Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 1, 1890
Place of BirthPrince William, New Brunswick
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMiss Sadie Agnew (sister); Frederickton, New Brunswick
Trade / CallingCook & lumberjack
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number1084428
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario, Canada
Date of EnlistmentJune 14, 1917
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Agnew, John Martin

According to his service file and census records, John Martin Agnew was born on 01 October 1890 in Prince William, York County, New Brunswick. His parents were Laurence Agnew and Mary Ann Adams (née Moore). Mary Ann had been married previously and she had a son, Warren Adams, who was born in the U.S. around 1882. Laurence was a farmer and he and Mary Ann had at least two children: Sarah (Sadie), born in 1886, and John Martin. Sadly, John’s mother died when he was very young and at the time of the 1901 census he was living in Prince William with his widowed father as well as Sarah and Warren. By 1911 Sarah had moved to Fredericton where she worked as a domestic servant. She was married there in 1913 to William Saunders, a policeman.

At some point John headed west and when he enlisted he was living in the town of Kenora in northwestern, Ontario. He signed up in Winnipeg on 14 June 1917 with the 251st ‘Goodfellows’ Battalion. The unit had been organized the previous fall and it was being recruited in the Winnipeg area. John was single and his occupation was cook and lumberjack. Next of kin was his sister Sadie in Fredericton. On 31 December 1917 John was transferred to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment and he was sent overseas the following spring. He embarked from Halifax on 10 May 1918 and arrived in London, England two weeks later. John was assigned to the 18th Reserve Battalion in Seaford and he trained with them for about three months.

The final period of the war started in August 1918 with the Battle of Amiens and the Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months. On 4 September John was drafted to a front line unit, the 52nd Battalion, and sent to France. When he joined his unit they were preparing for the crossing of the Canal du Nord. John was wounded near the end of September and admitted to a field ambulance. He had suffered a gun shot or shell wound to his right leg but it wasn’t very serious. He was treated at a casualty clearing station and he was back with his unit briefly in mid-October. After just a few days he became ill with myalgia and he recovered for several weeks at a casualty clearing station and at No. 4 General Hospital in Camiers.

John rejoined the 52nd Battalion on 14 December 1918, a month after the Armistice. They were in Belgium at the time and stayed there for about two more months. John returned to England with his unit in February 1919 and a month later he was on his way home. He embarked from Liverpool on the SS Cedric and arrived in Halifax on 27 March. He was discharged on demobilization the following day. His proposed residence was Winnipeg, Manitoba but the last address recorded in his service file is Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Research has been unable to establish the details of John’s life after the war. His sister Sadie Saunders died in a shooting incident in Fredericton in 1939, at age 52. She’s buried with her husband at Alexander Gibson Memorial Cemetery in Marysville, York County, New Brunswick.

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