|Date of Birth||April 27, 1885|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John McEachern, father, 280 Bannerman Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Conductor, Canadian Pacific Railway|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||2nd Divisional Employment Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||May 27, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 8, 1944|
|Age at Death||59|
|Buried At||St Joachim Catholic Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta|
By most accounts Daniel Francis McEachern was born on 27 April 1885 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario although a birth record was not found. His father John McEachern was from Scotland while his mother Margaret McLean was from Nova Scotia. According to a family tree the couple married on 29 August 1869 in Acadia Mines (later renamed Londonderry), Colchester in Nova Scotia. The couple gave birth to son Alexander the next fall and then briefly moved to New Brunswick where son William was born (abt 1871). Moving back to Nova Scotia the family was living in Lower Londonderry at the time of the 1891 census where John was working as a miner. Other children born in the Maritimes were John Allan (abt 1875), Mary Ann (abt 1876, possibly in New Brunswick), Catherine Elizabeth (Lena) (1878), and Veronica (abt 1881). By 1883 and the birth of daughter Sarah the family had relocated to Rat Portage. The 1891 census gave John’s occupation as a railroad labourer and 1901 also as a labourer. Sadly Mary Ann died in 1890 followed by mother Margaret in 1906, both interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, spelling of surname as McEachran.
By the time of the 1911 census Daniel was living in Calgary, Alberta and working as a brakeman, presumably for the Canadian Pacific Railway. As a conductor for the CPR he signed his attestation papers on 27 May 1915 in Calgary. He gave his date of birth as 27 April 1886 in Kenora and his father John in Winnipeg as next of kin. With the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 56th Battalion, Private Daniel McEachern embarked from Montreal for overseas on 11 September 1915 aboard the Metagama.
Once in England Daniel was posted to the 9th Reserve Battalion before proceeding to France to join the 31st Battalion in the field, taken on strength on 5 February 1916. In March he was admitted to the No 6 Canadian Field Ambulance with influenza and then later that month to the No 4 Canadian Field Ambulance/Divisional Rest Station with enteritis. By July Daniel was back in England where he went through a series of transfers before returning to France in June of 1917 to serve with the 2nd Divisional Employment Company that had recently been organized at Bruay, France. However all was not well with Daniel and he was admitted to the No 15 Casualty Clearing Station on 26 October, diagnosis pulmonary tuberculosis, origin given as in Ypres in 1916 due to the stress of Campaign and exposure. First transferred to the No 12 General Hospital in Rouen, Daniel was invalided to Wales and admitted to the 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff on 9 November. Later that month he was moved to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Bearwood Park in Wokingham and then on to the Canadian Special Hospital in Lenham, Kent in March of 1918, the hospital specializing in tubercular cases. On the 23rd Daniel embarked for Canada aboard the hospital ship Llandovery Castle for further medical treatment and was discharged from service as being medically unfit for war service on account of sickness on 4 June 1918 in Calgary. At the time of discharge his intended residence was given as Bannerman Avenue in Winnipeg where his father had been living but by 1919 he was back in Calgary. His father later died in 1926 in Winnipeg.
On 1 October 1921, in Kenora, Daniel married Kathleen Christie Ratchford. Born on 17 January 1892 in Rat Portage, Kathleen was the daughter of contractor Thomas and Maria (née Dolan) Ratchford. At the time of the marriage Daniel was living in Big Valley, Alberta where he was working as a yardman for the Canadian National Railway. It appears that Daniel and Kathleen lived for a while in Drumheller, Alberta but were eventually to make Edmonton their home. Along the way Daniel worked as a switchman with the CNR and then latterly as a conductor for the CPR. The couple gave birth to three children, Eileen, Terrence (Terry) and Edgar.
Daniel died on 8 November 1944 in the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. On both his Veterans Death and Canada War Graves Registers cards the cause of death was given as chronic bronchitis etc, death due to war service. At the time of his death Daniel was survived by his wife Kathleen, daughter Eileen (at home), son Terry with the Signal Corps overseas, and son Edgar with the Canadian Army in Camrose as well as other family members. Kathleen died on 4 May 1970 and is interred with Daniel in the St Joachim Catholic Cemetery in Edmonton.
By Judy Stockham
photographs: as found on numerous family trees on ancestry.ca
obituaries: courtesy of Alison and Shannon, Edmonton