Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 6, 1886
Place of BirthBirmingham, Warwickshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHilda Bull, sister, Box 132 Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingLocomotive Engineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2383352
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentBox 132 Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 3, 1918
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 4, 1964
Age at Death78
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Bull, John Arthur

John Arthur Bull  was  born on 6 September 1886  in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. His parents were John Albert and Emma (née Talbot) Bull who had married during the last quarter of 1881 in Aston, Warwickshire. The family was found in the England 1891 census living in the inner-city of Sparkhill, Birmingham, occupation of John given as train driver. Other household members were Emma, age 28, Alice, age 8, John, age 4, and Thomas, age 3. By the 1901 England census the family had moved to Greet, another inner-city in Birmingham. John’s occupation was given as train locomotive driver and there were two new additions to the family, Hilda, age 5, and Albert, age 4. The family was next found on the passenger list of the Victorian that arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 19 April 1907, destination listed as Winnipeg, Manitoba. Alice was not travelling with the family. By the 1911 Canada census the family was living at 417 4th Avenue in Kenora, Ontario. Household members were John who was working as a hostler, Emma, John junior  who was working as a steward, Thomas who was working as a car repairer, Hilda, and Albert. Also with the family was ‘Lottie’ Bull who was actually Thomas’ wife Florence. Thomas and Florence Julia Meadows, daughter of Samuel and Emily (née Print) Meadows, had married on 8 June 1910. At the time of Emma’s death on 7 October 1913 the family was living at 416 3rd Street North.

John Arthur Bull signed his recruitment papers in Port Arthur, Ontario on 3 January 1918. His next of kin was given as his sister Hilda back in Kenora. Although his birth is confirmed by his birth record, when he signed his attestation papers he gave his birth date and place as 5 September 1885 in Langer, Wales. With the 4th draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, John arrived in England on 19 April 1918 aboard the Tunisian.

Upon arrival from Canada John was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion at Seaford and in August he was drafted to the 52nd Battalion. He joined the unit in the field in France on the 19th of August. By the end of November John, suffering from an abscess to the neck, was admitted to the No 57 Casualty Clearing Station and then transferred to the No 4 General Hospital in Camiers. From there he convalesced in Etaples and later in Cayeux, discharged on the 23rd of December. In early January of 1919 he was transferred to England and posted to the Manitoba Regimental Depot at Seaford. Following another series of transfers, John returned to Canada aboard the Empress of Britain that arrived in St John, New Brunswick on 31 March 1919.

After the war, John returned to Kenora. He married Ada Betton, daughter of John and Lavinia (née Scarisbrick) Betton, on 21 February 1921. The couple went on to have  four children, two sons, John Albert and Vernon, and two daughters, Lavinia and Sylvia. John had joined the services of the CPR as a wiper in Winnipeg on 1906, promoted to fireman in 1909 and transferred to Kenora later that year as an engineer. He retired in 1951.

John Arthur Bull died on 4 December 1964 and his wife Ada  on 27 May  1980. Both are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

John’s brothers Thomas and Albert also served during the war. At Avion, Private Albert James Bull was reported as ‘Missing, now Killed in Action’ on 11 May 1917 while with the 44th Battalion. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in Pas de Calais, France along with Ada’s brother Henry (Harry) Betton.  Thomas returned home in March of 1919 and lived and raised his family in  the area until shortly after his retirement.

John  is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

by Fred Betton and Judy Stockham





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