Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 2, 1897
Place of BirthDundee
CountryScotland
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
Regimental Number2477/345328
BattalionRoyal Air Force
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 26, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19800819
Age at Death83
Buried AtHillside Cemetery, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

Sherrett, Joseph Allan

Joseph Allan Sherrett was born on 02 May 1897 in Dundee, Scotland.   He was the youngest child of James Sherrett, a railway engine driver, and Rebecca Macallister. His siblings included James A. (born 1880), Annie F. (born 1882), Margaret M. (1884 – 1937), Jean Belle (1886 – 1972), John Ross (1888 – 1955), Isabella Allan (born 1890) and Georgina M. He was known as ‘Al’.

On 26 September 1915 Al enlisted with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. This unit became part of the Royal Highlanders the following year. Al achieved the rank of Sergeant as he served in the campaigns in Egypt and the Sudan, at Gallipoli and in Palestine.  After Jerusalem was captured he joined the Royal Flying Corps which became the Royal Air Force.  He was a pilot who flew Sopwith Camel fighters in the Mediterranean theatre until March 1919.  He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star.

In 1920 Al immigrated to Canada and joined the Canadian Air Force in Portage la Prairie.  He served until the 30 of June 1921 and then got work as a newspaper man.  On 29 November 1922 Al married Edna Margaret Taylor in Portage la Prairie.  They moved to Toronto where Al continued working in the newspaper business.  Sons Robert and Allan were born there.

In 1926 Al and his family came to Kenora, Ontario.  He worked for the local newspaper, the Miner & News, and became its editor.   He kept contact with the military joining the Kenora Light Infantry, 16th Med. Battery and RCA Militia.  When the Second World War loomed Al rejoined the Royal Canadian Air Force. With a rank of Squadron Leader he opened many of the early training stations in Western Canada and headed the Canadian Air Mission to New Zealand modernizing their training manuals and procedures. He was a contributor to ‘Contact’, The National Magazine of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, providing articles from Canada’s point of view.   When his service ended in October of 1945, Al returned to Kenora.

Al was involved in many community projects and efforts.  He served as Industrial Commissioner and Tourism Director for Kenora and district retiring in 1972.  He was instrumental in bringing the Mississippi Parkway Commission to join the Trans Canada Highway, and the Great River Road at Longbow Corners.  He was always very interested in music; member of the Knox United Church, and the Church Choir; member of the Rotary Club; the Royal Canadian Legion, Kenora Branch; the Chamber of Commerce, and served a term as a Town Councillor. In 1973 Al published a novel, ‘Operation Rat’.

At the age of 83, Al passed away in Kenora on 19 August 1980.  His wife Edna died in 1990.  They are buried in Hillside Cemetery, Portage la Prairie.

Both of Al’s sons joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served in World War 2.  Robert was an air gunner who was shot down in the English Channel in 1942 and again, a year later, he was the only member of his air crew to survive after their aircraft was badly damaged.  Allan was a Sgt. Pilot who had the highest night kill of WW2 in the ‘Mosquito’.

Sherrett-Joseph-Allan-11 Sherrett-Joseph-Allan-12 Sherrett-Joseph-Allan-13 Sherrett-Joseph-Allan-14

Photographs courtesy of grandson James Sherrett.


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