Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 26, 1892
Place of BirthNorman, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Walton Wood (father), Erickson, British Columbia
Trade / CallingMill hand
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number442510
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion29th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentNelson, British Columbia
Address at EnlistmentNelson, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentMay 6, 1915
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarYes
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 29, 1916
Age at Death23
Buried AtSt. Jan Communal Cemetery, Kortrijk, Belgium

Wood, John Ernest

Private John Ernest Wood enlisted in May 1915 and arrived in France about eight months later. He died of wounds as a prisoner of war in April 1916, at age 23.

John was the only son of John Walton Wood and Bridget Carmody of Nelson, British Columbia. John Walton and Bridget were both born in Ontario. They were married in 1889 in the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario. John Walton’s residence at the time was the neighbouring village of Norman and he worked as a labourer and sawyer in a sawmill. He and his wife had at least five children: Katherine May (1891), John Ernest (1892), Florence Hazel (1895), Alice Winifred (1898) and Sarah Isabel (1901). John was born in Norman on 26 November 1892. He was baptized along Katherine and Florence on 4 February 1897 at the Notre Dame du Portage Roman Catholic Church in Rat Portage. John was four years old at the time.

When the next census was taken in 1901 the family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). Within a year or two they moved to British Columbia and settled in the town of Nelson, where John Walton continued to work as a sawyer in a sawmill. The war started in August 1914 and John enlisted in Nelson the following spring, on 6 May 1915. He joined the Nelson Detachment of the 54th (Kootenay) Battalion and had his medical in Vernon in June. He was 22 years old, his occupation was mill hand and next of kin was his father in Erickson, British Columbia.

John was sent overseas with his unit’s 2nd reinforcing draft, embarking from Halifax on the SS Saxonia on 23 October 1915 and arriving in England about ten days later. He was transferred to the 30th Reserve Battalion and trained with them for about two months. On 20 January 1916 he was drafted to a front line unit, the 29th Battalion, and sent to France. He joined them in the field in early February. In March and April the 2nd Canadian Division, including the 29th Battalion, took part in actions at St. Eloi Craters in Belgium. During an operation on 19 April about 90 men in the 29th Battalion were killed or taken prisoner. John was listed as missing in action on 19 April. He had been wounded and taken as a prisoner of war. He was officially reported as ‘died of wounds’ on 29 April at the Lazarett (German military hospital) in Kortrijk, Belgium.

John is buried in St. Jan (formerly St. Jean) Communal Cemetery in Kortrijk (Courtrai), Belgium. He is commemorated on the Cenotaphs in both Nelson and Creston, British Columbia.

John’s father passed away in Creston in 1952 and his mother in Rossland in 1955. They are both buried at Nelson Memorial Park in Nelson, British Columbia.

By Becky Johnson

Photo of John is from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Photo of grave marker courtesy of soilsister on

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