Cpl James Joseph Higgins   MM w Bar



Cpl Higgins was awarded the Shanghai Emergency medal in 1937 for his part in the defense of the colony vs the Japanese.  He served at Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps.  He was taken POW after fall of Hong Kong & died in Japanese camp in February 1943.  He is buried in Hong Kong.


Above photo and information courtesy of Steve Nichol



Jan 25, 1893

Born at Guelph Ontario


Jun 17, 1915

Attested into the 59th Battalion at Smith’s Falls Ontario 

Ø     Number 454457

Ø     Next of kin given as John Higgins (father) of 20 Pearl St, Guelph Ontario

Ø     Previous occupation given as Piano Tuner

Ø     No previous military experience given

Ø     Religion given as Roman Catholic

Ø     Assigned to Machine Gun Section


Apr 5, 1916

Embarked the Troopship Olympic at Halifax Nova Scotia



Apr 11, 1916

Disembarked at Liverpool England


Appointed to provisional rank of Lance Corporal


Jun 21, 1916

Transferred to the Machine Gun Depot at Risboro Barracks, Shorncliffe


Aug 24, 1916

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Aug 25, 1916

Arrived at CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in France and reverted to rank of Pte 

TOS (Taken On Strength) 21st Battalion


Aug 26, 1916

Left CBD to join unit


Aug 28, 1916

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field 

The battalion was in the rest billets at Zouafques France


Sep 15, 1916

Received bullet wound to left arm and shrapnel wounds to left buttock


Sep 16, 1916

Admitted to No 27 General Hospital at Etaples


Sep 19, 1916

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Dieppe


TOS CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Center)


Sep 20, 1916

Admitted to University College Hospital, London


Oct 15, 1916

Wounds became infected


Jan 1, 1917

Transferred to King’s Red Cross Hospital at Bushey Park


Jan 12, 1917

Discharged from hospital to CCAC for Physical Training


Feb 13, 1917

On Command to CCAC at Hastings


Mar 11, 1917

TOS EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) and attached to 3rd CCD (Canadian Convalescent Depot) at Seaford


Mar 22, 1917

Discharged from 3rd CCD St Leonard’s Hospital


Mar 23, 1917

TOS 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford


Apr 17, 1917

Transferred to 21st Battalion


Apr 18, 1917

Arrived at CBD in France and TOS 21st Battalion


May 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field


Jun 17, 1917

Awarded the Good Conduct Badge which is an inverted chevron worn on lower portion of tunic sleeve.  This is awarded for 2 years of good service


Jul 25, 1917

Appointed Acting Lance Cpl (without pay)


Sep 6, 1917

Appointed to rank of L/Cpl (with pay) to replace L/Cpl Collupy who was promoted


Dec 1, 1917

Attached to the 182nd Company, Canadian Engineers for duty


Dec 21, 1917

Rejoined battalion from 182nd Coy CE


Jan 18, 1918

Granted 14 days leave


Feb 2, 1918

Rejoined from leave


May 18, 1918

Promoted to rank of Cpl


Aug 27, 1918

Admitted to No 8 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) then transferred to No 42 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) – wounded by machine gun bullet wounds to head and arms 

The wound to the forehead the more serious, suffering a depressed fracture of the skull with some loss of bone above right eye


Aug 28, 1918

Transferred via No 5 AT (Ambulance Transport) and admitted to No 14 General Hospital


Sep 19, 1918

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Peiter de Coninck


Admitted to King George Hospital in London


Oct 4, 1918

Transferred to No 16 Canadian General Hospital at Orpington


Nov 8, 1918

Transferred to No 5 Canadian General Hospital at Liverpool


Dec 10, 1918

Invalided to Canada aboard the Hospital Ship Essequibo, embarking at Liverpool (actual sailing date Dec 13)



Dec 20, 1918

Disembarked at Halifax Nova Scotia and transported to Toronto Ontario


Dec 21, 1918

Admitted to St Andrew’s Hospital, Toronto 

Wound to head described as: 

“large oval depression right parietal bone 2” long, 1 ½” wide and 3/8” deep” 

Granted leave with subsistence until January 6, 1919


Jan 6, 1919

Re-admitted to St Andrew’s Hospital


Jan 13, 1919

Transferred to St Andrew’s Military Ward


Jan 18, 1919

Transferred to the Military Ward at the Toronto General Hospital 

Surgeries performed to thigh and scalp wounds to repair bone damage


Jan 21, 1919

Awarded the Military Medal as per the London Gazette #31142



Mar 3, 1919

Transferred to the Dominion Orthopedic Hospital at Toronto


Mar 26, 1919

Discharged from the CEF at Toronto Ontario 

Ø     Discharged as Medically Unfit

Ø     War Service Badge Class “A” issued, number 85978

Ø     Proposed residence on discharge – 61 Northcote Ave, Toronto Ontario

Ø     Entitled to 3 blue chevrons

Ø     Entitled to 2 gold stripes


Mar 29, 1919

Awarded a Bar to Military Medal as per the London Gazette #31257



May 31, 1934

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to 61 Northcote Ave, Toronto Ontario


Feb 21, 1943

Deceased at a POW Camp in Hong Kong 

When WW2 broke out, he was living in Shanghai and volunteered for the Defence Corps in the defence of Hong Kong and was taken prisoner when the forces were captured 

The above is taken from the February 1953 edition of The Communiqué, the battalion's post war newsletter.


Stanley Military Cemetery
Hong Kong


The above photos were taken by Dave Neale at the Stanley Military Cemetery
Hong Kong.


Military Medal w Bar, British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star,
War Medal 1939-1945, Shanghai Municipal Council 1937 Service Medal


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