Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 21, 1876
Place of BirthStockholm
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Emma Tidman (wife), 537 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLabourer
Service Details
Regimental Number198269
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionNo. 32 Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 19, 1915
Age at Enlistment39
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 24, 1966
Age at Death90
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tidman, John Emanuel

Private John Emanuel Tidman enlisted in Kenora, Ontario in November 1915. He served overseas for two years with the Canadian Forestry Corps and returned to Canada in February 1919.

John was the son of Johan Henrik Tidman (Tideman/Tiderman) and Sigrid Kajsa Elfström. His attestation has his birthplace recorded as Stockholm, Sweden but in Swedish records his birth is registered as Jonas Emanuel Tideman in Skön, Västernorrlands county, in northern Sweden. He was born on 21 April 1876 and his mother died when he was about 14. Sigrid was his father’s second wife and Johan married a third time in 1892. That same year the family immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec on 15 August on the SS Oregon: Johan Henrik, his wife Maria Sofia, his sons Jonas Emanuel and Johan Felix and his daughter Ester Elvira. Their destination was listed as Winnipeg, Manitoba. By the time of the 1901 census the Tidmans had moved to the Teulon area, north of Winnipeg, where they had taken up farming. At least three more children were born in Manitoba: Henry, Violet and Nora.

John was married in Winnipeg on 27 October 1906, at age 30. His wife, Emma Margaretta Ek, was about four years younger than him and she was also from Sweden. She had arrived in Canada in May 1903 on the Mount Temple, listed as a domestic going to Rat Portage (Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. John and Emma had two daughters, Lillian Esther born in 1911 in Winnipeg, and Bertha born in 1915 in Ontario, most likely in Kenora.

John and his wife were living in Kenora when he enlisted on 19 November 1915. He signed up with the 94th Overseas Battalion, which was based in Port Arthur and recruited throughout northwestern Ontario. The local lads trained in Kenora over the winter and John’s wife and children moved back to Winnipeg during that time. On 6 March 1916 he was transferred to a new unit, the 197th Battalion (Vikings of Canada), which was organized in Winnipeg and recruited among men of Scandinavian origin. They trained at Camp Hughes during the summer and in June John was promoted to Corporal. Due to his age and a problem with his feet he was classified as Category B, not suitable for service in a front line combat unit. In January 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps clearing depot, reverting to the rank of Private, and two months later he was on his way overseas. He embarked from Halifax on the SS Ausonia on 4 March, as part of the 3rd Reinforcing Draft for the 230th Battalion, a forestry unit. They arrived in the UK eleven days later.

In England the Forestry Corps had its headquarters at Sunningdale in Berkshire. In April several new companies were organized there and John was transferred to one of them, No. 32 Company. He arrived in France with his new unit on 29 April. The company was in Forestry District No. 2, which was based at Conches, west of Paris, and John served in that general area for the next 21 months. Forestry work included cutting timber, running sawmills, preparing railway ties and helping to clear terrain. Other work listed in the war diaries included ‘clearing sites, ditching, draining, trimming and felling trees, hauling gravel, levelling, making culverts and drains, earthing, grading, ploughing, scraping, filling depressions, uprooting hedges, re-sodding, cutting pickets, stripping turf.

In November 1917 John was awarded a good conduct badge for two years of service. In June 1918 he was ill and he spent eight days in Drew Forest Hospital. That fall he had two weeks leave in the UK and while he was there he suffered a sprained ankle and facial injury. He was treated at Endell Street Military Hospital in London. The hospital was unique in that it was the only British army hospital staffed and run entirely by women, including all the doctors.

John was there for only a few days and he rejoined his unit in France at the end of September. In December, a month after the Armistice, he was assigned to Forestry District No. 2 Headquarters. He returned to England with his unit in January 1919 and a few weeks later he was on his way back to Canada. He arrived in Halifax on the Royal George on 20 February, getting two weeks landing leave, and he was discharged on demobilization on 18 March in Winnipeg.

John and Emma had one more child, their son Albert who was born in 1920. When the 1921 census was taken they were living in Arthur Township, in southwest Manitoba, and John was farming. By the early 1930s they had moved back to Winnipeg. John found work there as a labourer, teamster and driver for Hagborg Fuel Company. He passed away in Winnipeg on 24 October 1966, at age 90, and Emma died in Taché Hospital in May 1969, at age 89. They are both buried in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg. Their son Albert served with the Canadian Army in the Second World War. He passed away in 1995, at age 75, and he’s also buried at Brookside.

By Becky Johnson

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