|Date of Birth||August 22, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Stratford, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Mary O'Connell, mother, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Clerk|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||November 11, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 4, 1966|
|Age at Death||79|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Although a birth record was not found, by most accounts John Daniel O’Connell was born on 22 August 1887 in Stratford, Ontario. He was the son of John O’Connell and Mary Ann Lavelle who had married on 27 January 1885 in Stratford. John had a sister Mary Helen, who according to her obituary was born in 1888 in Saginaw, Michigan. By the time of the 1891 census John, his widowed mother, and sister were living in Stratford with his maternal grandparents Anthony and Mary Lavelle and their daughter Bridget. At the time Mary’s occupation was given as charwoman. The 1901 census found John with his mother and sister in Stratford, with Mary’s brother-in-law Daniel O’Connell lodging with the family. By the time of the 1911 census Daniel was no longer with the family and John was working as a presser. In 1912 his sister Mary married Stephen Donnelly with the couple moving to Kenora, Ontario likely later that year. Around 1916 John and his mother also moved to Kenora where, according to his obituary, John began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a trainman the next year.
With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, John was called up for service on 11 November 1917 according to his recruitment paper, the date later given as 8 January 1918 on his discharge paper, and 29 April 1918 on his Medical History of an Invalid. At the time of his attestation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, his occupation was given as clerk although elsewhere in his record it was given as trainman. His date of birth was given as ’22th August 1888′, and his mother Mary in Kenora as next of kin. Although originally found medically fit (B2) during his medical examination in Winnipeg on 8 January 1918, in May of 1918 a further examination revealed that John had impaired lung function caused by tuberculosis. The origin was given as in Buffalo, New York, dating back to 1915. According to the record John had had surgery to remove glands in the right side of his neck, the condition given as hereditary so perhaps his father had died of tuberculosis. As a Private with the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, John was discharged from service as medically unfit on 3 September 1918.
The 1921 census found John and his mother Mary living with his sister Mary Donnelly and family in Kenora. He later lived on 1st Avenue South as evidenced by a 1935 Voters list. He was to have a long career with the Canadian Pacific Railway, retiring on 1 April 1950. He was a member of the Notre Dame Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus in Kenora.
John died on 4 December 1966 in the Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora. At the time he was predeceased by his mother Mary in 1933 and survived by his sister Mary Donnelly and two nephews, all in Kenora. His sister later died in 1974. Along with his mother and sister, John is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham