|Date of Birth
|December 13, 1895
|Place of Birth
|Next of Kin
|Simon Jahn (father), Haldrup, Denmark
|Trade / Calling
|Link to Service Record
|Canadian Expeditionary Force
|Enlisted / Conscripted
|Address at Enlistment
|Date of Enlistment
|April 4, 1916
|Age at Enlistment
|Theatre of Service
|Prisoner of War
|Date of Death
|March 22, 1982
|Age at Death
Private Andrew Peter Jahn immigrated to Canada from Denmark in May 1913 and the First World War started the following year. He enlisted in the spring of 1916 and served in England, France and Belgium for over two years. Andrew was wounded at Passchendaele but he survived the war and returned to Canada with his battalion in 1919.
Andrew grew up in Haldrup, Jutland, Denmark, a village on the east coast of the country near the city of Horsens. He was the second oldest son of Simon Carlsen Jahn, a fisherman, and Ane Cathrine Petersen. He was born in Haldrup on 13 December 1895 and baptized as Anders Peter Carlsen Jahn on 1 March 1896 in Vahr Kirke (Vahr Parish). He had an older brother Carl Marius Carlsen Jahn, born in January 1894, and five younger brothers and sisters: Sofus (1898), Martha (1899), Signe (1903), Uffe (1907) and Borge. Carl immigrated to Canada in 1911 at age 17, arriving in New York in March on the SS Lusitania, a farm labourer, his destination Manitoba. He settled in Brookdale and Andrew joined him two years later. Andrew arrived in New York from Liverpool on 17 May 1913 on the SS Mauretania, age 17, a labourer from Haldrup near Horsens in Denmark, going to his brother Carl in Brookdale, Manitoba.
The war started in August 1914 and Carl enlisted in October 1915 in Brandon. Andrew signed up the following spring, joining the 226th Battalion in April 1916 in Minnedosa. He was 20 years old, working as a farmer and his address was Minnedosa. The 226th (Men of the North) was recruited in Manitoba and the volunteers trained at Camp Hughes over the summer and fall. While Andrew was there his brother Carl was declared missing in action and presumed to have died on 8 October 1916, during the assault on Regina Trench. The operation was part of the Battle of the Somme, a five-month long offensive that cost the Canadian Corps over 24,000 casualties.
The 226th Battalion left for the UK in December 1916, embarking from Halifax on the SS Olympic and landing at Liverpool a few days after Christmas. In January 1917 the men were transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. After a further five months of training Andrew was drafted to the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion and sent to France. When he joined his new unit in the field in June 1917 they were based in Ruitz, northwest of Lens. That fall the Canadians were moved to the Ypres Salient in Belgium to take part in the assault on Passchendaele. Andrew injured his foot in September but he was out of action for less than two weeks and back with his unit in time for the Battle of Passchendaele. The operation was planned to take place in several stages starting on 26 October. Even before it began the battlefield was a wasteland of mud, swamp and water-filled shell holes and the troops were sometimes knee-deep and even waist-deep in mud and water.
The 27th took part in the third phase of the assault on 6 November. They moved into position at 4 am that morning and the attack began two hours later. From the War Diary of the 27th Battalion, 6 November 1917: ‘Battalion assembled for the assault and all in position at 4 a.m. Zero hour was at 6 a.m. Battalion attacked the village of PASSCHENDAELE with the 31st Battalion on the left and the 26th Battalion on the right. All objectives captured at 7:40 a.m. Day spent in consolidating position ‘Approximate casualties were: 13 Officers and 240 O.Rs.‘ 7 November 1917: ‘Battalion holding the line, consolidating position, and cleaning up the battle-field. Great difficulty experienced in carrying out wounded owing to length of distance, nature of ground and intense hostile shell fire.‘
Andrew was one of wounded, hit by shrapnel in the hip and lower back on 7 November. He spent the next four weeks in the General Hospital at Camiers, on the coast of France, and at two convalescent centres. When he recovered he was sent to the base depot in Etaples then to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp. He rejoined his unit in January 1918. In February he was given a two-week leave and in April, after two years of service, he was awarded a good conduct badge.
That summer the Canadian Corps had eight weeks of intensive training in open warfare and in early August they were moved to the Amiens area in France. Andrew’s unit took part in the Battle of Amiens (8-11 August 1918), a very successful offensive that was spearheaded by the Canadians. It was the start of the final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive. After the Armistice the 27th Battalion took part in the March to the Rhine, crossing into Germany on 4 December and staying there with the occupying forces until 24 January 1919. Andrew returned to England with his unit on 13 April. On 13 May they embarked from Liverpool on the SS Northland, landing at Halifax nine days later. The 27th Battalion arrived in Winnipeg by train on the afternoon of 26 May, a sweltering hot day, and a huge crowd was there to greet them. The returning soldiers paraded down Main Street and Portage Avenue to enormous cheering and applause, escorted by the depot battalion band. At Kennedy Street they were dismissed to join their families and return to their homes. The following day the men reported at Minto Barracks where they were discharged and the unit demobilized.
After the war Andrew lived in Minnedosa, Norgate and Neepawa, Manitoba where he worked in the bush cutting timber in the winter and as a farm labourer during the summer and fall. In the early 1920s he moved to Kenora, Ontario where he was hired for the CPR’s extra gangs. He also worked in the bush and as a fishing guide. In 1932 Andrew got his first commercial fishing licence and he settled on Lake of the Woods, in the Big Island and French Portage area. For the next thirty years he lived on the lake working as a commercial fisherman, trapper and guide. He was close friends with the Boucha family at French Portage and with George Thomas, who was also a veteran of the war. From about 1956 to 1962 Andrew was a guide at Hook’s Muskie Camp on the lake then he worked as a caretaker until his retirement in 1967 at age 72.
In 1973 Andrew suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and he moved to Brampton, Ontario to stay with one of George Thomas’s daughters. He spent most of his last years living with her family in southern Ontario, first in Brampton then in Downsview, Brantford and Bramalea. In the fall of 1978 he returned to Kenora for a few months. He joined the local legion and moved into Pinecrest Home for the Aged in December but by March 1979 he was back in southern Ontario. His last known address was on Knightsbridge Road in Bramalea. He passed away on 22 March 1982, at age 86.
His brother Carl’s body was recovered after the war and he’s buried in Adanac Military Cemetery near Albert in France. Their parents both died in Haldrup, Denmark, Simon in January 1932 and Ane in December 1941. They are buried in Haldrup and Carl is commemorated on the family grave marker there.
By Becky Johnson
Photos courtesy of the Jahn family.