James Blackburn

Jan 8, 1893

Born in Manchester, England to William and Florence Blackburn


Nov 13, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion CEF in Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Number 59070 (temporary number 459)

Ø  Next of kin given as William Blackburn, father, Newton Heath, Manchester, England

Ø  Previous occupation given as Farmer

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Wesleyan

Ø  Posted to “B” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “A” Company

The battalion trained in the Kingston area through the winter with headquarters in the Kingston Armouries

Shortly after enlisting he was appointed to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal without pay

He played on “A” Company’s soccer team as their Goalie


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Aug 16, 1915

Appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal with pay to replace L/Cpl GE Burtt who had been promoted


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Nov 12, 1915

While in the N trenches on the Ypres Salient, Private Blackburn received shrapnel wounds that were first reported as in the waist, but later changed to read right wrist and back as well as a fractured arm.  He was evacuated to the Divisional Rest Station at the No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance in Locre, Belgium


Nov 20, 1915

Transferred to the North Midland Casualty Clearing Station at Mont des Cats, France for treatment


Nov 26, 1915

Transferred to the No. 12 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)


Dec 27, 1915

Discharged to duty from the clearing station with his arm in a splint and to perform light duties only


Mar 18, 1916

Promoted to the rank of Corporal to replace Cpl DH McLean who had reverted to the rank of Private


Apr 17, 1916

Promoted to the rank of Sergeant to replace Sgt  RJ Edmunds

who had proceeded to England


Jun 5, 1916

Granted 9 days leave


Jun 14, 1916

Rejoined the battalion from leave


Jul 10, 1916

Proceeded on the Grenade Course at the Second Army Grenade School, Terdeghem, France with Lieutenant JL Thomson




Jan 17, 1917

During a large trench raid on the enemy lines at Calonne, France, James Blackburn received shrapnel wounds to his neck and hands.  He was first evacuated to the No. 5 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) for first aid before being transported to the No. 22 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)


Jan 18, 1917

Transferred to the No. 22 General Hospital in Camiers, France


Jan 28, 1917

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Warilda

On arrival in England he was admitted to the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) Hospital in Exeter

Transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) for pay purposes while in hospital


Feb 18, 1917

Transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Monks Horton


Mar 10, 1917

Transferred to the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) for pay purposes while in hospital


May 24, 1917

Discharged to duty from hospital and granted 10 days sick leave


Jul 7, 1917

Transferred to the CDD (Canadian Discharge Depot) in Buxton pending return to Canada


Jul 18, 1917

Embarked the SS Justicia in Liverpool



Aug 1, 1917

Disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to the discharge depot in Quebec City, Quebec

Taken On Strength the No. 3 Special Service Company in Kingston for pay purposes


Aug 7, 1917

Medical Board at the Discharge Depot notes

Ø  Patient complains of weakness on exertion

Ø  Tremor in hands when extended

Ø  Has scars from previous shrapnel wounds

Ø  Patient states he was buried by a shell explosion but was never treated and he carried on “because of lack of NCOs”

Ø  Fit for light duties only for at least 2 months

Proceeded to Kingston, Ontario


Feb 23, 1918

Transferred to the Military Police Detachment of Military District No. 3


Mar 22, 1918

Transferred to the CMPC (Canadian Military Police Corps) in Kingston


May 1, 1918

Appointed as Pay Sergeant


Feb 8, 1919

Appointed as CQMS (Company Quartermaster Sergeant) CMPC Kingston


Mar 29, 1919

Married to Henrietta Billings in Kingston, Ontario


Dec 20, 1919

Transferred to the Headquarters Detachment CMPC in Ottawa, Ontario


Jan 15, 1920

Medical Board in Kingston notes

Ø  Suffers from VDH (Valvular Disease of the Heart causing dizziness

Ø  Has enlarged Thyroid due to shrapnel wound to neck

Ø  Weakness in right wrist due to wounds received in combat

Ø  Patient is poorly nourished and pastey in colour

Ø  Has a heart murmur

Ø  Tremors in hands

Ø  Has difficulty swallowing

Board recommends that he be discharged as Medically Unfit with disability due to service


Jan 31, 1920

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario as Medically Unfit

Ø  Rank on discharge CQMS

Ø  War Service Badge Class “A” issued

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge Springbrook, Ontario

Following his discharge, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at 286 Lyon St., Ottawa, Ontario

James Blackburn maintained his connection to the battalion by being active with the Ottawa Club of the 21st Battalion Association

He found employment in the Department of Agriculture and retired in 1958 as their Senior Accountant with 38 years of service as a civil servant.  When you add to that his 5 years of military service, he served his country well.


Nov 1, 1966

James Blackburn died while a patient in hospital in Ottawa, Ontario and was buried in the Beechwood Cemetery, in Ottawa.




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