James Kent was born in Stratford, Essex on 23rd February 1899.
The 1901 Census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Kent family was living at 12, Vicarage Cottages, West Ham. The Head of the household was George Kent, aged 35. He was born in Stratford in 1856 and was a a Stonemason’s Labourer by trade. His wife Matilda was 35 years of age. She was born in Stratford in 1865. Their listed children were Nellie 11, William 5 and James was 3.
In 1907 the Kent family emigrated to Canada.
The 1911 Census for Canada reveals that the Kent family was living at 155A Drolet, Quebec. Head of the household was George Kent aged 50 who was a chef by trade. His wife Matilda was 45 and their listed children William 15, James 12, Charles 7 (born in 1903). There were two older daughters not mentioned on the 1901 England Census. Matilda was 26 and had been born in 1885. Nellie May was 22 and had been born in 1889.
James Kent’s army records tell us that he was drafted into the 2nd Depot Battalion of the Ontario Regiment on 28th August 1918, his address, 134, Drolet Street, Montreal, Quebec, next of Kin, Mrs Matilda Kent (Mother) and trade, Labourer.
After basic training in Canada, James embarked for England on board the S.S.Durham Castle and on arrival, 25th September 1918 was posted to Whitley Army Camp to complete his training. As by then, hostilities were coming to an end, James was transferred to Kinmel Camp in Rhyl to await repatriation to Canada. Tragically, he contracted influenza, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 26th October 1918. He was 19 years of age.
(From Library of Canada, Soldiers of the First World War 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.
He is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
James Kent is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.