Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 15, 1877
Place of BirthLondon
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinWife - Clara, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingCooper
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number820763
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 26, 1916
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 20, 1953
Age at Death76
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Brodie, Benjamin John

Born in  the city of London, England in the parish of St. Botolph, on  August 15, 1877, Benjamin John Brodie  was the son of  James and Elizabeth A. Brodie.    He had an older sister, Elizabeth J. Brodie and a younger sister, Lydia Barbara Brodie.   By 1891 mother Elizabeth had remarried to William Collins and had 2 more children, Annie and Grace Collins.   Another sister, Sarah is later mentioned in his obituary.  In 1901 Benjamin was living with his step-father, his mother and his 2 younger sisters.   At the age of 25 Benjamin John Brodie immigrated leaving from Liverpool, England and travelling directly to Keewatin, Ontario in 1903. Benjamin found work at the box factory for the Lake of the Woods Flour Milling Company in Keewatin. He became a cooper by trade and it was his job to make the barrels for the storing and shipping of the flour.

On December 26, 1906 Benjamin, after returning  to  London, married Clara Ann Dance in St. Matthew’s, Redhill, Surrey, England.   The newly married couple soon made their way to Canada.   Benjamin and Clara lived for a few years just northwest of Keewatin in the small community of Minaki.   Benjamin was working for the Grand Trunk Railway.   By 1911 they moved into  Keewatin. He obtained work with the Lake of the Woods Flour Milling Company in Keewatin.   They had 5 children; James C. (1908-1963), Benjamin Jr. (1909-1978), Colin Richard (1911-1974),   Eleanor (Mrs. Reino Hendrickson: 1912-1971)  and later came Stanley (died in WW2).

Benjamin John Brodie, age 38, signed his attestation papers in Keewatin with the 141st  Overseas Battalion.   This was a local battalion that was formed in 1915 with headquarters in Rainy River.  Keewatin and Kenora signed up many  new recruits and Benjamin had answered the  call.   As of May 26, 1916, he was in the army. Benjamin travelled to Port Arthur for training.  When the 141st Battalion, which was authorized on 22 December 1915 as the 141st ‘Overseas’ Battalion, embarked for Britain on 29 April 1917 Benjamin was not aboard.  He stayed in Canada and was officially discharged on 17 June 1917 as being medically unfit for service.  He was almost 39 years old at the time.

Benjamin returned to Keewatin where he lived out his life, raised his family and contributed his time to his community.   At work once more for the Lake of the Woods Flour Mill he switched jobs and became a stationary engineer until his retirement in 1943.   Benjamin was the financial  secretary for the Canadian Order of Foresters, a member of the Keewatin Branch of the Canadian Legion and became President of  Branch#  13 for  1944.

He was also a member of the Retired Men’s Association in Keewatin.   Clara, his wife, died in 1941.

On Friday, November 20, 1953 Benjamin John Brodie passed away at the Winnipeg General Hospital.   His funeral service was held at the St. James Anglican Church in Keewatin, Ontario.   Burial was in the family plot at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario.

Benjamin was survived by his son James who had moved to Fort William, sons Ben and Colin of Keewatin,  and daughter Eleanor Hendrickson also of Keewatin.    Two sisters  survived Benjamin; Sarah in New Zealand and Lydia in England.   Also surviving were his grandchildren.   His sons James, Colin and Stanley were all in  WW2.   Stanley was killed during WW2 and is remembered on the cenotaph in Keewatin.

Benjamin John Brodie  is commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin Honour Roll and  the St. James Church Honour Roll.   A framed picture of Benjamin, in uniform, hangs in the Keewatin Legion honouring him as a Past-President of the Branch.

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