Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 11, 1888
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Trade / CallingRailroad Telegraph Operator
Service Details
Regimental Number714024
ForceAir Force
BranchUS Air Service
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment943 Winfield, Los Angeles, California
Date of EnlistmentJune 7, 1917
Age at Enlistment29
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 28, 1956
Age at Death68
Buried AtHarbor Lawn-Mount Olive Memorial Park, Costa Mesa, California

Beaton, John

John Beaton was born on 11 March 1888 in Keewatin, Ontario, a small town in northwestern Ontario that is now amalgamated with Kenora. His father John Beaton, born in 1858, was from Braes of Dunvornie, Urquhart, Ross shire in Scotland while his mother Catherine Lawless Peach, born in 1863, was from the registration district of Huddersfield, Yorkshire West in England. The couple married on 16 March 1887 in Prestwich, Lancashire where John was working as a farm labourer. Later that year they immigrated to Canada, first settling in Keewatin. Following John Jr, daughter Margaret was born in Keewatin in 1889. By 1892 the family had relocated to St Francois Xavier just outside of Winnipeg where sadly daughter Margaret died that year. By the time of the 1901 census the family was living in Winnipeg where John Sr found work in the construction business. Children born in Winnipeg were William James (1892), Catherine Olive (1895), and Alice Isabel (1905). At the time of the census John Jr was working as a messenger boy. At some point between the 1906 and 1911 censuses, Catherine obtained a legal separation from John, with the latter census listing Catherine and the children as living on Maryland Street in Winnipeg. At the time John Jr was working as a telegraph operator and William as a police constable. Further trace of John Sr was not found.

By the time John signed his US WW1 Draft registration card on 1 June 1917, he was living in Los Angeles, California and working as a telegrapher for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. Single, on the card he was described as tall, of medium weight, with gray eyes and black hair. With service number 714024, John enlisted a few days later, on the 7th, and by the time he was honourably discharged on 7 December 1918 he had attained the rank of Sergeant 1st Class with the Air Service. On the application for his headstone, his service was given as the School of Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance, training at Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia. It is not known if he served overseas. According to the application card, he was awarded the Victory Button and Victory Medal for his service.

John’s brother William enlisted in Winnipeg on 12 August 1914 and served overseas with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, rank of Sergeant. Injuring his knee in a fall from a motorcycle in August of 1916, he was discharged from service as medically unfit in October of 1917 in Winnipeg.

When the 1920 census was taken, John was married and father of an infant. Born on 14 June 1895 in Turner, South Dakota, his wife Lulu was the daughter of Guy Erwin Gorton and Nettie Moore. A marriage record indicated that she had previously married Charles Dinneen in 1913. At the time of the census John, Lulu, and daughter Virginia were living with her parents in Los Angeles where John was working as a railroad telegraph operator. By the 1930 census the family had moved to Thermal Township in the County of Riverside in California and by 1935 they had relocated to El Monte. Together the couple gave birth to three known children, Virginia (1919), John (1923) and Bruce (1936). In later years John worked as a telegrapher and ticket agent. John and Lulu’s son John later served with the US Navy during WW2 from December 1942 to January 1946.

With usual residence given as El Monte, John died on 28 November 1956 in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bellflower, Los Angeles County. He was predeceased by his infant sister Margaret and mother Catherine who had immigrated to California in the early 1920’s, passing away in 1939 in Los Angeles. On her Declaration of Intention for Naturalization in 1924, Catherine had stated that she was not married and that her husband John was deceased.

At the time of John’s death he was survived by his wife Lulu and his three children as well as siblings William, Olive, and Isabel. Lulu later died on 19 September 1976 in Los Angeles, William in 1959 in Surrey, British Columbia, Olive in 1976 in Vancouver, and Isabel (James) Goodwin in 1988 in Granton Pass, Oregon. John and Lulu were interred in the Harbor Rest Memorial Park Cemetery, now known as Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive Memorial Park in Costa Mesa, California.

By Judy Stockham

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