Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 25, 1880
Place of BirthBarrow-in-Furness, Lancashire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRev. George G. Hornby (brother), Ranmoor, Nottingham Road, Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire, England
Trade / CallingMiner
Service Details
Regimental Number439310
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 25, 1915
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 17, 1964
Age at Death83
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Vancouver

Hornby, John Harrison

Private John Harrison Hornby served with the 52nd Battalion for two years, from May 1915 to May 1917. After developing tuberculosis he was invalided to Canada for treatment and discharged as medically unfit in June 1918.

John was the youngest son of George Stephenson Hornby and Sarah Harrison Goodall. George and Sarah were both born in Yorkshire, England. They were married in Nottingham in 1872 and they raised three children: George Goodall (b.1876), Ann (b.1878) and John Harrison. John was born on 25 March 1880 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. His father was a Methodist minister and at the time of the 1891 census the family was living in Stockport, Greater Manchester. When the 1901 census was taken John was living on his own in Benwell, Northumberland, listed as a miner and traveller. Two years later he immigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal on 16 May 1903 on the SS Sardinian, with Winnipeg as his destination.

By the time John enlisted he was living in the Kenora area in northwestern Ontario and working in a local gold mine assay office. He signed up in Kenora on 25 May 1915, joining the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion. The unit was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora volunteers were sent there in June to train with the rest of the recruits. They left Port Arthur on 4 November 1915, heading to St. John, New Brunswick on the first leg of their journey overseas. On the way through Ottawa they were inspected by the Governor-General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught. The men embarked from St. John on 23 November on the SS California and arrived in Plymouth, England ten days later. After a further two months of training they were sent to France on 20 February 1916. On 23 February the battalion became part of the 9th Brigade in the new 3rd Canadian Division.

In June the 52nd fought at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in the Ypres Salient, their first time in combat. That fall they were moved south for the Somme Offensive and the winter of 1916-17 was spent across from Vimy. In April 1917 the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge and afterwards John’s unit stayed in the Vimy area. The troops trained, supplied work parties, carried out patrols and had regular rotations in the front trenches. On 20 May they relieved another unit in the Vimy-Liévin line and two days later John became ill. He was sent to a field ambulance then to a casualty clearing station the next day. He had lost about 20 lb. and he was suffering from pleurisy and general debility. On 26 May he was admitted to No. 2 Australian General Hospital in Wimereux and a few days later he was evacuated to England.

John spent the next four months at two different hospitals, Northampton War Hospital in Duston and the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington. He was diagnosed with pleurisy and suspected pulmonary tuberculosis. That fall he was invalided to Canada to continue his treatment. He embarked from Liverpool on the hospital ship Araguaya on 17 October, landing at Halifax ten days later. He was given two weeks landing leave and during that time he was an outpatient at the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital in Winnipeg. On 20 November he was admitted to the Manitoba Sanatorium in Ninette. After seven months of treatment he was discharged from the army on 12 June 1918, listed as medically unfit for further war service. His character was described as very good and his address was c/o the Great War Veterans Association in Winnipeg.

John was married in Winnipeg on 8 October 1920 to Harriet Marie Taylor (née Aitchison). Marie was born in Manchester, England and came to Canada around 1911. She was a widow and she had a son William who was born in England. When the 1921 census was taken John, Marie and William were living in Souris, Manitoba and John was working for the Manitoba Provincial Police. The provincial police had existed since 1871 but in 1920 they underwent a major reorganization, becoming a well-trained, uniformed and more professional force.

By 1940 John and Marie were living in St. Boniface and he was working as a government customs clerk. He retired around 1945 and in late March or early April 1946 they moved to West Vancouver. Marie passed away there three weeks later, on 21 April. She is buried in Capilano View Cemetery. John continued living in West Vancouver for the next 18 years. He died of injuries on 17 January 1964, at age 83, after being struck by an automobile. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

By Becky Johnson

52nd-1915-06-16 52nd-1915-12-08 Hornby-John-Harrison-90 Hornby-John-Harrison-91

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