835874 Pte. John Jacob Nellis was born in Sydenham, Ontario, on February 26th, 1893, to John and Martha Nellis, a farming family originally from the Elgin county area of Ontario.


Marrying Ellen May Phillips on 13th September 1913, and living in Kingston, John was a labourer by trade when the call came to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He signed on, in Kingston, on 10th April 1916 and was assigned to the 146th (Frontenac) Battalion.


Leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 25th September 1916, on the SS Southland, John proceeded to England, where he arrived on October 6th, when he was transferred to the 95th Battalion and then to the 4th CMR on 27th October 1916. However, he didn't proceed to France until November 3rd, but was finally able to join the 4th CMR in the field (at Etrun) on 22nd November 1916.


He was promoted to Officer Commanding 182nd Tunnelling Company on 3rd September 1917, a post he held until his return to the 4th CMR on 10th October. On the 27th, the day after the 4th CMR started their part in the thick of the 2nd Battle for Passchendaele, John received a gunshot or shrapnel wound to the back of his left hand and wrist. This "Blighty wound" invalided him back to Brighton, in England, on 4th November, whereupon, as an administrative matter of course, he was taken off strength with the 4th CMR and transferred to the 2nd C.O.R.D. (Central Ontario Reinforcement Depot).


Over the following months John was treated by a succession of hospitals for his hand and wrist injury, and was transferred to the 1st C.O.R.D. in mid-February 1918. Progress was latterly reported as good in the healing process, after an operation on his hand.


However, it appears that John had gone to London on leave on July 12th, and the following day his medical file states that "He came to London yesterday and had 3 glasses of whiskey. Before having the whiskey he was quite well - after having it he became unconscious - afterwards when he regained consciousness he was very sick and was brought to K. G. Hpl [King George Hospital, Stamford Road, London - reputed to be the largest military hospital in Britain, with 1,900 beds at its height]. On admission - Suffering from sickness and general abdominal pain..." On July 17th 1918, after some days of pain and discomfort, John was operated on and his bladder was found to have ruptured. Sadly, though, at 10:30pm that night, John passed away with what was later recorded formally as "Peritonitis following rupture of the bladder".


835874 Pte. John Jacob Nellis lies at rest in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England.






The above biography was supplied by 4cmr.com


The headstone image is courtesy of Simon Grayson, with thanks.