Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 14, 1893
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Harriett Woods, mother, 351 Chalmers Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number186790
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment351 Chalmers Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentOctober 15, 1915
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 12, 1950
Age at Death57
Buried AtElmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Woods, James Huston Ross

James Huston Ross  Woods was born on 14  January 1893 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father Arthur Woods, son of Irish immigrant Russel Woods and Quebec born Eliza Huston, grew up on a farm in the Kildare/Joliette, Quebec region. His mother Harriet Ross, daughter of William and Margaret (née Caswell) Ross was from the Township of Ross in the county of Renfrew where they farmed. Arthur and Harriet married on 27 February 1884 in Ross, occupation of Arthur given as baggage agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Rat Portage/Keewatin. After the wedding the couple settled in Rat Portage.

By 1901 Arthur was employed as a town constable and eventually became chief of police of Kenora. Involved in municipal affairs, he served as alderman for a number of years. Living in Rat Portage/Kenora, the family grew: William Harvey (b 1885), Arthur Lorne (b 1886), John Stanley (b 1889), James Huston Ross (b 1893), MaryMarguerite (b 1894), Emily Eileen (b 1896), Dorothy Caswell (b 1899), VictoriaEvelyn (b 1901), Russell Vernon (b 1903), and Helen Florence (b 1907).

Leaving the police force, Arthur worked in real estate before the family moved to Winnipeg in late 1911. After a lingering illness, Arthur died in February of 1915. The 1916 census found Harriet and the children living on Chalmers Avenue, Winnipeg North although Ross and Stanley were listed as serving in the military overseas.

Private James Ross Woods enlisted in Winnipeg on 15 October 1915, occupation given as clerk and usual address as living with his mother on Chalmers Avenue in Winnipeg. After months of training, he embarked from Halifax with the 90th Battalion aboard the Olympic on 31 May 1916. Once overseas he was transferred to the 11th Battalion at Shorncliffe and then on to the 14th Reserve Battalion at Dibgate in February of 1917. A few days later he was struck off strength to the 27th Battalion in France, arriving the unit on the 20th. Over the course of his service Ross was admitted  to the No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance in May of 1917 for three days suffering from inflammation to connective tissue of his right heel, and then in October was troubled with tonsillitis, spending a few days at No 3 Stationary Hospital and No 2 Convalescent Hospital in Rouen, being discharged to base details, Etaples  on the 24th. He was  awarded a Good Conduct Badge  in the field on 15 October 1917. With the 27th Battalion, he proceeded to England in April of 1919  and by May was back in Canada for discharge. Ross’s cousin Walter Ralph Woods also served with the 27th Battalion and was reported as killed in action at Passchendaele on 6 November 1917.

After the war Ross returned to Winnipeg and on 3 June 1926 married Priscilla Kruspe. The couple had at least one child, a daughter Joan. Over the years Ross worked for Oldfield, Kirby, and Gardner Ltd and latterly as a building manager for 10 years for Peter D Curry. Ross was very active in the sport of curling, serving as president of the Fort Rouge Curling Club as well as the Manitoba Curling Association.

Predeceased by his wife Priscilla in 1948 and survived by his daughter Mrs WJ Fraser, James Huston Ross Woods died on 12 September 1950. Along with Priscilla he is interred in the family plot Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Ross’s mother Harriet and sisters Marguerite, Eileen (married Harold Dickie in Vancouver 1921, two sons), Dorothy (married Watkin Williams in 1926 in Winnipeg, two sons), and Helen all eventually moved to the Los Angeles area. Harriet died in 1940, Dorothy in 1973, Eileen in 1975, Marguerite in 1980, and Helen in 1990. His sister Victoria married Joseph Le Blanc and predeceased by her husband and survived by a son, died in Vancouver in 1980. His brother Lorne married Ethel Kelly in 1929 in Winnipeg and although he had lived and worked in Vancouver as a comptroller for BC Tourism, died in Victoria in 1972 (no children). His brother Russell stayed in Winnipeg and survived by his wife Elinor and son Grant and family, died in 1984.

Ross’s brother Harvey signed recruitment papers with the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment in Winnipeg in  November of 1917 followed by his medical examination in July of the following year. Stricken with influenza in October of 1918 in Winnipeg while waiting to go overseas, and his condition further complicated with pneumonia, Harvey was discharged as medically unfit in April of 1919 in Winnipeg. Harvey later  married Constance Woolgrove  of Northampton, England. The couple lived in Saskatoon and Nanaimo for a number of years and had four children, a son and three daughters.  Harvey died in 1963 in Victoria.

Ross’s brother Stanley, working as a civil engineer with the Grand Trunk Railway, signed his attestation papers in Edmonton in January of 1915 and while serving overseas was awarded a Military Cross in 1916 and First Bar in 1918. After the war he remained with the armed forces (PPCLI) and married Alice Nash in Winnipeg in 1927. They lived in her home in Victoria and had one daughter. In April of 1932 Stanley was reported as missing, lost off the ferry run between Victoria and Vancouver. His body was never recovered.

by Judy Stockham



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