Regimental Number: M104778
Regiment: 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment
John W Coonie, known as Jock, was born on June 10, 1924. He left Scotland on Saturday, April 28, 1928, with his parents, James and MaryAnn, and five siblings arriving in Quebec, Canada, via the SS Montcalm ship, May 6, 1928. This was a new adventure for the Coonies, who changed their name to Coney while crossing the ocean to Canada. They arrived in Grande Prairie May 11, 1928, and the new life had begun with mosquitos and wooden/log homes.
John’s mother passed away the year after the family came to Canada, John was 4 years old. John Coney joined the army in 1942 during World War 2. John’s Attestation form indicates he joined in Edmonton, with the Edmonton Wing 13 District Depot, November 6, 1942. After joining, John was sent to Calgary for Basic Training. During WW2, he served in the United Kingdom as Artillery, went to North Africa in 1943. John was seconded to a gunner on board the HMCS Louisburg and was on board when it was torpedoed and sunk February 6, 1943. After being in the water for approximately 4 hours, and worrying about the sharks, John and others were rescued by the HMCS Regina. Years later John met the soldier that pulled him onto the HMCS Regina.
John served in Italy, where he joined the Loyal Edmonton Regiment before Ortona – John was a stretcher bearer during the Battle of Ortona. They worked their way up Italy, and after the fall of Rome, John was moved to the West shore to train for the invasion of Southern France. The move from Italy to France was called the OPERATION “GOLDFLAKE”; this was the Move of 1 Cdn Corps from Italy to North-West Europe, Feb-Mar 1945. John drove a truck up Europe, and saw battle through Belgium, Holland, Apeldoorn and into Germany.
While in Italy, as told by John and Jack Young “we were walking across the yard when we heard a rocket coming – both dove under a haystack and the rocket hit Jack’s side of the haystack – John said the last he saw of Jack Young was when they took him away on the stretcher”. They finally were reacquainted in 1995 in Red Deer. In 1999 John reacquainted with another army buddy Carl “Evans” Carson. John, Jack and Evans was a bond that rekindled the minute they saw each other.
During his war years, John spent time in hospital with pneumonia. John was hospitalized in Italy, again in Holland in 1945. He was recruited to the South Pacific but ended up in hospital. Jock came home on the RMS Lady Nelson, the hospital ship in 1945.
Jock was discharged January 30, 1946 and for his service he received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp, 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal 1939-45, African Star and Defense medal.
On June 10, 1948 Jock married June Lucas. June’s Birthday June 10, 1925 and Jock’s birthday June 10, 1924. June 10 was the magical day. Jock and June were blessed with six children,– Cortez, Christine, Lorie, Kelsey, Larry and Vicky.
Jock & June lived at Watino, Jock operated the Ferry, then Norton’s Sawmill in Crooked Creek. Moved in 1955 to Bezanson, in 1978 to Grande Prairie to retire. Jock’s enjoyed retirement years; golfing & volunteering at GP Hospital.
John was awarded a Life Membership in the Royal Canadian Legion, and June was awarded a Life Membership Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary. June passed away March 2002 – John passed away September 4, 2008, both were laid to rest in the Glen Leslie Cemetery.
Written by Coney Family
Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pp. 159-160
SPRA Family and Personal Reference Files – Obituary