Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 28, 1900
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRobert Corbett, father, Mission Fort William, Ontario
Trade / CallingStoker
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number3307552
Service Record
Battalion10th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Garrison Regiment
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentMission Fort William, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 6, 1918
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 1, 1965
Age at Death65

Corbett, John Robert

Although a birth record was not found, by most accounts John Robert Corbett was born on 28 September 1900 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His parents were Robert Corbett, a blacksmith, and Ellen Pritchard, with the couple marrying on 29 April 1904 in Fort William. John had three older siblings/half siblings, Marie Bernadette (father Robert Chambers), Wilfred (father Olivier Daunais), and Alma, and two younger sisters, Ruby and Joan. Another male child was born to the couple in 1902. The 1901 census listed the family as living in Port Arthur, Ontario and by the time of the 1911 census they were living on the Mission Reserve just outside of Fort William. In the censuses Ellen and the children were listed as Cree or Scotch Cree. Sadly both Wilfred and Ruby died in accidents, Wilfred in 1910 and Ruby in 1924.

John enlisted on 6 February 1918 in Port Arthur, Ontario. His date and place of birth was given as 28 September 1899 in Rat Portage, Fort William, Ontario, his next of kin as his father Robert in Mission Fort William, and occupation as stoker. He was first listed as a Private with the No 10 Special Services Company, CEF, crossed off and changed to 10th Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment. John was discharged and struck off strength as a minor on 11 June 1918 in Winnipeg.

At the time of the 1921 census John was living with his parents and two younger sisters at the NGIP Bridge just outside of Fort William where his father was working as a blacksmith for the railway. His sisters Marie (May) had married Harry Harrington in 1910 and Alma had married Bernard Hill in 1919. His sister Joan married Aristide Sandin in 1925 but died in 1935 in Toronto. On 19 April 1941 John married widow Jessie Tonelli. Born on 8 May 1906 in Fort William, Jessie was the daughter of James Sutton and Bella Everett. She previously had married Thomas Newlove in 1927, William Everett in 1928, and possibly Gildo Tonelli who died in 1939 in Geraldton. Over the years John worked at the Manitoba Pool 6 grain elevator and in latter years as a parking lot attendant at the Port Arthur Clinic. He was a member of the Port Arthur Branch No 5 Royal Canadian Legion.

John was struck and killed by a car at the intersection of Regent and Van Norman Street in Port Arthur on 1 August 1965. He was survived by his wife Jessie, stepdaughter Jessie (Stanley) Rowrat and his sister Alma Hill of Fort William. His wife Jessie later died in 1975 and sister Alma in 1989.

By Judy Stockham


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Newspaper articles provided by the Thunder Bay Public Library.

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