Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 15, 1894
Place of BirthMarylebone, London
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Collins, father, Glenora, Manitoba
Trade / Callinglabourer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number147809
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion78th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJuly 12, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 28, 1983
Age at Death89
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Collins, John Patrick

John Patrick Collins was born on 15 March 1894 in Marylebone, London, England. He was the first child of John and Susan Jane (née Rackley) Collins, both  from Marylebone. Other children born to the family in England were Mary (1899), Richard (1901), Margaret (Maggie)(1904), and William (1906). The family was found on the passenger list of the Southwark that arrived in Montreal in June of 1907, destination given as Winnipeg.

John Sr, Jane  and the children settled in the RM of Argyle in Manitoba where John SR found work as a railroad labourer. Other children born to the family while in Argyle were Jane (1908), Florence Ester (1911), and Grace (1912).

John signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 12 July 1915, giving his father John in Glenora, Manitoba as next of kin and occupation as labourer. He belonged to the Active Militia of 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers. Organized in July of 1915 and mobilized and recruited in Winnipeg, the 78th Battalion embarked from Halifax on 22 May 1916 aboard the Empress of Britain. Onboard was Private John Collins.

After training in England the 78th Battalion embarked for France on August 12th 1916 and was to take part in many of the major battles:  Somme, 1916;  Ancre Heights;  Ancre, 1916;  Arras, 1917, ’18;  Vimy, 1917;  Ypres 1917;  Passchendaele; Amiens;  Scarpe, 1918;  Drocourt-Quéant;  Hindenburg Line;  Canal du Nord;  Valenciennes and Sambre.

John was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 1 July 1917 followed by a grant of a ten day leave to the UK. On 2 December 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal and granted a second leave, fourteen days to the UK on 25 January 1918. Overstaying the leave by 48 hours he was deprived of his Lance Corporal Stripe. On 2 September John sustained a gunshot wound to the leg and was admitted to the No 12 Canadian Field Ambulance. The battalion had been in the front lines in the westerly trenches at the Drocourt Line north of the Cambrai Road. Invalided to England on the 5th, John was first admitted to the Chatham Military Hospital followed by a transfer to the Gravesend Military Hospital on the 7th, on to the Camp Divisional Hospital on October 1st, and then to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom, discharged on October 16th.

On 19 October 1918, in Paddington, London, John married Mary Ann Brinkley. Mary Ann was the daughter of Maurice and Elizabeth (née Toomey) Foley and had married John William Brinkley in 1911. Sadly Mary Ann’s father died of his wounds while serving in September of 1914, followed by the death of her husband, killed in action, on 31st of December.

John served for the remainder of the war in England and embarked for Canada aboard the  Baltic on 26 June 1919, returning to Glenora in Manitoba. Mary Ann stayed in England until 1921, arriving in Canada aboard the  Minnedosa in May, on her way to Glenora to join John. However the marriage did not last and Mary Ann returned to England where it appears that she died in 1971 in St Pancreas, London.

By the mid 1920’s John had moved to Redditt, Ontario, a village about 30 kilometres north of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. On 15 May 1926 in nearby Sioux Lookout John married Mary Jane Beaule. The daughter of Clovis (aka Peter) Beaule and Mary Cyr, Jane had been born in 1909 in the area. Underage, her brother Adelard Beaule had enlisted in 1916, serving overseas for a few months until his age was discovered.

John worked for the Canadian National Railway for 36 years, retiring in Redditt, Ontario in 1957. He was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No 72 in Redditt. Predeceased by his mother and father, daughter Patricia, and siblings Richard, Maggie, Jean, and Ester, John died in the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora on 28 March 1983. At the time of his death he was survived by daughters Beatrice and Helen, son John (Bud), nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and siblings William, Mary, and Grace. John is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

by Judy Stockham


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