Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 1, 1877
Place of BirthLeeds, Yorkshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEmily Frances Scarfe, wife, Prince William Apartments, Saint John, New Brunswick
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Pay Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 18, 1919
Age at Enlistment41
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 21, 1957
Age at Death80
Buried AtElmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Scarfe, James Talbot

James Talbot Scarfe was born on 1 October 1877 in Leeds, Yorkshire in England. His father George John Scarfe was born in Ireland while his mother Alice Mary Talbot was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in England. The couple married on 19 October 1876 in Trinity Church in Marylebone, London. George and his father James before him both were military men with the 17th Lancers, George a Sergeant Major at the time of their marriage. By the time of the 1881 census George and Alice were living in Hertford, Hertfordshire. Children born to the couple were James, Alice Mary (1880 in Cantebury, Kent), and Edward John (1882 in Hertford). After the death of George in 1884 the family unit disintegrated, with the children placed in boarding schools or institutions. At the time of the 1891 census James was boarding at the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys in Tottenham, London. The object of the institution was to give, together with maintenance and clothing, a sound English commercial education, with the addition of French and German, and in the upper division the classics and advanced mathematics, to the sons of Freemasons who, from altered circumstances, required this assistance. ( At some point James’ mother married Frederick Wright, a beerhouse keeper, living in Whitechapel in London at the time of the 1891 census. Fred had children from his first marriage, including Nellie, Charles, Florence, Dora, and Mabel, and together the couple gave birth to daughter Kate in 1895. By the 1901 census they were living in East Ham in Sussex, with James, Alice, and Edward listed as now living with the blended family.

After the outbreak of the Second Boer War in October 1899, volunteer corps were established in most counties of the United Kingdom to provide officers and men for service in South Africa. A corps of Imperial volunteers to be raised and equipped by the City of London was authorized by Royal Warrant dated 24 December 1899 with the name City of London Imperial Volunteers. The corps included an infantry division, a mounted infantry division, and a field battery (artillery) division. The infantry and mounted infantry divisions were composed of about 1,400 men recruited mainly from existing volunteer regiments in London and Middlesex, while the artillery division was composed of about 150 men recruited from the Honourable Artillery Company and the City of London Artillery. All the officers and men received the Freedom of the City of London before departure. Most of the men proceeded to South Africa in January and February 1900, returned in October the same year, and the corps was disbanded on 1 December 1900. The January 1900 contingent sailed aboard the SS Garth Castle of Castle Line (later to merge with the Union Line to become the Union-Castle Line).(Wikipedia) James was listed in the nominal roll of the City Imperial Volunteers for those serving in South Africa, a later notation in his WW1 service record giving 331 days of service with the CIV.

James immigrated to Canada in 1903, arriving in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the Lake Simcoe  on March 14th. The passenger list gave his occupation as clerk and his intended residence as Brandon, Manitoba. Living in Winnipeg, in 1905 James attended the Royal School of Instruction, qualifying for the rank of Corporal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles. In 1909 he made a trip back to England, arriving in Liverpool on 19 October on the Tunisian and returning to Canada aboard the Grampian on 30 November. At the time he had been living in Winnipeg, occupation given as soldier.

On 25 September 1912, in Winnipeg, James married Emily Frances Davis. Born in 1886 in Winnipeg, Emily was the daughter of George Davis, a carpenter, and Georgina Holloway. In January of 1916 James became an assistant paymaster with the Canadian Army Pay Corps, appointed Temporary Captain on 27 May 1917. Previous military service was noted as 3 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles, 7 years with the Canadian Army Pay Corps, and 275 days with the War Office. James signed an Officers’ Declaration Paper with the CAPC on 18 February 1919 in Saint John, New Brunswick, rank of Captain. His occupation was given as clerk and his wife Emily in Saint John as next of kin. According to a later Royal Canadian Legion application card he was discharged from service in September of 1920.

By the time of the 1921 census James and Emily were living in Winnipeg where James was working as a real estate agent. They had given birth to daughter Alice Georgina in 1918 in Ontario and would later give birth to son George Edward. By 1938 they were living in Kenora, Ontario where James joined the local branch of the Canadian Legion, later returning to Winnipeg.

Predeceased by his wife Emily in April of 1954, James died on 21 October 1957 in the Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time he was survived by their daughter Alice (Charles) Chappell and son George of Winnipeg as well as three grandchildren and his sister Mrs Fred Mason in England. James and Emily are interred in Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photos by Dave & Janice,

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