Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 2, 1890
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Pullar (father), 325 12th Avenue East, Calgary, Alberta
Trade / CallingSchool teacher
Service Details
Regimental Number475998
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion14th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentMontreal, Quebec
Date of EnlistmentAugust 23, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Cross
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 6, 1969
Age at Death78
Buried AtUnion Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta
PlotSection L

Pullar, James Glenson

Lieutenant James Glenson Pullar enlisted in Montreal in August 1915. He served overseas for more than three years and was awarded the Military Cross in October 1918.

James was the son of William Pullar and Elizabeth Ann Drysdale of Calgary, Alberta. William, a railway engineer, was born in Belleville, Ontario and his wife was born in Lanark, Ontario, They were married in Lanark in 1888. William was living in the town of Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario at the time and he and his wife settled there at first. They had five children, all born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora): Andrew Clyde (1889), James Glenson (2 December 1890), Christina Reeta (1892), Mary Orlo (1894) and William (1896). By the time the 1901 census was taken William and his family had moved to Calgary.

After completing high school James attended Dalhousie University. He enlisted in Montreal on 23 August 1915, just as the war entered its second year. His occupation was school teacher and next of kin was his father, who was widowed by then and still living in Calgary. James said he belonged to a militia unit, the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles), and he signed up with the 3rd University Company (McGill), a reinforcing draft for Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He was sent overseas two weeks after enlisting and he arrived in England in mid-September. On 21 March 1916 he was assigned to the Brigade Signal Base. Two months later he was transferred to a front line unit, the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), and sent to France. He joined them in the field in early June.

In the fall of 1916 the Canadians took part in the Somme Offensive, where they suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months. In December James spent three weeks at the Corps Signal School and on 26 February 1917 he was promoted to Corporal. The Canadians captured Vimy Ridge in April then stayed in the Vimy area holding the new front line. In May James was sent to England to qualify for a commission and on 1 September he became a Lieutenant in the 23rd Reserve Battalion. He returned to France in October and rejoined the 14th Battalion. In December he attended 1st Army Signal School and on 29 April 1918 he was appointed Signalling Officer for the 14th Battalion.

The final period of the war started with the Battle of Amiens in August 1918. The Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months. In late August the 14th Battalion moved to Arras and took part in the offensive to capture the Drocourt-Quéant line. James was wounded on 2 September when a machine gun bullet hit his right thigh, fracturing his femur. He was taken to a casualty clearing station then by ambulance train to No. 8 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux. He was admitted there on 5 September and listed as seriously ill. Three weeks later he was evacuated to England and he recovered for the next two months at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

James was awarded the Military Cross on 2 October 1918. The citation read: ‘For conspicuous gallantry during an attack. As signalling officer throughout two days’ heavy fighting, he continually pushed forward under fire, maintaining communications. Whilst passing through a wood, he discovered several of the enemy who had been passed over and who were sniping the advancing troops. With two men he cleared the wood, killing three and capturing eight. He showed complete disregard of danger and a tireless energy which were an inspiration to all ranks.’

On 21 November James was transferred to Granville Special Canadian Hospital and he was discharged on 29 December in order to return to Canada. He embarked the next day on the hospital ship Araguaya, arriving in Halifax on 10 January 1919. On 1 February he was admitted to the Ogden Military Convalescent Hospital in Calgary where he spent seven weeks getting treatment. He was released from the hospital on 21 March and discharged from the army on 31 March, due to demobilization.

After the war James attended the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in Toronto, graduating in 1923. While he was a student he was married at St. Luke’s Church in Red Deer, Alberta on 29 September 1920. His wife, Constance Kingsmill Jarvis, was born in 1898 in Alberta (the North-West Territories at that time). She was the second of four daughters. Her mother, Marion Harvey, was from England and her father, William Morley Jarvis, was born in Toronto. William had moved west in 1888 and he served with the North-West Mounted Police for five years. Afterwards he lived in Calgary and Red Deer, where he became involved in the lumber industry.

When James graduated he and his wife settled in Calgary and he established a dental practice there. They raised three children: daughter Marion Elizabeth (Betty) (1924-2014) and sons William James Glenson (1926-1981) and Robert Jarvis (1932-2007). James passed away at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary on 6 October 1969, at age 78, and his funeral was held two days later. His wife Constance died in 1992, at age 94. They are both buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary along with their two sons, James’ parents and all four of his brothers and sisters. Their daughter Betty died in Edmonton in 2014.

By Becky Johnson

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