|Date of Birth||August 6, 1888|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Arthur Thompson (brother), Dominion Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Waiter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion, BC Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Address at Enlistment||Dominion Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Date of Enlistment||June 15, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||29|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
Private John Thompson was born in 1888 in Rat Portage, Ontario. His service file records his birth as 30 July but he was most likely born on 6 August. If this is the correct John Thompson his parents were Benjamin Franklin ‘Frank’ Thompson and Augusta Bohn and his birth was registered in the town of Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. John had an older brother, Arthur Bohn, who was born in Rat Portage on 22 February 1887, and a sister Sarah (Sadie), born about 1885. Another brother, William Stanley, was born in Rat Portage in 1890. Their father worked in the local lumber industry.
When the 1891 census was taken Augusta was listed as widowed and living in Fort Frances with the four children. She was working as a cook and lodging with a hotel keeper, Edward Scott and his wife. The census recorded Augusta as 30 years old, born in Ontario and of German ancestry. The children’s father was born in the U.S. By 1901 Augusta had returned to Rat Portage where she was living with her older sister, Wilhelmina Bohn. Only Arthur and William were still at home. Sadly, Augusta died on 3 March 1904, at age 42, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Wilhelmina had moved to the state of Washington around 1902. She married Samuel Henry Creelman and they settled in the Spokane area. John and Arthur both moved to British Columbia and Arthur went on to Washington around 1911. John may have spent some time in the U.S. too. William had stayed in Kenora but he joined his family in Washington in 1912.
Conscription started in Canada in the fall of 1917 and John had his army medical on 19 December 1917 in Vancouver. His occupation was waiter and next of kin was his brother Arthur Thompson. John’s attestation paper listed his address as the Dominion Hotel in Vancouver but on his medical history sheet it was 207 Georgia Street East. He had impaired hearing in one ear due to a perforated eardrum and he was placed in Category C, fit for service in Canada only. John was called up the following summer, on 15 June 1918, and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, BC Regiment. He failed to report until 25 September and forfeited 110 days pay. He was discharged a month later, on 26 October, and returned to the Registrar’s records, meaning he could be called up again if his services were required.
John’s brother Arthur Thompson signed up at a Canadian recruiting centre in Washington in October 1917. He served in Canada for seven months and was discharged for medical reasons in May 1918. Their younger brother William Stanley Thompson enlisted at a British recruiting centre in New York in December 1917. He served with the Inland Water Transport Division of the Royal Engineers in England, Salonica and Russia and returned to the U.S. in October 1919.
Our research has turned up nothing about John’s life after the war and his date of death and place of burial have not been found. His brother William died in Los Angeles, California in February 1946, at age 55, and Arthur in Port Alberni, British Columbia in October 1955, at age 68.
By Becky Johnson