Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 13, 1892
Place of BirthWoodbridge, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Edward Turner, father, Stayner,Ontario
Trade / Callingchauffeur
Service Details
Regimental Number642774
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion177th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentCollingwood, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 10, 1916
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 6, 1982
Age at Death90
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotMemory Meadows Block, 52E-10-2

Turner, John Edward

Birth: John Edward Turner was born in Woodbridge, County of York in Ontario on November 13, 1892.  His parents were William Edward Turner (born November 1864, Ontario) and Esther Emily McBride (born October 1865, Ontario).

Early Life:  In the 1901 Canadian census, the family was living in Stayner, Ontario in the District of Simcoe, and consisted of the parents and three children. The family was recorded as Presbyterian.  William was employed as a foundry worker.  By the 1911 census, the family had grown to eight members and was still living in Stayner.    William was now working as a moulder, in the foundry.  John was employed as a labourer.  Esther and William had 6 children, including John.  All were born in Staynor:  Wilbert Vernon (born June 1895); Thirza Lillian (born October 1898); Maude Marie (born July 1902); Walter Charles (born June 1903); and, William Ernest (born December 1907).

Although there was no record located of John attending university, it appears he had higher education or training as a Biologist with a specialty in fish culture.  In 1912, he began a lifelong career in fish culture at Port Arthur, Ontario, with the war interrupting his career in 1916 for a short period of time.

War experience:    John enlisted with the 157th Battalion on January 10th, 1916 at Collingwood, Ontario, where he was living at the time. He was transferred to A Company 177th Overseas Battalion, CEF. His father, still living in Staynor, was recorded as his next of kin.  William was no longer at the foundry and, instead, was now employed as a chauffeur.

It was only a matter of months, however, when a concern arose over John’s physical health.  He had some ongoing issues that the medical board thought would worsen in the routine duties of a soldier.  John experienced continual discomfort and, although an operation could have corrected one of the medical issues, John chose to decline the surgery.  The board recommended that he be discharged as medically unfit. John was discharged in Barrie, Ontario, November 7, 1916.  His service record indicates that his conduct, overall, was very good. This will explain why he is not found on the nominal roll when the battalion embarked from Halifax on November 17, 1916 on the S.S. Cameronia.

Interestingly, John’s brother, Vernon, who played hockey in Cleveland, Ohio, and worked at part times jobs in that city, was registered with the United States Draft.

Life after the war:    According to his discharge papers, it appears John may have become a chauffeur, like his father, for a period of time.  When he married, however, he was recorded as a biologist.  On June 25, 1919 in Stayner, John married Cora Edna Heming, a graduate nurse, who was born 1896, in Horning Mills, Ontario.  In the 1921 census, he and Cora and their 9 month old daughter, Florence were living on Raglan Street West, Collingwood, Ontario.  In 1926, he took over as Fish Hatchery manager in that district. While living in Collingwood, he became a member of the Manito Masonic Lodge 90 and I.O.O.F. No. 54.

In 1936, John moved Cora and their three children to Kenora, where he took over management of the Kenora Fish Hatchery.  He remained in that position until his retirement in 1960. John was actively involved in the community, in particular, the development of the Lakeside Community skating rink, serving as president for 7 years. Although a Presbyterian for much of his younger life, John had become a member of St. Albans Anglican Church, and he also served as a member of the Southward Home and School Association.  John was an avid sportsman and supported minor hockey in the Kenora area.  He was also past president of the Kenora Curling Club.  Cora and John had three children: Florence, who married Gerald Veniot; Marjorie, who married Morven Spendlow; and, David, whose wife’s name was Diane.

Date of death and burial location:    John was living at Birchwood Terrace at the time of his death on October 6, 1982. He is buried in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Memory Meadows Block.    He is buried beside Cora, who  died September 12, 1980. His children, several grandchildren and  great grandchildren and one sister, Thirza, survived him.

By Susan (Hillman) Brazeau in support of the Kenora Great War Project – honouring all who served, remembering those who died



Ontario, Canada Births 1869-1913
Library and Archives Service File
Lake of the Woods Cemetery
1901 Canada Census
1911 Canada Census
1921 Canada Census
Kenora Daily Miner and News, October 1982 Obituary
Northern Ontario Gravemarker Gallery

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