Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 28, 1899
Place of BirthBelfast, County Antrim
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
Regimental NumberWR/207218
ForceBritish Expeditionary Force
BranchRoyal Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 1915
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNot Specified
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 24, 1975
Age at Death76
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Dowds, James

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.

British Army Medal Card

British Army Medal Card

James' application for Legion membership

James’ application for Legion membership

James' grave marker in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

James’ grave marker in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

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