DIVISIONAL UNIT: 2nd Canadian Infantry Division 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
4th Infantry Brigade 3rd Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps
18th Battalion - Western Ontario “B” Battery
Canadian Infantry Corps Canadian Machine Gun Corps
SERVICE NO: 654333
AWARDS: Military Medal + Bar.
RESIDENCE: Belgrave – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: July 30, 1886
Belgrave – East Wawanosh Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 5, 1918 32 years 2 months
CEMETERY: Bucquoy Road Cemetery – Arras –
Pas de Calais – France
III D 21
BROTHER: Duncan McCallum – Woodstock - Ontario
Occupation: Merchant Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Belgrave – January 24, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 29 years 6 months
James was a young man who was thought very highly of by his peers and neighbours in the Belgrave area. He worked with his brother Duncan in the hardware business and was an active member of his Presbyterian church.
Sergeant McCallum transfers to the 18th Battalion once in England, reverts back to rank as a reinforcement and is once again restored to Acting Sergeant on January 13, 1917. He goes into the field and joins his unit on April 30, 1917 he is promoted to full Sergeant.
He was awarded the Military Medal in the field on November 2, 1917.
His Military Medal citation reads…..for conspicupus gallantry and devotion to duty in action. This non commissioned officer assisted an Officer in capturing an enemy minenwerfer and its crew of 20 men and he continually sniped at the enemy snipers and was instrumental in keeping our casualties lower. He inspired the men of his platoon to carry on by his coolness and courage under trying circumstances and by his own initiative he connected the right flank of his Company with the right Battalion. To be able to do this he was compelled to cross open ground under the enemy fire from rifle and machine gun fire. He kept up communication in daylight with his platoon in the rear and his work during this operation was of the highest quality.
He attended Cadet Training School for an Officers Training Course and was appointed to a commission and posted to the 4th Reserve Battalion located in Bramshott.
He was awarded a bar to his Military Medal on March 3, 1918.
The citation for his bar to Military Medal reads…..for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in front of Passchendaele on November 9-12th. On his platoon commander becoming a casualty he took charge and rendered valuable service on trying circumstanced in organizing a new line after the trench had been destroyed by a heavy enemy bombardment. When a cellar shelter had been blown in by a shell he assisted in removing four wounded men and then voluntarily went back in to see that no man was left. This rescue work was done while wearing box respirators and resulted in sacing the lives of these men.
He was to be a temporary Lieutenant to the Western Ontario Regiment and then transferred to the Canadian Machine-Gun Depot and posted to the Canadian Machine-Gun School on May 5, 1918. He goes back into France on August 18, 1918 and is taken on strength by the Canadian Machine-Gun Corps on August 19, 1918.
On September 29th the 7th & 9th Infantry Brigades attacked and there was enemy resistance met from his artillery and machine guns but were able to advance to the Arras and Bapaume road, the western fringes of Neuville St Remy and to the Douai-Cambrai road. They also cleared the Marquion Line from the Bapaume-Cambrai road to the south toward the Canal de l’Escaut.
“B” Battery advanced with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles with 4 guns going with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and 4 guns being kept 500 yards back for defence posture in depth.
One gun of “B” Battery was 500 yards north-east of St. Olle and encountered very heavy enemy machine gun fire from the high ground in front of them. The officer in charge was killed with all but one man being a casualty. We believe this was Lieutenant McCallum who fell here.
Lieutenant McCallum received gunshot wounds to the face in the line of duty on September 29th suffering a fractured jaw. He was taken to No. 33 British Casualty Clearing Station – Ligny St Flochel where he was tended to but the wounds were far too serious for him to be saved. He died from his wounds six days later
The weather was fine and cool and the Battalion was in reserve near the Drocourt Queant Line. The 1st / 3rd Battalions had the opportunity to bathe today. This day was also pay day.
The 3rd Company at the time of his death would have had 24 machine guns, 15-16 Officers and about 375 men. They would have been using the Vickers machine guns which fired in the area of 600 rounds per minute.