Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 8, 1877
Place of BirthBradford, Yorkshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Florence Hall, wife, 18 Cloudsley Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number438514
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Divisional Salvage Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentApril 10, 1915
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 18, 1948
Age at Death72

Hall, James Crebbin

James Crebbin Hall was born on 8 January 1877 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. His father James Crebbin Hall Sr was from Coleraine, Ireland while his mother Harriet Purchon was from Leeds, Yorkshire. The couple married on 28 January 1871 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire where they gave birth to their first child, daughter Anne, in 1872. By the time of the birth of their next child, Charles Purchon, in 1873 the family had moved to Bradford. Other children born to the family were John Edward (1876), James, Samuel (1879), and Jessie (1882). Over the years James Sr worked as a auctioneer, valuer, commercial clerk, and merchant’s cashier, eventually retiring with enough wealth to employ servants.

James Jr immigrated to Canada in 1903, arriving in Halifax aboard the SS Carthaginian on 28 March. His occupation was listed as a labourer on the passenger list, with destination given as Killarney, Manitoba. He eventually settled in Kenora, Ontario where he found work in the freight office of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

James signed his attestation papers with the 52nd Battalion in Port Arthur, Ontario on 10 April 1915. His occupation was given as clerk and his father James in St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex, England as next of kin. He listed 3 years military service with the 2nd West Yorkshire Volunteers. On 18 August 1915, in Port Arthur, James married widow Florence Harmon. The daughter of William and Jane (née Sunderland) Barton, Florence was born about 1873 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. After the marriage James’ next of kin was changed to his wife and Florence was to follow him to England for the duration of his time overseas, first residing with his parents in St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex.

After training in Port Arthur, as a Private with the 52nd Battalion James embarked from St John, New Brunswick aboard the SS California on 23 November 1915. The battalion was to train in England into the new year. Away without leave, James was forfeited 3 days pay in February 1916 at Bramshott. A short time later, on February 20th, the battalion embarked for France.

Shortly after arriving in France James was attached to the 3rd Divisional Salvage Company. Divisional Salvage Companies were raised and employed in battlefield clearance as well as other duties. Items salvaged would include rifles, bayonets, revolvers, machine guns, bombs, ammunition helmets, gas masks, picks and shovels, bully tins, wire cutters, etc, anything that might be put to use or have value. Both government and enemy property was salvaged. In September of 1916 a central dump was set up in Albert, Somme.

On 20 September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, James sustained a gunshot/shrapnel wound to his face, fracturing his lower jaw. By the 23rd he had been invalided to the East Leeds War Hospital in Harehills, Leeds, having surgery on the jaw that October. In mid November he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Epsom, discharged on December 31st. In May of 1917 James was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital in Hastings, suffering from chronic indigestion. Thinking it was due to appendicitis, he underwent surgery to remove his appendix July 22nd. However as result of the surgery James developed respiratory problems, at different times diagnosed as pulmonary tuberculosis or pleurisy. Requiring further treatment, James was invalided to Canada aboard the SS Araquay that October.

Once in Canada James was admitted to the Military Hospital in Winnipeg, and then was to spend time at Manitoba’s Ninette Sanatorium before being transferred to the Balfour Military Hospital/Sanatorium in Balfour, British Columbia in March of 1918. Built in 1912 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Balfour Hotel was taken over as a sanatorium in 1917. Following treatment, James was discharged from service as medically unfit on 8 July 1918 in Victoria, British Columbia.

After the war James and Florence lived in Regina for a short while and then immigrated to the United States in September of 1920. The couple settled in Los Angeles, California where James worked as an accountant for Electric Motors (1930 US census). In April of 1942, in Los Angeles, he signed his WW2 Draft Registration but it was cancelled as he was overage. At the time he had his own business on Broadway Street.

James died on 18 December 1948. His Veteran Death card listed his wife Florence of 840 South Flower Street in Los Angeles as his next of kin. His final resting place is unknown.

by Judy Stockham

newspaper articles: Kenora Miner and News

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