DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
10th Infantry Brigade
47th Battalion - West Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654056
RESIDENCE: Lucknow – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: May 17, 1898
Birmingham – West Midlands - England
DATE OF DEATH: August 10, 1918 20 years 2 months
CEMETERY: Le Quesnel Communal Cemetery Extension – Le Quesnel –
Somme – France
MOTHER: Mrs. Jessie Ball – Perry Bar – Birmingham - England
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Goderich – December 20, 1915 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 17 years 7 months
James had come to Canada as a Bernardo Home Child and lived and worked on a farm in the Lucknow area.
Following the departure of the 161st Battalion arrived in England on November 11, 1916. On February 23, 1918, the 161st Battalion is absorbed into the 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion. On March 16, 1918, he is on his way overseas into France and joins the unit in the field on March 21, 1918.
The Battalion strength on the morning of August 10th was 33 Officers / 749 Other ranks.
At 4 am the march began toward the jumping off point north of Warvillers and fell in behind the 44th Battalion.
“A” was right assault / “C” was left assault with “B” as right support and “D” as left support.
The advance began at 10:15 am and the advancing waves came under enemy fire just after crossing the Avenue des Maruttes. Further on heavy enemy machine gun fire was met from an old trench system covered in long grass and about 1,000 yards west of Fouquescourt the advance was checked. “A” Company advanced in close support and engaged the enemy and while this was taking place attempts were made to try and work around the village.
Shortly two tanks came to assist and “A” Company and the 44th rushed the village and were able to penetrate to the open ground to the east of the village and here they formed a defensive line.
At the same time “C” Company was involved in very heavy fighting against enemy machine gun nests and posts. They were then able to leap frog the 44th Battalion and advance until they encountered heavy enemy enfilade fire from the right.
The Battalion on the left was some distance sway and the light was failing and the enemy was still resisting Menelars Trench was consolidated and held for the night.
During this day of battle 13 men were killed and 86 men wounded.
Private Kirk was killed in action and was attached to the 1st Tank Battalion. He was taking part in an attack that had started on August 8th. During the morning of August 10th an enemy anti-tank shell pierced the tank he was in and set fire to the interior. It is known the Canadians used the British MK IV tank and was operated by Canadians. The Canadians experimented with infantry being in the tank but the fumes and the heat made the men suffer and unable to fight.
These were the circumstances of his death in the field.