Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 15, 1884
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDrucilla Matchett, mother, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingLabourer
Service Details
Regimental Number820154
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBaudette, Minnesota
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 20, 1916
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 10, 1959
Age at Death74
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Matchett, James Arthur

Along with his twin brother Joseph Edward, James Arthur Matchett was born on 15 December 1884 in Keewatin, Ontario. His father James Matchett was from Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland while his mother Drucilla Goodwin was from Toronto, Ontario where the couple married on 3 December 1877. At the time of the marriage James’ occupation was given as sailor, sailing the Atlantic as a lad and finding work on the Great Lakes. Son William was born in 1879 in Toronto but by 1883 the family had relocated to Keewatin. Children born in Keewatin were James and Joseph followed by Drucilla in 1894. Over the years James Sr worked as a steamboat captain and shipbuilder and was associated with the Rat Portage Lumber Company, Dick and Banning Lumber Company, and later with the Keewatin Lumber Company, his service on Lake of the Woods extending over a period of 45 years. Sadly James’ twin brother Joseph died in 1901 as the result of a drowning accident.

James Jr was living in Baudette, Minnesota on the south end of Lake of the Woods when he signed his attestation papers with the 141st Battalion on 20 January 1916 in Rainy River. His age and date of birth was given as 15 December 1885 in Argyle, Scotland, occupation as labourer, and his mother Drucilla in Keewatin as next of kin. During training March – July 1916 James was fined and punished a number of times for drunkeness and being absent without leave. Being illegally absent for a period of 21 days and struck off strength as a deserter, James was discharged from service on 8 August 1916 in Port Arthur.

James returned to the Lake of the Woods area, working over the years as a labourer and logger in district camps. His mother died in 1916 followed by his sister Drucilla (George) Muckle in 1921 and his father James in 1930. James died suddenly on 10 April 1959 at the home of his brother William and wife Esther on North Government Road in Keewatin. William had first worked for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin before joining the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1917, retiring in 1945. William died in 1964. James Sr, Joseph, and both Drucillas are interred in the family plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery while William and James are interred elsewhere in the cemetery. Last Post Fund/Veterans Affairs recently had a military grave marker installed for James.

By Judy Stockham


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