|Date of Birth||April 18, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Annie Jane Currie, Mother|
|Trade / Calling||Bank Clerk|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Canora, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||April 15, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||26|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Date of Death||April 9, 1917|
|Age at Death||27|
|Buried At||Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France|
James was the son of Donald Hector (1860-1956) and Annie J. Currie (1863-1956), of Stackpool, Ontario. Until 1911, they were living in Kenora, Ontario. The 1911 census listed their name as Carrier instead of Currie. In 1891 Donald Hector was shipping clerk in a lumber mill. In 1901, James lived with his mother and father in ‘Rat Portage’, now known as Kenora. His father was the town clerk. He had several siblings: Minnie (1891-1965, married Edwin D.A. Gray in Kenora, 1915), John (Jack) Errol (1893- 1992, married Ruth Fenn), Norma Isabel (1895), Hector Donald (1897-1929), Methune (1899-1985, married Gertrude Fairfield). His parents were born in Quebec, of Scots origin, but all children were born in Ontario. By 1911, father Donald was a lumber mill manager.
James attended both elementary and high school in Kenora. At age 19, he joined the Bank of Commerce staff in Winnipeg, and subsequently was attached to various branches in the west. James enlisted in 1916 in Regina where he was working as a bank clerk in Canora, while his younger brother Hector enlisted in Kenora in 1915, listed as a lumberman on his attestation papers. James joined the 195th Battalion, but transferred to the 102nd Battalion. (Hector was in the 52nd Battalion). Within eight weeks of leaving Canada, he was sent to the front in France.
History of the 102nd Battalion: The 102nd Canadian Infantry Battalion was organized in November 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Warden under authorization published in General Order 151 of 22 December 1915. The battalion was mobilized in Comox and recruited in northern British Columbia. The battalion embarked at Halifax 20 June 1916 aboard EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, disembarking in England on 28 June 1916. Its strength was 37 officers and 968 other ranks. The battalion arrived in France on 11 August 1916, becoming part of the 4th Canadian Division, 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade. It was later reinforced by the 16th Canadian Reserve Battalion.
James was part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, which fought in France. James was killed during the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. The following was reported in the Kenora Daily Miner and News: ‘The Currie family was notified that their eldest son had been officially reported killed in action on April 10th. He, along with another Kenora boy, Major Robert Brydon, was member of the 102nd Battalion and fell the same day in the great charge at Vimy Ridge in which the Canadians gained immortal fame by driving the enemy before them. ‘A brother Corporal Hector Currie was severely wounded in action last November (1916) and is expected home on furlough in a short time.’
James is buried in Pas de Calais France, (grave reference B. 35), Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery. The Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery at Neuville-St Vaast is a small cemetery situated in the compound of the Vimy Memorial Park which contains the Vimy Memorial. The village of Neuville-St Vaast is in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, approximately 8 kilometres north of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The cemetery is approximately 260 metres past Canadian Cemetery No.2 following the one-way system to rejoin the avenue leading back to the main road. The cemetery contains the graves of soldiers all of whom fell on the 9th April, 1917, or on one of the four following days. The cemetery covers an area of 849 square metres and is enclosed by a rubble wall. The numerous groups of graves made about this time by the Canadian Corps Burial Officer were, as a rule, not named but serially lettered and numbered. This cemetery was originally called CD 1.
James Campbell Currie is commemorated on page 224 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, the Kenora Legion War Memorial, the Kenora/Keewatin High School plaque and the Bank of Commerce Roll of Honour.
by Penny Beal
photograph of the Currie family 1915, from the Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
Kenora Miner and News, 28 October 1916, 28 April 1917
grave marker photograph from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial