John Arthur Woolverton

In July 1918 his camp was bombed and the explosion threw him twenty feet away and knocked him unconscious.

John Arthur Woolverton’s contribution to the First World War is just one of many war stories for the Woolverton family, the earliest dating back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

In 1901 John was aboard a ship in Quebec heading to England to enlist to the Boer War when he received word that the war was over. He returned to his home in London, Ontario and worked at the Shuff Drug Store after having trained as a pharmacist at McMaster University. He later worked as a pharmacist in Winnipeg, Manitoba until he enlisted to the First World War at age thirty-five on November 24, 1914.

In September 1915, he arrived in France aboard the SS Northland and was attached to the 4th Brigade of the Canadian Corps of Engineers and assigned to water detail. As a medic he tested the drinking water and drove the tanks of water to the front by truck or horse drawn wagon. He was promoted to corporal on April 28, 1916.

He sent twenty dollars of the thirty-five dollars he made per month to his wife Alice Georgina Shuffand and three young sons, Frank, Jack and George, in Winnipeg.

In July 1918 his camp was bombed and the explosion threw him twenty feet away and knocked him unconscious. He regained consciousness and the next day he started feeling pain near his heart, which continued throughout his life.

He sailed from England on HMT Calais on April 19, 1919, and was honourably discharged in Winnipeg on May 31, 1919. After receiving a Good Conduct Medal in October 1918, Woolverton and his family moved to Penticton, British Columbia. There he worked for the Canadian National Railway Company and had two more sons—Alan and Ralph.

The family moved back to Winnipeg in 1924 where Woolverton and his wife had their daughter Anna Marion Elizabeth in 1925. John died on December 17, 1964, in London, Ontario but was alive to see his sons follow in their family’s path by fighting in the Second World War. Alan joined the pre-war Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and trained as a photographer at Camp Borden, Ontario then transferred to aircrew training and became a Halifax bomber pilot in the 428 (Ghost) Squadron out of Middleton St. George in Yorkshire, England. He was shot down over Holland in February 1944 just before his twenty-third birthday.

Ralph joined the Second World War in 1942 and graduated as an aircrew navigator in Winnipeg on his twenty-first birthday and transferred to the Royal Air Force Ferry Command in 1953, based at Dorval, Quebec.

George, Frank, and Jack worked as ground crew in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Other wars Woolverton members have contributed to include the Fenian Raids, the Mackenzie Rebellion in 1835, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812.

Do you have an ancestor who served in the Great War? Submit their story and it could be included on this Great War Album website.