I have not been able to trace James Cairncross or his family on any Census Records.
His army records tell us that James enlisted into 1st Reserve Battalion of the Canadian Infantry on 12th July 1918 at Victoria, British Columbia.
He gave his date of birth as 4th March 1884 in Glasgow, Scotland and his trade as Trapper and Hunter with an address of Reno Nevada.
The Next of Kin is shown as Mrs Jesse Baxter and on other documents as Mrs Jesse B Cellingworth with an address of General Delivery, Oswego Falls, New York, U.S.A. The address changed on other documents to 12 Vanderbelt Ave, Brooklyn, New York.
According to the Attestation Form James served for a six month period with the Canadian South African Contingent in 1901.
Embarkation from Canada was on 25th September 1918 aboard The S.S. Durham Castle from Halifax arriving in U.K. on 9th October 1918 when James’ battalion was posted to Seaforth Camp. As hostilities were coming to a close, James was transferred to Kinmel Park Army Camp.
(From Library and Archives of Canada Service Files of 1st WW 1914-1918).
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection. Sadly James contracted Bronchial Pneumonia,and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died at 6.20pm on 18th October 1918.
He is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, North Wales.
James is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.