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James 5th Canadian Engineers

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James 5th Canadian Engineers

Postby Jen1974 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:28 pm

My great grandfather, married my GGM in Guildford Surrey in 1917, My family seem to think he was canadian, he was a sapper in the 5th canadian engineers, stationed at Whitley Camp so it says on their marriage certificate,
His name was William John James, he was a widower, and 31 in 1917.

They went on to have two children, my grandmother being one of them, she was born in Bramley Surrey, in 1920. Now my family seem to think he left his wife and children, did a runner...not sure

Now I can't find him anywhere, not in any english records, or canadian records, I need a hand I think
His father is named as John William James, and was a sailor.

Thanks In Advance
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James 5th Canadian Engineers

Postby brunes08 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:27 pm

I have seen a marriage certificate from 1918 where the bridegroom is described as a Belgian soldier. I do not know if this was the norm or because he was not British or from the Commonwealth. He was a Belgian national. I do not know if being in a Canadian unit would be possible if he hadn't come from there. You might find help on the 1914-1918 site where there is a forum for all things 1WW.
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Re: James 5th Canadian Engineers

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:37 pm

What Canadian military records have you checked?

The Canadian Archives are about a quarter of the way through digitising the personnel records of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). See I think I saw that this takes them up to about the surname "Gilbert". However, every soldier should be somewhere in there, because some years ago they filmed the first and last pages of the Attestation forms for everyone. Or at least, upwards of 90% of them were filmed (see ).

There are 3 William John James records (all with just the Attestation sheets) - however none look like your guy. There is a Sapper (i.e. member of their Engineers) but he doesn't sign up until 1918 and the date of birth is way out.

However, if the Canadians are anything like their British counterparts, the names on the forms will be variable - his given names could be documented as William or William J or William John. Or John William or....

Best of luck
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