Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 2, 1896
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinIsabel Gibson, mother, 168 Walnut Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number700746
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment168 Walnut Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 12, 1916
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 28, 1964
Age at Death68
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Gibson, James

James Gibson III was born on 2 March 1896 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father James Gibson II was born in Bruce Mines, Ontario, the son of Irish immigrants James Gibson I (ore dresser) and Jane Cox. James I’s family later moved to Barrie and then on to Innisfil in southern Ontario where James I worked as a mason and plasterer. James III’s mother Isabella Charlotte Cooper was born in Hamilton, the daughter of English immigrants Richard Crandall Cooper (grocer) and Jane McKune (McEwen). James II and Isabella married on 12 February 1890 in Hamilton, and then moved to Winnipeg later that year where they gave birth to son Edwin Roy in January of 1891. By the mid 1890’s the young family resettled in Rat Portage where James II went into business with his brother Andrew who owned the Gibson Meat Market. Another child, Ethel Marion was born in 1900 but sadly, she died in August of 1901 of cholera. The Gibson Meat Market was sold to Harry Hook and both James II, Andrew, and their families, moved to Winnipeg at some point before the 1911 census. Although James II was listed as a livestock buyer on both the 1911 and 1916 censuses, the brothers owned a grocery store on Alexander Avenue. James II later started the chain of butcher shops under the name of Gibson and Gage.

With occupation given as clerk and his mother Isabel as next of kin, James signed his attestation paper in Winnipeg on 12 January 1916. As a Corporal with the 101st Battalion, James embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 June 1916. Once in England James was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion, reverting to ranks at his own request before embarking for France to join the 16th Battalion in the field that September.

The 16th Battalion served in the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. Since its early beginnings, the battalion had a high standard of conduct on the battlefield and was commanded by outstanding leaders. One such was Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, KCMG, who rose to command the Canadian Corps during the Great War. Currie was a master tactician whose skills led the Canadians to victory at Vimy Ridge and Amiens.(Wikipedia) Major Battles Battle Honours for the 16th Battalion were Ypres 1915, 1917; Gravenstafel; St. Julien; Festubert 1915; Mount Sorrel; Somme 1916; Pozires; Thiepval; Ancre Heights; Ancre 1916; Arras 1917, 1918; Vimy 1917; Arleux; Scarpe 1917, 1918; Hill 70; Passchendaele; Amiens; Drocourt-Quant; Hindenburg Line; Canal du Nord; Pursuit to Mons. (

On 9 April 1917 James was promoted to Lance Corporal, then to Corporal on 8 November 1917, to Lance Sergeant on 28 August 1918, and to Sergeant on 2 October 1918. Although the details are unknown, he was awarded the Military Medal on 10 October 1918 followed by the 1st Bar to the Military Medal on 9 November 1918. During his service James had been granted two leaves, a ten day leave in August of 1917, and a fourteen day leave in March of 1918, both to Paris. He returned to England in the late fall of 1918, and was out of service until his return to Canada in May of 1919 aboard the Essequibo. Suffering from a debility due to jaundice, James was to spend time recuperating at the ‘Keewatin Home’, likely at Lady Nanton’s Convalescent Home on Lake of the Woods near Keewatin. He was discharged from service August 31st.

During the summer of 1917 military hospitals across Canada were filling up with wounded soldiers brought back from England and France, and Sir Augustus and Lady Nanton decided that their summer home at the Lake of the Woods could be turned into a kind of convalescent home for some of these men. They made the offer to the Tuxedo Military Hospital with one condition—that the medical staff should be supplied by the hospital but everything else should be supplied by them. The offer was accepted by the Hospital and by Ottawa, and immediately the race began to build the necessary additions before freeze-up. In early June, 1918 the first fifty men got off the train at Keewatin and were brought to the house in launches. Everything was ready. A sleeping house was built to accommodate thirty men, the top of the boat house was rebuilt to house ten, the kitchen, ice house and toilet facilities were tripled. An army doctor, nursing sister, two members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, a cook and two assistants were there. At the men’s disposal were two sturdy rowboats with small outboard motors and two rowboats with oars. Twice a week a launch would take ten to fifteen men out into the Lake for a picnic. The operation continued throughout the summers of 1918 and 1919.‘ (Paul Nanton).

James returned to Winnipeg, found living with his parents and brother Edwin on Walnut Street for the 1921 census. On 14 April 1923*, in Winnipeg, he married Muriel Joy Malcolm. Born on 25 October 1900 in Winnipeg, Muriel was the daughter of John Malcolm and Mary Ann Eagle who had married 28 August 1889 in Brooke Township near Owen Sound, Ontario.

James and Muriel were to make Winnipeg their home although James’ professional hockey career (1917-1927) saw him playing for the Calgary Tigers for 1922-23 and the Victoria Cougars for 1923-24. He later worked for the Albert Wheat Pool until his retirement in 1961. James and Muriel gave birth to three sons, James, Barry, and John. James was a member of the No 1 Royal Canadian Legion.

Predeceased by his parents James and Isabel, both in 1928 in Vancouver, and his wife Muriel in May of 1952 in Winnipeg, James died on 28 May 1964 at his residence, Suite D 468 Stradbrook Avenue in Winnipeg. At the time he was survived by his sons James and Barry of Winnipeg and John of Brampton, Ontario, his brother Edwin of Vancouver, and eleven grandchildren. James is interred in the Military Plot, Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

James’ brother Edwin went overseas with the 79th Battalion in the fall of 1915 and served in Belgium and France with the 8th Battalion. He returned to Canada in May of 1919.

by Judy Stockham


Gibson-James-2 Gibson-James-3 Gibson-James-4 Gibson-James-5 Gibson-James-6 Gibson-James-7 Gibson-James-8 Gibson-James-9 Gibson-James-10 Gibson-James-11 Gibson-James-13 Gibson-James-14

newspaper articles: Winnipeg Free Press
research notes:  *Province of Manitoba Vital Statistics:
but the marriage was reported in the Winnipeg Free Press on 18 April 1923, marriage date of April 14th

« Back To Soldier Biographies