Corporal James William Powley

Born on the 19th of October, 1884 in Necton, Norfolk, England, James was the son of Samuel Powley and Fanny Green.

He emigrated with an uncle to Canada as a boy in 1896, spending a year in Montreal before coming to Tavistock, Ontario in 1897. He moved to Stratford, Ontario in 1904 where he was employed as a moulder in the Kemp Furniture Factory. In 1908 he married Marie McCauley of Stratford and they had three children -- Melville, Thelma and Melvina.

James enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in Stratford on the 18th of January, 1915 with the Stratford company of the 34th Battalion. On the 21st of July, 1915 his wife Maria obtained his discharge by purchase. James was determined to go overseas to do his bit and re-enlisted on the 22nd of September, 1915 in B Company of the 71st Battalion in Stratford. James sailed with the 71st from Halifax on the 1st of April 1916 aboard H. M. T. Olympic. After arrival in England the 71st Battalion was broken up for replacements and on the 25th of May, 1916 James was transferred to the 73rd Battalion in Bramshott. On the 18th of June, 1916 he was again transferred to the 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada (Black Watch) at the Canadian Base Depot in France.

On the 3rd of September 1916, while the 13th Battalion was supporting an attack by the 5th Australian Brigade, James was killed in action near Monquet Farm, La Boisselle, Somme Region, France. He has no known grave. He is memorialized on the Vimy Memorial in France and the War Memorial in Stratford, Ontario.

James was survived by his wife and 3 children in Stratford, Ontario and his mother and 2 sisters in Nottingham, England.

This account was contributed by James Powley's grand-daughter Sandra Hunter and her husband Thomas.

home battlefields resource centre the archive culture & war collector's forum