Originally from Cork County, Ireland, Mr. White immigrated to Canada with his family when he was four years old. Upon their arrival in Canada, the Whites settled in Amherstburg where John and his siblings enjoyed and idyllic childhood on the banks of the Detroit River. When the war erupted, Mr. White, like so many young men at the time, bid farewell to his carefree adolescence and embarked on a journey that would change his life forever.
On September 3rd, 1939, the day that Canada declared war on Germany and two days after the German invasion of Poland, John and his friend traveled by bus to Windsor in order to enlist. His friend was admitted, but Mr. White was rejected on account of his age. Undeterred, he returned to the recruiting office nine months later in June 1940 and was approved for service. Upon joining the Essex-Kent Scottish regiment, John was sent to Camp Borden for training. After a year at Camp Borden, he was then transferred to McNabb Island outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia.