Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 25, 1901
Place of BirthWishaw, Lanarkshire
CountryScotland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAlexander Hamilton, father, Box 88, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingWarehouse clerk
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number1250373
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Canadian Division Military Transport Detachment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentSuite 4-401 Sherbrooke Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 21, 1917
Age at Enlistment16
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 15, 1977
Age at Death76
Buried AtNew Greenwood Cemetery, Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario
PlotRange 36 Lot 33 Grave 2

Hamilton, James

James (Jim) Hamilton was born on 25 April 1901 in the parish of Cambusnethan in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Both of his parents, Alexander Hamilton and Mary Lindsay, were from the area, marrying on 24 June 1892 in Cambusnethan. At the time of the marriage Alexander Sr’s occupation was given as sawmill engine keeper. Jim had two older siblings, Alexander (1893) and Agnes (Nessie) (1897).

Alexander, Mary, and the children immigrated to Canada in 1904, arriving in Montreal aboard the Corinthian on 13th of July. The passenger list indicated that they were on their way to Shoal Lake but the family ended up settling in Keewatin, Ontario, a community a few kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Mary gave birth to daughter Jane Elizabeth (Jean) in March of 1907 but sadly Mary died that August, interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora on the 12th. Alexander Sr was next found on a border crossing record of May 1910. He was travelling with   John Stewart Cassels, both of Keewatin, on their way to San Fransisco. At some point Alexander Sr’s sister Agnes had immigrated to Canada and she and children Alexander Jr, Nessie, James, and Jean crossed the border in June of 1910, also on their way to San Francisco. By the time of the 1911 census John and Agnes had married and were back living in Keewatin. Alexander and the children returned at some point after the census was taken. Although living in Keewatin at the time, Alexander Sr married Euphemia (Effie) Ellis in March of 1913 in Port Arthur, Ontario. Born in 1867 in Orwell, Kinross in Scotland, Effie was the daughter of John Ellis and Christina Brand.

Jim was living in Winnipeg and working as a warehouse clerk when he signed his attestation paper on 21 May 1917. Underage, he gave his date of birth as 25 April 1899 in Paisley, Scotland and his father Alexander in Keewatin as next of kin. Along with a number of other fellows from Kenora and Keewatin who had enlisted with the 76th Battery, Jim left for artillery training at Petawawa later that month as reported in the Kenora Miner and News. Jim arrived in England aboard the Missanabie on 31 December 1917.

Once in England Jim was taken on strength with the Reserve Brigade, CFA at Witley. In March he proceeded overseas to the Canadian Artillery Pool, attached to the 5th Canadian Division Transport Detachment where he was to serve as a Driver for the duration of the war. He returned to England in early May of 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Scotian on 11 June. Jim was discharged from service in Toronto on 23 June, proposed place of residence given as Port Arthur, Ontario where his father, stepmother, and sister Jean had moved during the war.

Jim’s brother Alexander enlisted in Winnipeg with the 108th Battalion in December of 1915. However by the following August he was discharged from service at Camp Hughes as medically unfit. Having suffered infantile paralysis in early childhood, Alexander had a deformed/atrophied leg.

By the time of the 1921 census Jim was living in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan. Also living in Kerrobert were his brother Alexander and his wife Anna and their two year old son Harrison Lindsay, and Jim’s sister Nessie. By 1925 Jim was living in Hornepayne in northern Ontario. On 15 December 1925, in Hornepayne, Jim married Dorothy (Dolly) Foster. Born in 1907 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, Dorothy was the daughter of Henry and Sarah Elizabeth (née Hick) Foster and had immigrated to Canada with them in May of 1924, landing in Quebec aboard the Doric. A brother and sister had already immigrated to Canada. According to a submission written by Dorothy to a Bruce Mines history book, the newlyweds transferred to Jellico a few months after the marriage, Jim working as a clerk for the Canadian National Railway. From there they went to Nakina and then on to Armstrong, a small town on the railway about 250 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. At the time of his father Alexander’s death in March of 1935 in Port Arthur, Jim was living in Armstrong. A 1940’s Voters list for Armstrong listed him as married and working as a store manager. As written in Dorothy’s submission, from there they moved to Sault Sainte Marie where Jim worked in the office of the Maintenance Department and then became cost analyst. After retiring in 1967 Jim and Dorothy moved to Bruce Mines. Over the years the couple gave birth to five children, sons Jon and Douglas, and daughters Dorothy, June, and Iris. Predeceased by Jon in 1956 and Douglas in 1969, Jim died on 15 May 1977 in the Plummer Memorial Hospital in Sault Sainte Marie. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Dorothy and daughters Dorothy (Gordon) Carter of Yellowknife, June (Ed) Bond of London, and Iris (Ron) McGrath of Sault Sainte Marie. He was also survived by his brother Alex of Regina, sister Nessie of Victoria, and twelve grandchildren. Dorothy died in June of 1988 and is interred with Jim in the New Greenwood Cemetery in Sault Sainte Marie. Jim’s stepmother Effie died in Port Arthur in 1936, sister Jean (William) Brown in 1974 in Thunder Bay, brother Alex in 1979 in Regina, and sister Nessie (Charles) Boulter in 1987 in Victoria, British Columbia.

The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 in honour of all who served during the war and were from Keewatin. The veterans were given badges and medals while the next of kin of the fallen received them in memory of their war dead. According to an article in the Kenora Miner and News, Jim’s name was on the list of the honoured. He is commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque as well as on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour plaque.

By Judy Stockham

Hamilton-James-2 Hamilton-James-3 Hamilton-James-4 Hamilton-James-5 Hamilton-James-6 Hamilton-James-7

Photograph of Dolly and Jim courtesy of Wendy Hambling
Jim’s obituary courtesy of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library

 


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