Rank: Private
Number: 1009141
Unit: 46th Battalion (Saskatchewan Regiment) Canadian Infantry
Date of Death: 14 November 1918
Age: 29
Cemetery: St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

James' parents, Edwin and Mary (nee Dixon) are thought to have married in the Chadderton area between July and September 1888. James would later give his date of birth as 17 June 1888. Over the years they would have a total of four sons, all reported to have died in their 20s (but it is not thought the others died from service during the war).

Nothing is known of James' early life, but he must have had a spirit of adventure, as he decided to make a new life in Canada. He settled in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where he worked as a dairyman.   On 12 May 1915, he married Annie. It's not known if he knew her from Stockport or had met her in Canada but, after the War, she was living at 144 Newbridge Lane, Stockport. This address was the family home of James McDermott, so it seems likely that she had returned to live with her parents.

By 1916, he was married to Annie. It has not been able to establish if they married in the UK and emigrated together, or if he met her in Canada.

When war was declared in August 1914, James was not amongst the first rush to enlist. And it was not until 11 March 1916 that he went to the recruiting office in Moose Jaw to make his attestation. His enlistment papers can be viewed on-line at the Canadian National Archives and these show him to have been 5 feet 5 inches in height with a 35 inch chest. He had a fair complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. The examining doctor noted he had only one distinguishing feature - a small brown mark on his left hand. James recorded that he was a Roman Catholic.

James' original unit was the newly formed 229th Battalion, raised in Moose Jaw and he went overseas with it on 18 April 1917, sailing form Halifax aboard the SS Northland. The 229th never saw active service as a unit, its members being reallocated to other units when it arrived in England. The 46th Battalion had also been raised in Moose Jaw, in early 1915 and left for England in the October. It did not go to France until August 1916 and James himself do not go on active service until 28 February 1918.

The battalion took part in the remaining major battles of the war and suffered such a high casualty rate that it earned the nickname of the "Suicide Battalion". On 1 November, was wounded in action. He had been shot in the head. He was treated at a field hospital just behind the front lines but, by 5th, had been admitted to the Army's 12th General Hospital at Rouen. Six days later, the Armistice was signed and the fighting stopped. James died on the third day of peace.

After the War, when the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, it recorded that Annie was living at 34 Condor Grove, Blackpool.

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