Soldier Spotlight: Private John Blonke

Image: Notes in John’s military service file about his jaw injury (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 2382745
Rank: Private
Branch: Canadian Forestry Corps

John was born in Russia on January 26, 1897. He was living in Brown, Manitoba when he was drafted in 1918; having been drafted so late in the war, he served only in England. According to his service file, John’s lower jaw was fractured on May 30, 1919 while fighting a civilian in Scotland (the civilian assaulted him). John came to the Crystal Creek area in 1928 and bought Henry Fortier’s land. In 1942, he married Kathleen Stelfox. John died in 1972 and was buried in the Grande Prairie cemetery.

Sources: Grande Prairie Cemetery; Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 87

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.