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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

John Thomas Carnahan

In memory of:

Private John Thomas Carnahan

April 9, 1917

Military Service


Service Number:

797106

Age:

24

Force:

Army

Unit:

Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)

Division:

14th Bn.

Additional Information


Born:

August 14, 1892

Commemorated on Page 213 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

NINE ELMS MILITARY CEMETERY (France)
Pas de Calais, France

Grave Reference:

I. A. 19.

Location:

Thelus is a village about 6.5 kilometres north of Arras and 1 kilometre east of the main road from Arras to Lens. The NINE ELMS MILITARY CEMETERY is on the western side of the main road and about 1.5 kilometres south of the village.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images

  • Photo of JOHN THOMAS CARNAHAN– A postcard with a studio portrait of John Carnahan which I can only assume (by the caption on the back) was taken at Camp Borden. Perhaps the soldiers were given an option of costumes to wear.
  • Newspaper Clipping– My grandmother, Ethel Carnahan Marshall, kept this clipped news article among photos and other memorabilia about her younger brother, Pte. John T. (Jack) Carnahan. I’m not sure when it was written, or in what newspaper it appeared. It features a photo taken by a local Norfolk County woman who, while touring France, visited the graves of some of the Norfolk 133rd soldiers buried at Nine Elms Cemetery. The description of the orderly, well-kept cemetery must have been comforting for family left behind at home. While the article appeared to be dedicated to Pte. J.S. Crerar, other soldiers’ graves are mentioned, including that of my great uncle, John Carnahan.
  • Post Card– I am lucky enough to have this beautifully embroidered card which was sent by my great uncle, John (Jack) Carnahan to his mother, Margaret Carnahan, on December 14, 1916. While spelling was clearly not his strength, his heartfelt feelings came through loud and clear. At the young age of 24, how very homesick he must have been.
  • Post Card– This is probably my most prized remembrance of my great uncle, John T. (Jack) Carnahan. While he may have written later, I have no later correspondence from him in my possession. The fact that it was written around Christmas makes it more poignant and I've always wondered if he wrote it in a tunnel. Written on Dec. 27, 1916, Jack told his mother, Margaret Carnahan, that he would be going to the trenches that night. He lived only 103 more days until his death at Vimy Ridge on April 9. 1917.
  • Family Photo– I think it is important to remember that every soldier who passed away in service was once a young person with hopes, dreams and a family who loved them. This is the only photo that I have of my great uncle, John (Jack) Carnahan, as a very young boy. He is pictured with his half-brother, William, and his older sisters, Ethel (my grandmother), and Mary (my great aunt). Their father, John Carnahan Sr., died in 1903 when Jack was only 11 years old. Like his older siblings, Jack had many responsibilities around the farm from an early age. Since his older brother William moved to Saskatchewan, had Jack survived the war, he would probably have inherited the Carnahan family farm in Carholme.
  • Letter– This note was written in Dec. 1916 by my great uncle, John (Jack) Carnahan to my uncle, Jack Marshall. I find this note absolutely heartbreaking - the advice of a 24 year old at war to his 6 year old nephew at home on the family farm "to take good care of the horses till I get home". What makes it all so much more tragic for me is that I never met either of these fine young men because they both died very early in life. The first was a soldier who died in the trenches at Vimy Ridge at age 24 and the second was a young farmer who died at age 22 of a blood infection. All anecdotal information suggests that they were both young men of sterling character who were well loved not only by family, but in their farming community in Carholme as well.
  • Christmas Card– This was sent to my Grandmother from her brother from France, Christmas 1916.
  • Cemetery– Nine Elms Cemetery – The Nine Elms Cemetery, located at Roclincourt, France. It is about 5 kilometres from Canada's Vimy Memorial in France. (John & Anne Stephens 2013)
  • Grave Marker– – The grave marker at the Nine Elms Cemetery located outside Roclincourt, France. It is located about 5 kilometres from Canada's Vimy Memorial. May he rest in peace. (John & Anne Stephens 2013)
  • Inscription– A clearer view (John & Anne Stephens 2013)
  • Biography– This page of remembrance for John T. Carnahan has been taken from a memorial book "Norfolk Remembers the Great War 1914-1918" published by Grant Smith in 2014. It is reproduced with permission from the Norfolk County Public Library in Simcoe, Ontario. While the page honours my great uncle, I feel it is possible that the photo is of another soldier as in our own family photos, his appearance seems different. 
At the time of enlistment on Feb. 10, 1916, John was a farmer in the 39th Militia Regiment and was married to Flossie Leota Moulton whose family lived in St. Williams. John's family's farm was located in Carholme, North Walsingham, Norfolk County.
Most of the information on the page is taken from the war diary of John's Battalion on the morning of April 9th, 1917 There is brief information about a memorial service held for John in his family's church in Carholme, Ontario.
  • Biography– Pte. Francis F. Murphy's Tribute to John Carnahan was originally published in the Simcoe Reformer on Aug. 16, 1917. John and Francis had both originally enlisted in the Norfolk's 133rd. It was reproduced in Grant Smith's memorial book "Norfolk Remembers the Great War 1914-1918" and I have been given permission by the Norfolk County Public Library in Simcoe, Ontario to share it.
The tribute briefly recalls their enlistment day in early 1916 and then Francis retells his visit to John's grave in France at some point after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He describes his encounter with a priest and young French women who provide him with enough roses for the 84 graves of the 49th Battalion burial plot, including John's grave and 15 others from Norfolk's 133rd.
  • Group Photo– John Carnahan is shown in uniform with his wife, Flossie Leota Moulton. They were were both only 20 years old when they married on March 26, 1913 in Port Rowan, Ontario. Perhaps they felt they would lives out their days as Norfolk County farmers. Census records show that Jack and Flossie lived on the Carnahan farm in Carholme briefly after their marriage. They were married less than a year when Jack served in the 39th Militia Regiment and spent two years at Camp Niagara. 
At the time of Jack's enlistment in the Norfolk 133rd on Feb. 10, 1916, Flossie was living in St. Williams with her parents. Jack died at age 24 at Vimy Ridge as part of the Royal Quebec Regiment, 14th Battalion. As his widow, Flossie received a generous cash settlement and several items from the Carnahan family. Sadly, according to her death certificate, Flossie died at the early age of 44, never having remarried. She is buried in Newkirk Cemetery in St. Williams near her parents, a sister and a brother.

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