Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 1, 1896
Place of BirthMaybole, Ayrshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEdward Forsyth, father, Keewatin PO, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number2383886
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin PO, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 24, 1917
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 30, 1987
Age at Death90

Forsyth, John Fulton

John Fulton Forsyth was born on 1 October 1896 in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland. His parents Edward Forsyth and Elizabeth Robb were both from Maybole, marrying on 27 December 1895 in the Commercial Hotel in Maybole. At the time Edward’s occupation was given as shoemaker (journeyman) while Elizabeth was working as a shoe fitter. John was their first born child followed by Agnes (1898), twins Ann and Richard (1900-1900), Edward (1901-1903), and May. Edward immigrated to Canada first, Elizabeth with John, Agnes, and baby May arriving in Quebec aboard the Corinthian on 6 May 1907. They were on their way to Keewatin, a small town near Kenora in northwestern Ontario, where Edward was working at the local flour mill. Son James was born in Keewatin in June of 1910, followed at some point with another son, Gordon.

With the onset of conscription during the latter part of the war, John had his medical examination on 24 November 1917 in Kenora and was called up on 3 May 1918. His occupation was given as farmer and father Edward in Keewatin as next of kin. With the 56th Draft 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba John arrived in England on 22 July, taken on strength with the 18th Reserve Battalion upon arrival. That November he was drafted to the 52nd Battalion, landing in France on the 8th and joining the unit on the 14th. With the end of the war John returned to England in mid February 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Olympic on 17 March. John was discharged from service on 31 March 1919 in Port Arthur, Ontario, with intended residence given as Keewatin.

Right after the war John and his family moved to the Minitonas/Renwer area near Swan River in Manitoba to farm. John later married Earla Robinson. The daughter of Norman and Katherine (née Woermke) Higgins, Earla was born on 6 Oct 1907 in the RM of Arthur in Manitoba. She had married Ernest Harrison Robinson on 5 December 1928 in Melita, and the couple had at least two children, Alice and Jack. Ernest died in 1946 and is interred in the Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg.

John and Earla farmed and worked in the Swan River area for many years. Together they had two children, son Edward and a daughter that died at birth on 8 March 1948, interred in the Birchwood Cemetery in Swan River. John’s obituary noted that he served in both WW1 and WW2. Upon retirement John and Earla moved to Winnipeg in 1967.

Predeceased by his parents and brother James, all interred in the Minitonas Cemetery, John died on 30 March 1987 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Earla, son Edward, three grandchildren, sisters Nance Barley of Vancouver and May Reid of Onanole, Manitoba and brother Gordon of Enderby, British Columbia. A memorial service was held in the Thomson Funeral Chapel, with cremation taking place.

Earla later went to live in Pine Falls, close to where son Edward and family were living in St Georges. Earla died on 16 June 2001 in the Sunny Wood Manor in Pine Falls. Her obituary noted that besides farming for many years in the Swan River and Renwer area she and John for a time had looked after the Legion Park in Swan River.

The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 to honour all who had served during the war. Badges and medals were awarded to the veterans and to family members of the fallen. The Kenora Miner and News reported the event, with John’s name listed with the veterans. He is also commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque.

By Judy Stockham

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