as a contractor. John’s mother died in 1931 in Port Arthur and his father in 1937 in Fort William and are also interred in Riverside Cemetery.
Little is known about John’s life after the census. It appears that he stayed in northern Ontario for a while as on 9 February 1927, in Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, he married the former Lydia (Liddie) Green. At the time of the marriage John was working as a stationary engineer, with intended residence given as Timmins, Ontario on the marriage record. Born on 2 April 1889 in Brunel, Muskoka, Ontario, Liddie was the daughter of Richard Green and Phoebe Cain. In December of 1911 she had married John Leonard McQuaid although the following year she crossed the border on her way to Detroit, Michigan with husband Charles Wilfred Robinson, a marriage record for the couple not found. By the time of the war Lydia and John McQuaid were living in the Huntsville area in Ontario where John enlisted in January of 1916, Lydia given as next of kin. Going overseas with the 122nd Battalion, John served in France with the Canadian Forestry Corps. At some point after the war the marriage failed and John moved to the States, remarrying in 1922 in Saginaw, Michigan. He married again in 1943 and passed away in 1949, interred in the Brookside Cemetery in West Branch, Michigan. It is likely that John and his daughter Laura lived in Kapuskasing in northern Ontario as Laura, age 17, married Aksel Hansen in August of 1935 in Kapuskasing. Aksel had been born in 1909 in the Kenora area. According to his parents’ obituaries, at the time of their deaths John was living in Hamilton, Ontario.
John died on 15 March 1950 in Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. His Veteran Death card gave his daughter Laura Hansen of Toronto as next of kin. John is interred in Woodland Cemetery in Hamilton, Ontario. An age appropriate Lydia Green McQuaid died on 18 October 1965 in Milton, Ontario and is interred in the Evergreen Cemetery in Milton. John’s daughter Laura died on 26 February 2006 in Newmarket, Ontario. At the time of her death she was survived by her children Carl and Paula and their families, including four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Along with her husband Aksel, she is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham
John’s grave marker photograph by Nickole, findagrave.com
Lydia’s grave marker photograph by C, findagrave.com
Frances’ obituary provided by the Thunder Bay Public Library