The 1901 Census for Canada shows us that the Connell family was living in Smith Falls in the district of Lanark South, Ontario. The household comprised of James Connell, Head, age 46, a Blacksmith who had been born in Ireland on 7th March 1855. His family had emmigrated to Canada in 1853. His wife Adeline Marjorie (nee Cain) age 38 was born in Ontario on 26th June 1862. Their sons were Robert aged 11 (born in Ontario on 11th May 1889) and John Arthur aged 6 (born in Ontario on 22nd February 1895).
Ten years on in 1911 we find the family in Lorne Street, Smith Falls, Lanark South, Ontario. James Connell was 56 years of age and a Labourer in a Foundry, Adeline was 48. Robert was 22 and in he same trade as his father. Arthur was 16 and a Labourer doing odd jobs.There had been an addition to the family, Robert aged 9 had been born in May 1902.
John Arthur Connell Married Lottie Cain in March 1915.
John’s army records tell us that he enlisted into the 130th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionery Force at Smith Falls,Ontario on 16th December 1915. His previous trade had been Electrician. His next of kin was Mrs Lottie Connell (wife) and her address was Smith falls Ontario.
After training in Canada he embarked from Halifax on 23rd September 1916 on board the S.S. Lapland for Liverpool, U.K. and arrived on 6th October 1916, when he was posted to Sandling Camp in Kent, U.K.
(At the outbreak of WWI, the massive increase in numbers of troops arriving at Shorncliffe Camp could not be catered for without expansion of the camp. By 1915 additional camps had sprung up around Folkestone, including at Otterpool, Dibgate, East and West Sandling, Beachborough, Lyminge, and extending along the coast to Hythe, Lydd and the Romney March. Each camp became substantially self-contained, although the facilities and comfort, or lack of, varied considerably).
John Arthur Connellremained at Standling Camp until 20th March 1917 when he was transferred to Shorncliffe Camp where he remained until the 21 st September 1917.
John seems to have been a bit of a character after finding himself at odds with the Army Authorities for being reported ” Absent Without Leave.” He was arrested on 9th November 1917 after masquerading as an “in patient ” at Westcliffe Hospital, Folkstone in Kent. He masqueraded as a Sergeant Major and on arrest on 9th November he escaped and was sentenced to nine months detention on 18th December 1917.
On release from detention John was posted to Shorncliffe Camp and then Bordon Camp and finally to Kinmel Park Camp in North Wales. John contracted Influenza and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 13th February 1919.
(From Library and Archives of Canada Service Files of 1st WW 1914-1918).
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.
John is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual war Memorial.
I found a Family Tree for the Connell Family on Ancestry.co.uk and contacted the owner Frank Watson who kindly advised me that the information on this site is accurate. He also supplied other information regarding John’sfamily. There were no children from the marriage between John and Lottie. She went on to remarry in 1925.
John’s father James, died at 74 years of age in 1918 and his mother Marjorie Adeline died at 75 years of age in 1937.
One brother Robert died in 1921 at 32 years of age and one sibling was stillborn.