Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 12, 1880
Place of BirthDerby, Derbyshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Lizzie Hulse, wife, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingBaker
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number199101
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion85th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 11, 1916
Age at Enlistment36
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death1964

Hulse, James

James Hulse was born on 12 March 1880 in Derby, Derbyshire in England. His father Thomas Hulse, baker and confectioner, was from the District of Runcorn in Cheshire while his mother Mary Thomas was from Derby where the couple had married during the last quarter of 1877. James had an older brother, John. Thomas died in 1896 and Mary and the the two boys carried on the business, all listed as bakers in the 1901 England census. Mary was also listed as a grocer. On 8 April 1901, in Derby, James married Lizzie Kniveton. Born in 1878 in Derby, Lizzie was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (née Bancroft) Kniveton. James and Lizzie gave birth to their first child, Thomas James, in 1902 followed by a second child in 1907, Mary Elizabeth. The 1911 England census listed the family as living at 53 Agard Street in Derby with James working as a baker.

James was next found on the passenger list of the Virginian that arrived in Quebec on 31 May 1912. His occupation was listed as baker and his destination as the small town of Keewatin, about 5 kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Lizzie and the children later followed, arriving in Halifax aboard the Corsican on the 28th of December.

James signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 11 March 1916. His occupation was given as baker and his wife Lizzie in Keewatin as next of kin. Organized in November of 1915 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel HA Machin with recruitment in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances, and Dryden, the 94th Battalion was mobilized at Port Arthur. Along with a number of other local men, James trained in Port Arthur during the spring of 1916 before embarking from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 June 1916.

Once in England James was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then in March of 1917 on to the 85th Battalion, joining the unit in the field on the 17th.  The 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) CEF was authorized on 10 July 1915, recruited throughout Nova Scotia, and was mobilized at Halifax. It embarked for Great Britain on 12 October 1916. Disembarking in France on 10 February 1917, it fought as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion disbanded on 15 September 1920.The Battalion is most famous for capturing of Hill 145 in their first battle. Today, the Vimy Memorial stands on Hill 145.The 85th Battalion was awarded the following battle honours: Arras 1917&1918, Vimy 1917, Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Scarpe 1918, Amiens, Drocourt-Queant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Valenciennes, and Sambre.

It was at Passchendaele that James sustained the first of his wounds but he remained at duty. In January of 1918 he was given a leave, rejoining the unit on the 6th of February. In March James was awarded one Good Conduct Badge. On 27 September 1918 James sustained contusions to his abdomen caused by exploding bombs. He was admitted to the No 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Outreau the next day. On the 1st of October he was invalided to England and admitted to the Lord Derby War Hospital in Warrington. In mid December he was transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital in Epsom, discharged on the 23rd. He was granted a leave until the 2nd of January 1919 and by mid March he was on his way back to Canada, with final discharge on demobilization on the 24th.

During the war Lizzie and the children had moved to Fort William where James joined them upon his return. In late 1922 Lizzie and daughter Mary Elizabeth travelled to Derby, returning to Canada the following March of 1923. In February of 1936 Lizzie returned to England aboard the Duchess of York, leaving Liverpool on the same ship on the 27th of March to return to Canada. By later that year the family had decided to relocate to Derby with Lizzie and son Thomas arriving in early December of 1936 aboard the Duchess of Bedford and James following in March of 1937, arriving on the 1st aboard the Montclare. At the time his occupation was given as truck driver. Although a passenger list was not found for Mary Elizabeth’s return and records would be needed to confirm, it appears that she married Alexander Shekleton late in life and died in 1980 in Derby. Records also need to confirm, it is likely that Thomas died in 1984 in Derby.

Predeceased by his father Thomas in 1896 and his mother Mary in 1919, it appears that James died in 1964 followed by his wife Lizzie in 1966, all in Derby. In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration to honour those of the town who had served, presenting each with a badge and medal. On the list of recipients noted in the Kenora Miner and News was James Hulse. James is commemorated for his service during the war on the Municipality of Keewatin for King and Country plaque, on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque, and on the St James Anglican Church plaque now hanging in St Andrews United Church in Keewatin.

by Judy Stockham

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