The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Aston, John Watson Image
  • Aston, John Watson

  • John Watson Aston was born in Stafford, Staffordshire, England, birth registered during the third quarter of 1889. His father John Aston was from Ashley in Staffordshire, while his mother Mary Louisa Watson was from Stone, Staffordshire. The couple married on 2 December 1885 in Stone. John had two older sisters, Isabel and Ethel. John Sr was a successful grocer in Stafford, usually able to employ a servant in the home. John’s mother died in 1893 and his father married Barbara Simpson in 1897. John Sr and Barbara gave birth to four more children, Richard, William, Barbara, and Ronald. After the death of John’s father in 1910, Barbara and all the children went to live with her parents, Adam and Annie Simpson, also in Stafford.

    With occupation given as grocer, John immigrated to Canada in 1912, arriving in Montreal aboard the Tunisian on October 13th. He was headed to Otterburne, Manitoba to work as a farm labourer, Otterburne a community about 55 kilometres south of Winnipeg. However, by 1918 he was living in Winnipeg and working as a salesman.

    John signed his recruitment papers on 29 May 1918 in Winnipeg, giving his place and date of birth as 19 September 1890 in Stafford. He listed his mother Barbara Aston of Chaseview Coppenhal in Stafford as next of kin. Having broken his arm when kicked by a horse five years earlier, John’s left arm was slightly deformed, likely causing him to be classed as B2 in his medical examination. In December John was transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps in Winnipeg, and was discharged from service on 2 February 1919 due to demobilization.

    John remained in Winnipeg and on 7 September 1940 married Esther Christiansen. From Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, Esther was the daughter of John and Annie Christiansen. She had moved to Winnipeg in 1926 to work at the Hudson’s Bay Company. In latter years John was employed by the Hunter Manufacturing Company.

    John died on 13 May 1956 in the Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Esther in Winnipeg, his (step)mother Barbara and siblings Isabel, William, and Ronald, all back in England. John is interred in the family plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario. For reasons unknown, both John’s obituary and grave marker have the year of birth as 1899. In 1962, in Winnipeg, Esther married Henry Russell White. Esther died in the St Boniface Hospital on 14 December 1972. She is interred with John in Kenora.

    by Judy Stockham

    Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1940

    Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1940

    Winnipeg Free Press 14 May 1956

    Winnipeg Free Press 14 May 1956

    Kenora Miner and News, 15 May 1956

    Kenora Miner and News, 15 May 1956

  • Regimental Number:
  • 3346794
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Army Pay Corps
  • Battalion:
  • Winnipeg
  • Place of Birth:
  • Stafford, Staffordshire
  • Country:
  • England
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Barbara Aston, (step) mother, Chaseview Coppenhal Stafford, England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 387 William Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Birth:
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Salesman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 29, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Canada
  • Date of Death:
  • May 13, 1956
  • Age at Death:
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 60E-35-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • John Watson Aston was born in Stafford, Staffordshire, England, birth registered during the third quarter of 1889. His father John Aston was from Ashley in Staffordshire, while his mother Mary Louisa Watson was from Stone, Staffordshire. The couple married on 2 December 1885 in Stone. John had two older sisters, Isabel and Ethel. John Sr was a successful grocer in Stafford, usually able to employ a servant in the home. John’s mother died in 1893 and his father married Barbara Simpson in 1897. John Sr and Barbara gave birth to four more children, Richard, William, Barbara, and Ronald. After the death of John’s father in 1910, Barbara and all the children went to live with her parents, Adam and Annie Simpson, also in Stafford.

    With occupation given as grocer, John immigrated to Canada in 1912, arriving in Montreal aboard the Tunisian on October 13th. He was headed to Otterburne, Manitoba to work as a farm labourer, Otterburne a community about 55 kilometres south of Winnipeg. However, by 1918 he was living in Winnipeg and working as a salesman.

    John signed his recruitment papers on 29 May 1918 in Winnipeg, giving his place and date of birth as 19 September 1890 in Stafford. He listed his mother Barbara Aston of Chaseview Coppenhal in Stafford as next of kin. Having broken his arm when kicked by a horse five years earlier, John’s left arm was slightly deformed, likely causing him to be classed as B2 in his medical examination. In December John was transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps in Winnipeg, and was discharged from service on 2 February 1919 due to demobilization.

    John remained in Winnipeg and on 7 September 1940 married Esther Christiansen. From Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, Esther was the daughter of John and Annie Christiansen. She had moved to Winnipeg in 1926 to work at the Hudson’s Bay Company. In latter years John was employed by the Hunter Manufacturing Company.

    John died on 13 May 1956 in the Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Esther in Winnipeg, his (step)mother Barbara and siblings Isabel, William, and Ronald, all back in England. John is interred in the family plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario. For reasons unknown, both John’s obituary and grave marker have the year of birth as 1899. In 1962, in Winnipeg, Esther married Henry Russell White. Esther died in the St Boniface Hospital on 14 December 1972. She is interred with John in Kenora.

    by Judy Stockham

    Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1940

    Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1940

    Winnipeg Free Press 14 May 1956

    Winnipeg Free Press 14 May 1956

    Kenora Miner and News, 15 May 1956

    Kenora Miner and News, 15 May 1956

  • « Return to all stories
  • Aston, John Watson Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 3346794
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • Winnipeg
  • Place of Birth:
  • Stafford, Staffordshire
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Barbara Aston, (step) mother, Chaseview Coppenhal Stafford, England
  • Date of Birth:
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Army Pay Corps
  • Country:
  • England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 387 William Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Salesman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 29, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Canada
  • Date of Death:
  • May 13, 1956
  • Age at Death:
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 60E-35-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Aston, John Watson

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