John Hetherington signature

On this day, John Hetherington signed up in Kingston, Ontario. He was born in Napanee on February 15th, 1895, to Robinson Hetherington and Mary Ann (née Bell). At the time of the 1901 census the family were living in Deseronto: John attended Deseronto High School. The Hetheringtons were back in Napanee in 1911 and living in Thomas Street, Deseronto in 1921.

On joining up, Hetherington was five feet ten inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. His regimental number was 411131. He sailed from Montreal on the SS Missanabie on June 24th, 1915 and joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in France in July.

On June 2, 1916 Hetherington received back injuries when he was buried in a dugout by a shell at Ypres, in the Battle of Mount Sorrel. The extract from his unit’s war diary below describes the engagement:

War diary for the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry for June 2, 1916

2-6-16 At 8.30 am the enemy began shelling our front line and supports. This gradually increased to an intense bombardment from H.E. [high explosive] shells and trench mortars. The bombardment lasted for three hours when it was lifted and an infantry attack followed. The enemy succeeded in capturing the front line of our right company No. 1. The garrison having been almost annihilated. Our left company No. 2 succeeded in holding their trench and stopped an enemy bombing attack. Our supports held, on the right, the greater part of Warrington avenue and Lovers Lane to Border Lane, and on the left, the “R” series of trenches. Our casualties were heavy. In the evening the enemy evidently suspected a counter attack as they opened up a rapid machine gun and rifle fire and an intense barrage in our rear. Water and food supply low.

Hetherington returned to duty on July 17th, 1916. He spent the rest of the war in England and was appointed to the rank of corporal in June 1918. He left England for Canada in August 1919 and was demobilized at Kingston on August 26th. His parents were still living in Deseronto in 1921, but it is not clear where John went after the war.

On September 9th, 1939 he enlisted again, this time in Innisfail, Alberta, to fight in the Second World War. He was demobilized on September 6th, 1946.