|Date of Birth||February 13, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Thornhill|
|Next of Kin||Mother: Mrs. Jessie Hill - Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||December 14, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||19|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 21, 1917|
|Age at Death||21|
|Buried At||Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery, France|
|Plot||I. S. 17.|
James Aitken Sturgeon Hill was born Feb. 13, 1896 in Thornhill, Dumfries-shire, Scotland, the son of Thomas Hill and Jessie (née Sturgeon). Soon after James’ birth the family moved to Glasgow where James’ sister Janet was born in 1898.
The family lived in Glasgow until 1911. They immigrated to Canada that year, going first to Saskatchewan then settling Keewatin, Ontario in 1915 where a second son, Robert was born.
James Hill enlisted during the earlier recruiting drive for the 94th battalion which had begun in November 1915. He signed his attestation papers on Dec. 14 that year, giving his occupation as labourer. Two weeks later his father, Thomas Hill, also enlisted in the 94th.
The 94th Battalion men trained in Kenora, Port Arthur and Valcartier, Quebec before sailing for England in July of 1916. Once there, the battalion was broken up for replacement troops and both James and Thomas were assigned to the 17th Reserve Battalion on July 13, 1916. They were then transferred to the 43rd (Manitoba) Battalion, Winnipeg-based, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, fighting in France.
On May 21, 1917, James was on duty with his company east of La Chaudiere, France, walking along a sunken road, when according to his CEF burial record, ‘he apparently trod upon or kicked a German rifle grenade which exploded.’
Severally injured by shrapnel from the exploding grenade James Hill was taken to No. 7 Casualty Clearing Station where he died shortly afterwards.
His death was deemed ‘accidental’.
James Hill is buried at the Noeux-les-Mines Community Cemetery, in the Pas de Calais region of France, in Plot I.S. 17. Commonwealth forces (in succession to the French Army) used the cemetery for burials from July 1915 to December 1918, mostly for soldiers who died at nearby casualty stations or field ambulance units. It holds the graves of 1,284 Commonwealth soldiers.
His mother, Jessie Hill, with both her husband and grown son overseas, had returned to Scotland and was informed of her son’s death in Glasgow.
James’ father was wounded later in 1917 while fighting in the Somme, but survived the war, passing away Feb. 28, 1948 in Keewatin, Ontario.
James is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour, on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque, and on the Keewatin Cenotaph.
by Bob Stewart