Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 8, 1891
Place of BirthChristchurch, Hampshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinNoah James, Dorset, England
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439018
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 18, 1914
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 13, 1970
Age at Death79
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario

James, Ernest Walter

Ernest Walter James was born on 08 January 1891 in Christchurch, Hampshire, England.  He was the third son of blacksmith, Noah James and Augusta ELLEN Elliott.  His siblings included Nellie ‘Ellen’ (b. 1887), Henry Edward (b. 1888), Arthur Frederick (b. 1889), Reginald Wilfred (b. 1896), Margaret May (b. 1897) and Winifred Maud (b. 1903).

Ernest was educated in England and followed his brothers Henry and Arthur to Kenora, Ontario, Canada in 1913.  He gained employment as a labourer at the flour mill in Keewatin where Henry was a baker.

With the outbreak of WW1, Ernest, Arthurand Henry all enlisted with the 52nd Battalion in Kenora. Ernest and Arthur signed up on 18 December 1914 and Henry joined on 22 December 1914. By June of 1915 the three brothers were in Port Arthur, Ontario for training.  Ernest and Henry headed overseas with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion on 04 September 1915, embarking from Montreal aboard the S.S. Missanabie.  Arthur was discharged from service on 22 October 1915 as he was declared medically unfit.

Ernest and Henry continued to train in England until March of 1916.  Ernest exhibited some health problems during this time.  He had to ‘fall out of some long route marches and had several fainting spells’.  Both brothers were transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corp and in March of 1916 were sent to France assigned to the #3 Field Bakery with Henry as a baker and Ernest as a helper.

In July of 1916 Ernest injured his right thumb and wrist with ‘glass’.  He had a bad reaction to the anesthetic used during an operation to repair the severed tendon and from then on experienced ‘impaired function of the heart’.  Ernest continued to work in the #3 Field Bakery until February of 1918, at which time he was invalided back to England.  In March he was granted permission to marry and on 12 June 1918 he took Edith Fanny Tett as his wife in Epsom, England. On their marriage certificate Ernest listed his occupation as ‘miller’ and his residence as ‘Woodcote Camp’.

Ernest and Edith returned to Canada in 1918 and settled in Fort William, Ontario.  Ernest gained employment with the CPR, first as a conductor, and then as an electric welder in the car department. They had four children: a daughter who died in infancy, Reginald, Raymond and Thelma. Ernest enjoyed fishing and hunting and spent time at his cottage on Oliver Lake. He retired in 1956 after 34 years service with the CPR.

Ernest James died on 13 September 1970 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The youngest James boy, Reginald Walter, also served in WW1.  He was a private in the Inniskiller Regiment.  Unfortunately he was killed in action on 25 June 1918.  Ernest named his first born son after this brother.

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