Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 8, 1882
Place of BirthMattawa, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs W F Morden, sister, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingFlour Packer for Lake of the Woods Milling Company, Keewatin
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number198225
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 25, 1915
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 28, 1917
Age at Death34
Buried Atno known grave/Vimy Memorial

Delaney, John James

John James Delaney was the son of John James (James) and Mary Ellen (née Doyle) Delaney. He was their third born, baptized on 10 August 1881 in Mattawa, Ontario. His other siblings include Bridget, Ida, May, Lettie, Queeny, Daniel Percy, Gertrude, George, and Annie. For the 1891 Canada census the family was living in North Bay, Ontario with the father’s occupation given as labourer and the family considered as Irish Roman Catholic in origin.

By 1901 the family had relocated to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) where John’s father had found employment as a fireman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Still living with the family were Ida, May, John, Lettie, Queenie, George, Gertrude, Annie and Percy as well as lodgers John McLeod, John Holmes, and Michael Ritchie. John’s occupation was given as gold miner.  For the 1911 Canada census John James was living with his sister Ida (Delaney) Morden and family in Keewatin on Front Street. His occupation at that time was foreman at the flour mill, Lake of the Woods Milling company, Keewatin. His father was also living with the family.

On 25 May 1915 John James enlisted in Kenora. While in training with the 94th Battalion in Port Arthur he was a member of the military police. He  met his future wife in Port Arthur, Charlotte McLean, daughter of Charles and Catherine (née Holland) McLean. They married on 27 December 1915 in Keewatin.

On May 25, 1916, the men of ‘C’ an ‘D’ Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘Summer Camp’ as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic.  (from the now defunct 94th Battalion website)

Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, it actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.

Once overseas Private John James Delaney was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and then in August of 1916 to the Canadian Training Brigade. On 03 September 1916, Private John James Delaney was transferred to the 5th Battalion. According to the CEF Burial Registers, while with the 5th Battalion, on 28 April 1917, John had been previously reported missing, but information became available that during an attack in the vicinity of Arleux-en Gohelle, France, he was  shot through the head and killed instantly. No other details are available. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial along with 11 000 other Canadian soldiers that were ‘missing, presumed dead’.

From the War Diary for the 5th Battalion, 28 April 1917 (the day John died): ‘Weather – fine and warm. Battn. attacked at 4 a.m. and gained objective, which was a sunken road to the north of Arleux, ‘Casualties – 10 Officers, 230 O.R.s [other ranks].’

John James’ brothers Daniel Percy and George also served during the war but were more fortunate; they survived. John James’ wife Charlotte returned to Port Arthur and her birth family. She never remarried and died  in April of 1953.

Private John James Delaney is commemorated page 226 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Keewatin Cenotaph located in Beatty Park in Keewatin, Ontario, on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour Plaque, and on the Municipality of Keewatin Plaque.

by Judy Stockham