Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 19, 1890
Place of BirthTwp Kenyon, Glengarry, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinElizabeth McDonald, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingConstable
Service Details
Regimental Number198277
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion2nd Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Garrison Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 10, 1915
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Medal
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 20, 1962
Age at Death72
Buried AtSunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, California, USA
PlotUrn Garden, Row 15, Lot 28-A

McDonald, John Dougal

John Dougal McDonald was born on 19 August 1890 near Dunvegan in the township of Kenyon in north Glengarry County where the family farmed. His parents were Dougal McDonald and Joanna Buchanan who had married in 1885 in Kenyon. John had two older sisters, Annie Mary (1886-1967) and Catherine Isabel (1888-1919). Sadly Joanna died ten days after giving birth to John due to complications following the birth. Dougal married Mary McCrimmon in 1893 and the couple went on to have seven known children, Donald (1894-1895), Donald Norman (1896-1938), Joanna (1898-1998), Alexander (1899-1905), Neil John (1902-1921), Christena (1904-1979), and Gordon (1906-1953). His father later died in 1940 and along with a number of family members is interred in the Kenyon Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Kenyon.

By the time of the 1911 Canada census, John was no longer living with the family and at some point he ended up in Kenora in northwestern Ontario. On 10 November 1915, in Kenora, John married Elizabeth Greenwood. Born in 1893 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she was the daughter of William and Eleanor (née Shattell) Greenwood. Her parents were from England, marrying in 1877 in Bermondsey. They had immigrated to Canada in 1892 and by the time of the 1901 census the family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) where William was working as a constable.

Following the marriage, on the same day John enlisted with the 94th Battalion in Kenora. His occupation was given as constable and his wife Elizabeth in Kenora as next of kin. The 94th Battalion recruited in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances and Dryden, Ontario and was mobilized at Port Arthur, the Kenora detachment leaving for Port Arthur in late May of 1916. With rank of Lance Corporal, along with the rest of the battalion John embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 June 1916.

Upon arrival in England, the battalion was absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion. Following a series of transfers and a posting to the Signalling Base in England, John was drafted to the 2nd Heavy Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, joining the unit in the field in late May of 1917. Organized in France in January 1918, the unit became part of the 2nd Brigade, Canadian Garrison Artillery. For his actions on 3 April 1918 when the unit was under heavy hostile fire, John was awarded the Military Medal. Telephone wires were continually being out with John doing the repairs while under fire. The Kenora Miner and News reported his award, mistakenly giving his wife’s forename as Jessie (her sister). In mid August of 1918 he was granted a fourteen day leave to England, and was briefly hospitalized with fever of unknown origin in February of 1919. With the end of the war John arrived back in Halifax aboard the Mauretania on 9 May 1919. He was discharged from service on demobilization on 11 May 1919 in Montreal, rank of A/Corporal, proposed residence Kenora.

By April of 1920 and the birth of their son Henry Norman (Harry), the family was living in Regina, Saskatchewan. Daughter Catherine Eleanor was born in 1926, also in Regina. In May of 1927 the family relocated to California where Elizabeth’s brother Frank was living and would continue to live with the family over the years. At the time of the 1930 US census they were living in Stockton with John’s occupation given as chauffeur for an oil company. The 1940 census found the family in Berkley where John was working as a salesman. When he signed his WW2 Draft registration card, although living in Berkley John was working at a gas service station in San Pablo. With no record of any injury during the war, according to the card at some point John’s arm was replaced with an artificial one. A 1946 border crossing record gave his occupation as “auto camp proprietor”.

Elizabeth died on 15 September 1944 and is interred in the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. John later died on 20 December 1962 in Oakland. At the time of his death he was survived by his son Harry in Lafayette, daughter Catherine (Donald) McLean of Flushing, Michigan, six grandchildren, and as listed in his obituary two sisters in Ontario. Cremated, John’s urn is in the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito.

By Judy Thorburn

Grave marker photograph provided by Uncle Al #48737764,

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