Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WWI Soldier James Coveny (1897-1918)

My second cousin (2x removed) James Coveny was killed in the First World War.

He had enlisted at 18 years of age in 1915 and he made it all the way to "The Last Hundred Days"(Thursday, August 8 - Monday, November 11, 1918) when he died on the 28th of August 1918, 1 Mile S of Arras, France.

James Coveny's Relationship To Me
James Coveny was my grandfathers second cousin

 Barbara Moynahan (B: 1876)

James Coveny descended from the "Tilbury Moynahans" that I have written about previously. 
  
James' mother's name was Barbara Moynahan and she was the middle child of Matthew (1835-1910) and Catherine (Carr) Moynahan (1845-1927). (Matthew was my 2nd great-grandfather Jeremiah's oldest brother.)

Barbara Moynahan's Family Tree (Source: Ancestry)



In 1895, on the 20th of May, Barbara married John Coveny (Coveneigh) who was the son of Michael Coveny and Margaret Tracey (from Dunwich, Elgin county). 

Like many of the Roman Catholic records of the day, the marriage record is in french below:



May 20, 1895


Source: Ontario French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967

April 20 1897: James Coveny Born
Kent County, Ontario

James Coveny was the second born child of Barbara and John Coveny in Coatsworth, Kent county, Ontario.

James and Barbara Coveny's first born child was a baby girl who lived for one week (July 1-7, 1896) and her death was registered on July 8th "cholera infantum" (Source: Sue Podolinsky)

I could not locate a birth record for James Coveny and the information is taken from his WWI Attestation papers.

Source: WWI CEF Attestation Papers, 1914-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006. Images are used with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.
Original data: Canada. "Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)." Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 - 35. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

July 24, 1899 James' Mother Dies
Giving Birth To Twins

James' mother Barbara Coveny died at twenty three years of age, (Lot 24, Concession 3, Kent county) and the cause of death is recorded as "confinement" (Source: Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Series: MS935; Reel: 92)

"Confinement" is an interesting and unfamiliar term because the records show that Barbara died while delivering twin children. I came to learn that "confinement" was used to describe the time during which a woman is in childbirth. (see: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confinement)

"Confinement" aka "childbirth" Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/50513/historical-horror-childbirth

On July 25, 1899, the records show that  Barbara gave birth to twins Barbara Ellen and John Russell! (Source: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS929; Reel: 146)

James Coveny was only two years old when his mother died.


Source: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS929; Reel: 146

1901: James & Twin Siblings Sent To Live With Relatives
On the 1901 census, the twins are both living with their grandparents Matthew and Catherine (Carr) Moynahan and are recorded as the adopted son and daughter. (There is also an Eva Hargan 3 years old born (Feb 16, 1898) recorded with the family)

The twins are recorded as being born July 24, 1899 on the census which corrects the birth record information.
Source: Detail: Year: 1901; Census Place: Romney, Kent, Ontario; Page: 7; Family No: 7; Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Canada: Library and Archives Canada. RG31, T-6428 to T-6556.
While James' twin siblings (John Russell and Barbara Ellen) were living with their grandmother in 1901, James was living with his aunt and uncle (Schindler).

Pictured below are James' aunt and uncle Mary Catherine (Coveny) (1874-1964) and George E. Thomas Schindler (1867-1947)

The Schindlers;
Source: Used with permission from the private collection
of Sue Podolinsky
According to a descendant on ancestry.ca, "His (James' father Jack Coveny) sister Mary Catherine (Coveney) Schindler married a George E Schindler. They lived close at that time and they had several children already so it was much easier to take James than the twin babies." (Source: Sue Podolinsky )

Detail
Source: Year: 1901; Census Place: Romney, Kent, Ontario; Page: 7; Family No: 70; Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Canada: Library and Archives Canada. RG31, T-6428 to T-6556.Original data: Library and Archives Canada.

The Twins Whereabouts
(1911 and 1921 Censuses)

James is listed as a "Shindler, born April 1897" on the 1911 census with his aunt and uncle (Source: Year: 1911; Census Place: 14 - Harwich, Kent West, Ontario; Page: 5; Family No: 53; Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels T-20326 to T-20460.)

I have not located the twins on the 1911 census yet.

I did find the twins on the 1921 census, still living with their grandmother Catherine (Carr) Moynahan who is now a widow (living on Queen St.) (Source: Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 66; Census Place: Tilbury (Town) (part), Kent, Ontario; Page Number: 21)

John Russell is a "horse trainer" at a "private stable" and I have been unable to track John after this but I did find an obituary for his twin sister Barbara Ellen in the Detroit Free Press at 93 years of age and there is no mention of her twin brother John Russell.

22 Apr 1993
Detroit, Michigan
Source: Detroit Free Press Internment Tilbury, Ontario


September 1915 - John Coveny Enlists
70th Battalion, London, Ontario

The 70th Battalion, CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The battalion was authorized on 15 August 1915 and recruited in the Ontario counties of Essex, Kent, Lambton and Middlesex.

The 70th Battalion Recruiting Station, London, Ontario (Source: http://www.cdnmilitarycollectors.com/t3069-70th-overseas-battalion-canadian-expeditionary-forces-tunic)

On September 5, 1915, James Coveny, at 18 years and 5 months of age, enlisted in London, Ontario for the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF). See "Gathering Our Heroes": http://www.gatheringourheroes.ca/hero/coveny-james/

He was
  • Five feet nine inches tall; 130 lbs
  • He had a medium complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair
  • He listed his 16 year-old sister Barbara Coveny (of Tilbury, Ontario) as his next of kin.
  • He had never served in the military before

You can view his Attestation Papers and his complete 30 page Personnel File at Library and Archives Canada by clicking here: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=121412

Pte. James Coveny was stationed at London, Ontario for eight months before proceeding overseas April 1916.

No. 4 Platoon "A"; 70th Battalion; undated, (Love the small child on the left "photobombing the troops though) http://www.cdnmilitarycollectors.com/t3069-70th-overseas-battalion-canadian-expeditionary-forces-tunic
Acknowledgment and gratitude for this enlargement of the names which was provided by Dawn Heuston of the Kent branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society


1916
On April 26, 1916, James embarked on the S.S. Lapland and he disembarked in Liverpool May 5, 1916 (Read a descriptive diary of the boat trip from another soldier from Aylmer, Ontario. http://www.canadaworldwarone.com/2010/03/halifax-to-liverpool-on-ss-lapland.html)

 
Canadian Expeditionary Force, 70th Battalion, Queen's Park, London, Ontario, April 21, 1916. No. 495 (HS85-10-32548).jpg This photo is in the public domain


Double click (here) to enlarge this incredible photo (above) taken on the 21st of April 1916 in London, Ontario before the 70th Battalion departed. (James Coveny is in this photo! Somewhere!)
 
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.(Original text : From Red Star Line brochure, no copyright (Reference to Vaderland dates this to before 1914, so PD in US.)), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39011025
James was initially assigned to the 70th Battalion.  
"The battalion was authorized on 15 August 1915 and recruited in the Ontario counties of Essex, Kent, Lambton and Middlesex. The 70th Battalion embarked for Britain on 25 April 1916, where it provided reinforcements to the Canadian Corps in the field until 7 July 1916, when its personnel were absorbed the 39th Battalion, CEF.
(Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments.)
On the 10th of July 1916, James was drafted to the 5th C.M.R. (Canadian Mounted Rifles).
The 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles were a mounted infantry unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during World War I.

"Canada's Crack Cavalry Corps" World War I recruitment poster.
Unknown artist; Howell Lithograph Company, Hamilton, Ontario - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g12402
 
Source: Library and Archives Canada: Digitized service file of James Coveny - PDF format: B2063-S043

What Was It Like On The Battlefield
In Arras, France?


Source: Library and Archives Canada: War diaries - 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles 1918/04/01-1919/03/17

An account of the days leading up to the battle that mortally wounded James Coveny can be read in the War Diaries held at Library and Archives Canada: Read the following pages for the Remy Wood narrative:

The Complete 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles War Diaries:
 
Source: Library and Archives Canada: War diaries - 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles 1918/04/01-1919/03/17


28 August 1918: Pte. James Coveny Died
 
Members of the 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles are pictured in August, 1916. Source: Montreal Gazette


Private James Coveny died on the 28th of August 1918 of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Source: Library and Archives Canada; War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death; Box: 167 ; Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948
Twenty-one year old James never made it home to Tilbury, Ontario and is buried in France at the , Achicourt Achicourt Departement du Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Plot: D. 21.  

Burial: Achicourt Road Cemetery, Achicourt Achicourt Departement du Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Plot: D. 21. Created by: CWGC/ABMC Record added: Aug 06, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 56184696
See the cemetery from above at VirtualGlobeTrotting: http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/achicourt-road-cemetery/view/google/
 
Source: Traces of War
Achicourt Road Cemetery, Achicourt Achicourt Departement du Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/results?firstName=James&lastName=Coveny&serviceNumber=123175


 
The others buried with James Coveny at Achicourt Road Cemetery, Achicourt Achicourt Departement du Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/results?firstName=James&lastName=Coveny&serviceNumber=123175

 
James Coveny is commemorated on Page 390 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. ( This page is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on August 24 every year)


Related Records:


WWI LINKS

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