Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 14, 1887
Place of BirthGlasgow, Scotland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMother - Mrs. Ann Duncan, 19 Darnley Ave. Scotstown, Glasgow, Scotland
Trade / CallingElectrician
Service Details
Regimental Number439229
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 24, 1915
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 10, 1961
Age at Death74
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotHJ 22E-12-3

Duncan, John

According to his attestation papers, John Duncan was born on 14th of May, 1887 in Glasgow Scotland. His  mother Ann (maiden name – Main) was his next of kin when enlisting in 1915, and she still lived in Scotland. He had been named after his father, John Duncan (Sr.).    Immigrating in 1910, John was living in Kenora by the census of 1911 and listed as an electrician. John moved to Keewatin sometime before signing his attestation papers and is listed on the Municipality of Keewatin  plaque as a resident.

John enlisted with the 52nd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry on 21 May 1915 in Kenora. In June of 1915 he travelled to Port Arthur for basic training. His unit left Port Arthur on 4 November 1915 heading for St. John, New Brunswick by train. They stopped in Ottawa and were inspected by the Governor General of Canada. On 23 November the 52nd Battalion left St. John aboard the S.S. California – destination, Plymouth England. Upon their arrival in England they trained under British instructors in Witley and Bramshott for eight weeks. Then the unit went over to France, arriving in LeHavre on 21 February 1916. They spent the night in tents during a snow storm and the next day boarded a train for Belgium. John served the next three years with the 52nd Battalion without injury. He did spend two weeks at a Casualty Clearing Station suffering from myalgia but was returned to his unit. John received a Good Conduct Badge in May of 1917. During his three years in France he had three two week leaves back to the UK. He was returned to England on 19 February 1919 and by March 1919 John was on his way back to Canada. His official discharge due to demobilization came on 31 March 1919 in Port Arthur.

On 26 April 26 1920 John married a Scottish girl Margaret Tolmie Levie. Margaret was the daughter of George and Maria Melville (Lauson?).   The application for the marriage license was completed in Kenora with the intended place of marriage to be Toronto, York county, Ontario. They were both of the Presbyterian faith.

In the 1921 census, John and  Margaret were living on Van Horne Avenue in Dryden along with son Ian, age 1. His occupation was still listed as an electrician. By 1922 they were living in Keewatin and he was  working for the  flour mill. He remained there till his retirement  in 1957 after  35 years of service.

John  was a life member of the Keewatin  Canadian Legion branch #13, a Past Master of the Keewatin Masonic Lodge, and a member of the St. Andrew’s United Church in Keewatin.

John Duncan passed away at the General Hospital in Kenora on 10 February 1961. His wife Margaret had died before him  on 4 July 1959.   Members of the Masonic Lodge in Keewatin acted as his pallbearers.

John  and wife Margaret are both buried in the Heavenly Junction Block of the  Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario.  Surviving both parents was their son Ian George Duncan who  became a Flight Sergeant with the Royal Canadian Air Force on exchange with the American Air Force in Washington, U.S.A.   At the time of John’s death  a sister, Mrs. E. Patton of Beacon, New York and 1 grandson Bill  were also left to mourn his passing.

John Duncan is commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin –  Honour plaque and the Roll of Honor – Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque for their Officers and Employees.

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