Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 24, 1887
Place of BirthDeptford, London
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs JJ O'Sullivan, wife, 90 Stanley Street, Leicester, England
Trade / CallingBoot and Shoe Packer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number225128
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion12th Reserve Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentEast Sandling, Kent, England
Date of EnlistmentJune 13, 1917
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEngland
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 6, 1962
Age at Death75

O’Sullivan, Joseph John

Joseph John O’Sullivan was born on 24 August 1887 in Deptford, London, England. His father Thomas William O’Sullivan was from Foots Cray in Kent while his mother Annie Darby was from Kensington in London where the couple married during second quarter of 1877. Thomas first worked as a news agent but then for many years as a house painter/decorator. Children born to Thomas and Annie in Deptford were Agnes (1878-1897), Thomas Augustine (1880), Elizabeth Annie (1881), Winnifred Katherine (1884) and Joseph. By the time of the birth of their next child, son Bernard Francis (1890-1895), the family had moved to the Battersea area of London. Daughter Annie Emily was born in 1892 in Battersea. Sadly mother Annie died in 1895, with Thomas Sr later marrying Martha Elizabeth Huffer in 1897. By the time of the 1901 census Joseph, still living at home, was working as a messenger. Thomas later passed away in 1922.

Joseph immigrated to Canada in1908, arriving in Montreal aboard the Corsican on 26 April. His occupation was given as painter and intended residence as Montreal. On 25 December 1909, in Toronto, Ontario, Joseph married Gertrude Martha Billington. Born in 1888 in Leicester, Leicestershire in England, Gertrude was the daughter of Henry Billington and Sarah Jane Richardson. At the time of the marriage Joseph was working as a waiter but by the 1911 census he was working as a car conductor. Children born to Joseph and Gertrude in Toronto were Gertrude Doris (24 November 1910) and Bernard Henry (27 February 1913).

In 1914 Gertrude and the two children travelled to England, arriving in Liverpool on the Tunisian on 23 February. At some point Joseph also returned to England, attesting with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 13 June 1917 at East Sandling in Kent. His occupation was given as boot and shoe packer and his wife Gertrude in Leicester as next of kin. Training as a Private with the 12th Reserve Battalion, in mid January of 1918 he was admitted to the No 11 General Hospital in Shorncliffe with chronic bronchitis and suspected tuberculosis. Transferred to the Canadian Special Hospital (Tubular) in Lenham on 13 March, it was decided that Joseph would be invalided to Canada for further treatment. He embarked from Liverpool aboard the Araguaya on 15 April was admitted to the Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto upon arrival. With the disability pre-existing enlistment, Joseph was discharged from service on 22 May 1918 in Toronto.

Leaving the children with her parents in England, Gertrude arrived back in Canada via New York aboard the Olympic in September of 1918. However it appears that the marriage failed as by the 1921 census Joseph was living in the Kenora area in northwestern Ontario, listed as a conductor at Sultana Mines on Lake of the Woods. In February 1923 Gertrude married Hector Cecil Griffin in Toronto, with children Doris and Bernard arriving in Canada on the Montcalm in May of 1924, on their way to their mother in Toronto.

Joseph immigrated to the United States in 1923, crossing the border on 2 November at Noyes, Minnesota. At the time he had been living at the Manitoba Agricultural College in Winnipeg. At some point he met Antoinette Desrosiers. Born on 25 July 1900 in Lanoraie, Quebec, Antoinette was the daughter of Jean Louis Desrosiers and Merelise Bonin. Living in Lindapore, Alberta, she had immigrated to the United States in November of 1922. Joseph and Antoinette settled in Los Angeles, giving birth to daughter Marie on 26 June 1928 in Los Angeles. At the time of the 1930 census for Los Angeles Joseph was working as a porter at a hospital while Antoinette as a waitress. By the 1940 census Joseph was no longer able to work while Antoinette was working a a practical nurse/attendant. Joseph and Antoinette married on 29 January 1952 in Los Angeles.

Joseph died on 6 July 1962 in Los Angeles. Antoinette later died on 21 February 1989, also in Los Angeles. Their final resting place is unknown.

By Judy Stockham

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