Sunday, February 21, 2010

John Henry Foster Babcock

As described by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we are saddened at the loss of "Canada's last living link to the Great War." John Henry Foster 'Jack' Babcock (pictured right), Canada's last World War 1 veteran, passed away on Thursday, February 18th at the venerable age of 109.

On February 1st, 1916, John Henry Foster Babcock enlisted for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Kingston, Ontario. He gave his date of birth as July 23, 1900 and despite the easy math involved in determining he was 15 years old at the time, was able to claim his age to be 18 years. He stated that was born in Lober Township, Ontario and that his mother, Mrs. J. T. Babcock was his next of kin, living at the family home on Perth Road (just north of the city of Kingston). He was only five feet, four inches in height, signed his attestation as Foster Babcock and was accepted as a recruit in the army!

Well, the army eventually figured out that he was underage so rather than going to the front, he was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia to unload military vehicles. Although he eventually did make his way to England and was prepared to go to the front, the armistice was signed ending the war before he had that chance.

Jack Babcock lived most of his life in Spokane, Washington but never lost his love for Canada. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, two children, two step-children, 16 grandchildren, and a number of great grandchildren.

We shall not forget!


  1. Fascinating story! It caught my eye because the US's last living WWI Vet (Frank Buckles) just turned 109 last month and he lives here in my town. What these guys have seen in their lifetime and the stories they can share are priceless. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 'Jack' John Henry Foster Babcock;
    His father,James Thomas Babcock was first married to our G Grandfather's sister- Mary Ellen Redmond
    His Grandfather, Henry Babcock, was married to our GG Grandfather's sister, Hannah (nee Medcof).
    Jame's first wife Mary Ann (nee Trousdale) was a first cousing of Jack Babcock has some of our same Yorkshire UK ancestry via the Dowker family.

    Our grandfather was a first cousin to all of Jack's half-siblings and was himself a 3rd cousin of Jack. Our grandmother, I believe, was a 4th cousin via the Babcock family.

    Jack's family home was at Holleford, Ontario. The house where he lived and where his father died is on Holleford Rd just a ways north of Redmond Rd. Our GG Grandfather John Redmond named the area Holleford after his home of Hollyfort, Co. Wexford. Holleford Rd is the border between Portland Twp and Loughborouh Twp. Jack's former home is on the Loughborough side. Jack's father and wife Mary Ellen lived by our GG Grandparents.

    RIP cousin Jack.

    I have photos of interest on my facebook page if you are curious. Also friends of Jack began a page, "Jack Babcock you will not be forgotte'' I posted there too.

    john redmond
    ottawa, canada