Martin, John Dean. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
John Dean Martin was a soldier in the Canadian Army during WWI and found himself stationed in Europe by the fall of 1916.
Martin was a member of the signaling division of the Siege Battery. As such, he monitored and relayed wireless and telegraph communications near the front, often from hidden locations in abandoned barns or cellars. Being so close to combat, incoming shells were a near daily occurrence for Martin and his comrades, but most never produced any casualties. However, in May 1918, their unit was gassed for several days, causing temporary blindness and voice impairment for many soldiers. Martin spent several weeks in a French hospital and subsequent months in a convalescent camp. He was reassigned to his unit in Belgium shortly before armistice was reached. He suffered no further injuries, but was mildly affected by the influenza epidemic of that year. John Martin was able to return to his family in Canton, Ohio, sometime during 1919.