|Date of Birth||February 28, 1899|
|Place of Birth||Belfast, County Antrim|
|Force||British Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||February 1915|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||Not Specified|
|Date of Death||September 24, 1975|
|Age at Death||76|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
James Dowds was born on 28 February 1899 in Belfast, Ireland. His parents, James Dowds and Louisa Hall had married in 1882. They had three other children: Hugh (1882-1955), Margaret (1887-1980), and Agnes (b. 1894).
According to his application for Legion membership, James enlisted for service in WW1 in February 1915. He served with the Irish Rifles and the Royal Engineers and was discharged in November 1918. His medal card provides a few more details. It mentions that he first served as a Private with the A. Cyc. Corps – #5390; then with the Irish Rifles – #9204; and finally with the Royal Engineers – #WR/207218. Having served in France he earned the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star.
In August 1920 James immigrated to Canada aboard the Metagama. He listed his occupation as ‘labourer’ and was going to Winnipeg, Manitoba where his brother, Hugh, was already living. The 1921 Canadian census shows James living with his brother Hugh and his family in Winnipeg and working as a ‘grain engineer’.
At some point James moved to Kenora, Ontario and joined the Royal Canadian Legion there. On his application for Legion membership his address is 511 1st St. South and he listed his sister, Margaret McKee of Manchester, Connecticut as his next of kin.
In the 1960’s James became a resident of Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora. He passed away on 24 September 1975 and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
James’ brother, Hugh, served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (#14498) during WW1. Three of Hugh’s sons Herbert Joseph, Christopher Park and Albert served during WW2. Herbert, who was with a Wellington bomber squadron in North Africa was killed in action on 17 August 1943. Christopher was with the Canadian army and Albert was in the RCAF.