Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 10, 1890
Place of BirthStafford, Staffordshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEtta Webb, sister, 243 Linwood Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number2130150
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Place of EnlistmentBrandon, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentElton PO, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 10, 1918
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 5, 1990
Age at Death99
Buried AtPort Coquitlam Community Cemetery, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

Webb, John Arthur

John Arthur Webb was born on 10 December 1890 in Stafford, Staffordshire in England. His parents Charles Henry Webb and Ann Lea were from Wolverhampton in Staffordshire where they married on 16 November 1881. Children born to the couple in Wolverhampton were Jane Elizabeth (1882) and Charles Henry (1885). By the time of the birth of their next child in 1889, son Frederick Thomas, the family had moved to Stafford. Other children born in Stafford were John, Minnie Louisa (1891), Henrietta (Etta) (1893), Rose Mary (1896), and Frank (1898). John’s father worked as a newspaper machinist/printing engineer. Sadly, John’s mother died during the first quarter of 1901 and a short time after the 1901 census the family unit disintegrated.

‘Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes and then sent on to farmers in the area.’ (Library and Archives Canada)

John’s sisters Minnie, Etta, and Rose were taken into care by the Barnardo agency. Along with a large group of Barnardo children, the three young girls arrived in Canada aboard the Dominion on 11 May 1902. John was taken into care by a children’s home on Satchell Street in Leamington in Warwickshire in December of 1901, with application made to send him to Canada with the Middlemore Children’s Homes program in February of 1902. John arrived in Halifax aboard the Siberian on 4 June 1902. It appears that the older children were able to look after themselves, with Frederick entering the military at a young age. John’s sister Jane married James Plimmer in 1905. At the time of the 1911 England census John’s father and his younger brother Frank were in the Stafford Union Workhouse. His father later died in 1916.

By the time of the 1911 Canada census John was working as a domestic/labourer on Thomas Brinklow’s farm in the RM of Elton just north of Brandon in Manitoba. For the 1916 census John was listed as head of his own piece of land in the area that he farmed. His brother Frank immigrated to Canada in 1915, arriving in Quebec on 5 July on the Metagama on his way to Elton although he later moved to the United States where he died in 1962 in Hillside, Illinois. John’s sister Minnie married Richard Eyre in 1915 in Toronto where she later died in 1965. Etta, who had been living with widow Isabella Kindred in the village of Keene in the Township of Otanabee in Ontario at the time of the 1911 census, at some point after Isabella‚Äôs death in 1916 moved to Winnipeg where she found work as a stenographer. Further trace of Etta was not found. A marriage record of 1916 in Lincoln, Ontario was found for an age appropriate Rose Webb who married Arthur Couchman, Rose later dying in 1977 in Buffalo, New York.

Drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917, John was called up for service on 10 May 1918 in Brandon. At the time he was farming in the Elton area and gave his sister Etta in Winnipeg as next of kin. First assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, John was transferred to the 34th Fort Garry Horse on 19 June in Winnipeg, rank of Trooper. On 1 January 1919 he was transferred to the Remount Depot in Vancouver, later admitted to the Shaughnessy Military Hospital on 14 February for nine days with acute tonsillitis. John was discharged from service on demobilization on 24 April 1919 in Winnipeg, intended residence given as Elton.

On 25 October 1919, in Winnipeg, John married Jane (Jean) Olive Beggs. Born in 1896 in the Dalhousie area in Lanark, Ontario, Jean was the daughter of farmers John Beggs and Emeline Boyle. At the time of the 1921 census John and Jean were living in the St James area of Winnipeg where John was working as a pipe fitter in a foundry. They had given birth to son Ronald earlier that year. In 1922 they gave birth to daughter Yvonne Emeline. It is not known if more children were born to the family.

By 1943 John and Jean were living in Kenora, Ontario where John joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. Voters lists for Kenora indicated that he first worked as a fireman and then later as a locomotive engineer. After retiring around 1956 John and Jean moved to Vancouver, British Columbia.

John’s wife Jean died on 31 March 1969 in the Louis Brier Private Hospital in Vancouver. She is interred in the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. John, age 99, died on 5 March 1990 in the Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody in British Columbia. Up until his admission to the hospital he had been living in nearby Port Coquitlam. John is interred in the Port Coquitlam Community Cemetery.

By Judy Stockham

John’s grave marker photograph by Margaret S,

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