Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 15, 1890
Place of BirthLac Seul, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinBella Young (wife), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingTeamster
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number821000
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentAugust 28, 1916
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 10, 1982
Age at Death91
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot9E-43-3, History Haven Block

Young, James

Private James Young enlisted with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion in August 1916 and served for 18 months in Canada and England. He was invalided home in February 1918.

James was the son of John Young and Ellen Thompson (or Thomas) of Lac Seul, Ontario. He was born in Lac Seul in October 1890 and he had at least five sisters (Mary, Elizabeth, Catherine, Flossie and Malina) and five brothers (Thomas, Robert, Sinclair, John Jr. and Lawrence). Another brother died as an infant in 1897. His mother was born and raised in Lac Seul but his father had emigrated from Scotland, finding work in northern Ontario as a fisherman and trapper. The last child was born in 1901 and John (Sr.) died in March 1904. Ellen may have moved to the Kenora area after that and she was married again in Kenora in December 1907. Her second husband, Charles Flett, was a lighthouse keeper who was originally from Manitoba but he’d been in the Lake of the Woods area for about thirty years.

At the time of the 1911 census Ellen and Charles were living at 815 First Street South in Kenora. Ellen’s youngest daughter was with them and next door, at 817 First Street South, were her sons James, age 20, and Lawrence, age 11. James was working as a teamster at the time and the household included their uncle Sinclair Young, who was born in Scotland, and a lodger Nichol Finlayson, age 17. James’ sisters Mary and Elizabeth were both married to Finlaysons (Nichol’s uncles). James married Nichol’s sister, Bella Finlayson, on 30 September 1911 in Winnipeg. The war started in 1914 and between January and August of 1916 Lawrence, Nichol and James all enlisted for service.

Lawrence was the first of the three lads to sign up, joining the 94th Battalion in January 1916 when he was only 16 years old. Nichol was next, signing up with the 94th in February, and James enlisted on 28 August 1916 with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. The 141st was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora recruits had been sent there at the beginning of August. James made his way to Port Arthur later with the other additional volunteers. After training over the winter the battalion left for the east coast on 20 April 1917 and they embarked for England a week later, leaving from Halifax on 29 April on the SS Olympic.   In England the men were absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. Two months later James was drafted to the 44th Battalion but during his training he was found to have impaired vision, serious enough that he was unfit for military service.  In September he was transferred to the Manitoba Depot Regiment then to the CAMC Depot, to be invalided to Canada. He arrived back in Halifax on the SS Saxonia on 30 November 1917. A notice from the Soldiers Aid Commission in the Kenora Miner and News mentioned that he was returning home on a special train on 13 December along with one other local soldier. James was discharged on 15 February 1918 in Winnipeg, with his intended place of residence listed as Kenora.

His brother-in-law   Nichol Finlayson spent time as a German prisoner of war but he survived the war. His brother Lawrence Young served with the 42nd Battalion and he was killed in France in February 1917. In 1920 when his medals, scroll and memorial cross were sent to their mother she was living on Second Street East in Kenora. Her husband Charles Flett died in 1927. Charles’ son  Hector Flett had also served in the war, spending more than three years overseas with the 52nd Battalion.

After the war James and Bella lived in Kenora and Fort William/Port Arthur. James passed away in a nursing home in St. Adolphe, Manitoba on 10 February 1982, at the age of 91, and his wife died in Winnipeg two years later. No children are mentioned in their obituaries and they are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Also buried there are James’ brother Thomas (1879-1954), his sisters Mary Finlayson (1874-1947), Elizabeth Finlayson (1886-1975) and Catherine Warner (1888-1979) and his uncle Sinclair Young.

By Becky Johnson

Young-James-90 Young-James-91 Young-James-92 Young-James-93 Young-James-94

Obituaries are from the Kenora Miner and News.

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