Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 29, 1886
Place of BirthDunfermline, Fife
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHenry Campbell, father, Hill Street, Port Patrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland
Trade / CallingCivil Engineer
Service Details
Regimental Number216948
Service Record
Battalion12th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentIngolf, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 18, 1916
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 27, 1963
Age at Death77
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Lethbridge, Alberta
PlotBlock 9 Plot 29 Grave 3

Campbell, James Meiklejohn

James Meiklejohn Campbell was born on 29 January 1886 in Dunfermline, Fife in Scotland. His father Henry Campbell was from Busby in Lanarkshire while his mother Margaret Meiklejohn was from Greenock in Renfrewshire. The couple married on 6 June 1873 in Barrhead, Renfrewshire. They gave birth to daughter Janet in 1874 and son Robert in 1875, both in Barrhead. By the time of the birth of daughter Sarah in 1877, the family had moved to Dunfermline. Daughter Margaret was born in 1878, followed by James. In the early years Henry worked in a flax mill as a linen bleacher but by 1901 he was working as an electrical engineer. The 1911 census found Henry and Margaret living in Portpatrick in Wigtownshire where Henry was working as an electrician for the Electric Company Ltd. All the children had left the household.

James immigrated to Canada in 1907, arriving in Halifax on 8 March aboard the Sicilian. His occupation was given as civil engineer on the passenger list and his intended destination as Winnipeg. By 1916 James was living in Ingolf, Ontario, a small community on the railway line west of Kenora near the Manitoba border.

James enlisted on 18 April 1916 in Winnipeg. Living in Ingolf, his occupation was given as civil engineer and his father Henry back in Scotland as next of kin. As a Corporal with the 100th Battalion, James arrived in England on 25 September 1916 aboard the Olympic.

Upon arrival, James was appointed Acting Sergeant. That December he was transferred to the Canadian Training Depot Headquarters and in January of 1917 he was sent to the Canadian School of Musketry at Aldershot. In late March he was posted to the 11th Reserve Battalion, reverting to the rank of Acting Corporal. In July James was taken on strength of the General List and attached to the Chinese Labour Corps Depot.

The Chinese Labour Corps was a force of workers recruited by the British government to free troops for front line duty by performing support work and manual labour. A deal between the Chinese government and the allies resulted in the enlistment of thousands of Chinese who formed the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) mainly poor Chinese men from the North who were told they would be in non-combatant roles. A total of about 140,000 Chinese workers served on the Western Front during and after the war. The workers mainly aged between 20 and 35 served as labour in the rear echelons or helped build munitions depots. They were tasked with carrying out essential work to support the frontline troops, such as unloading ships, building dugouts, repairing roads and railways, digging trenches and filling sandbags. Some worked in armaments factories, others in naval shipyards, for a pittance of one to three francs a day. When the war ended some were used for mine clearance, or to recover the bodies of soldiers and fill in miles of trenches.

In December of 1917, in the Saigneville area, James requested and was granted a transfer to the 12th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops, joining the unit in early February 1918. Jaundiced, in early March he was admitted to the No 111 Field Ambulance, transferring to the No 55 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station a few days later and reverting to the rank of Sapper. Rejoining the unit on 21 April, he was appointed Temporary Lieutenant. James was granted a fourteen day leave in late July. With the end of the war James was transferred to England and posted to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot on 4 January 1919. He embarked from Liverpool for Canada aboard the Belgic on 16 April and was discharged from service on the 28th in Winnipeg. His intended residence at time of discharge was given as Winnipeg.

On 7 February 1921, in Kenora, Ontario, James married Lillian Agnes Kidstone Reid. At the time he was living in Winnipeg and working as a civl engineer. According to the marriage record and her obituary, Lillian, the daughter of Thomas and Mary (nee Pender) Reid, was born about 1896 in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Scotland. At the time of the 1921 census James and Lillian were living in Winnipeg.

According to his obituary, James was divisional engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Kenora for several years. The couple also lived in Moose Jaw before eventually retiring in Lethbridge, Alberta. They gave birth to four children, sons Ian and Robert and daughters Margaret (Peggy) and Mary.

James died suddenly on 27 September 1963 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Lillian later died on 15 January 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta. At the time of her death she was survived by sons Ian Campbell of Victoria, BC and Robert of Langley, BC and daughters Peggy (HK) Shannon of Edmonton and Mary (GA) Bond of Hinton, Alberta. Also surviving were ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. James and Lillian are interred in Mountain View Cemetery in Lethbridge.

By Judy Stockham


Grave marker photo: Bear Hugs,

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