Jamieson, Joseph Alexander

JamiesonJo (2)


Private Joseph Alexander Jamieson – 195810 – ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)

On March 17, 1916 Joseph Alexander Jamieson completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was 18 years, 6 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. Joseph Alexander was born in Dublin, Ireland and gave his birth-date as September 19, 1888. On his Attestation Paper, he indicated that ”he did not presently belong to an Active Militia and that he had never served in any Military Force”. There is nothing on his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Farm Labourer. Joseph Alexander was 5′ 3” tall, with a 34” chest (expanded). He had a dark complexion, with blue eyes, and dark hair. His Medical Examination was completed March 17, 1916 in Lakefield. He had no medical issues or physical limitations, and as such he was deemed fit for Overseas duty with the CEF. His next-of-kin was listed as his sister, Mrs. Wilson Northey, of Halls Bridge, Ontario. Joseph Alexander signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on March 17, 1916, in Peterborough, Ontario. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed by the Justice on March 17, 1916. Joseph Alexander Jamieson was taken-on-strength with the 93rd Battalion – ”C” Company, as a Private (Pte) and was assigned Service Number 195810. Pte Jamieson was transferred to the 93rd Battalion (Bn) when the 93rd Bn (Peterborough) was authorized and formed up on December 22, 1915.

After training through the winter of 1915 and spring of 1916 at five different area Centres, the Battalion departed by train from Peterborough, on May 29, 1916. Pte Jamieson and the 93rd Bn made a short stop at Camp Barriefield located at Kingston, Ontario, before moving on the Main CEF Training Centre located at Valcartier, Québec, so as to complete Basic Infantry training, before being transported overseas, to the UK, by ship. The 93rd Bn embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 15, 1916, aboard the SS Empress of Britain.

JamiesonJo1 (2)Pte Jamieson disembarked in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916. There is no reference in his File, as to where he was stationed from July 25, 1916 until October 5, 1916. Pte Jamieson was admitted to Hospital at Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe on August 24, 1916 with what was diagnosed as Diphtheria. He was discharged to Division on August 28, 1916 when the diagnosis was changed to Tonsillitis. On October 6, 1916 he was struck-off-strength from the 93rd Bn to the 39th Battalion stationed at West Sandling, England. On the same day, he was taken-on-strength with the 39th Battalion. November 14, 1916 he was struck-off-strength from the 39th Oversea Bn on being transferred to the 87th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cdn Inf Bn).

The 87th Cdn Inf Bn (Canadian Grenadier Guards) was attached to the 12th Cdn Inf Brigade, part of the 4th Cdn Inf Division. Pte Jamieson was held with the Reserve Bn at the Cdn Base Depot at La Havre, France.

On November 15, 1916 he was taken-on-strength with the 87th Battalion, in the Field, from the Reserve Bn at the Cdn Base Depot at La Havre, France. On November 19, 1916 he proceeded to join his Unit in the Field. On November 22, 1916 he joined his Unit.

There are no entries in his Military File from November 22, 1916 to July 30, 1917 when it is reported that he had ”died of wounds, received in battle, gas poisoning”.

To track his movement and that of the 87th Battalion, the 87th War Diary was used.

November 1916 – On November 22nd, when Pte Jamieson joined the 87th Bn ”in the Field”, they had just moved to billets at Bouzincourt, France. On the 26th, the Bn marched through a series of Villages arriving at the Village of Arqueves, where they went into billets. The Bn was, once again, on the move on the 30th marching through another series of Villages, finally arriving at Nouvellette, France.

December 1916 – The first five days of December, the 87th Bn made a series of day marches finally ending up at billets at the Village of Frevillers, France. The Bn would remain at these billets until the 20th. On the 9th, they received 150 men as reinforcements from the 132nd Bn. On the same day, a number of Officers reported for duty. On the 13th, another 221 men arrived as reinforcements. On the 15th, the Bn was inspected by Lt-General, the Honourable Sir Julian Byng – Cdn Corps Commander. He also awarded a number of Military Medals to NCOs and men for conspicuous conduct in the Field. On the 17th, the Bn was inspected by Brig-General V. W. Odlum – Officer Commanding 11th Cdn Inf Brigade. On the 20th, the Bn marched to billets in Camblain L’Abbe. The Bn Transport Lines were established at Gouy-Servains. On the 21st, the Bn went into Reserve Line at Berthonval Wood, relieving the 14th Cdn Inf Bn. The Bn was relieved by the 102nd Cdn Inf Bn on the 24th, and moved back to billets at Camblian L’Abbe. Christmas Day was observed while in billets at Camblain L’Abbe. The Bn relieved the 75th Cdn Inf Bn in Brigade Support on the 27th, where they remained to the end of the month.

January 1917 – January opened with the Bn disbursed as follows: ”B” Company in the Front-Line in Zouve Valley, ”D” Company in support in Coliseum Trench, ”A” and “C” Companies in support in Maistre Line. The Bn was relieved on the 2nd by the 54th Cdn Inf Bn and it returned to Brigade Reserve at Berthonval Wood. On the 6th, the Bn received 60 other ranks reinforcements from 132nd Res Bn. On the 8th, the Bn relieved the 75th Cdn Inf Bn in the Front-Line. The 87th Bn was relieved on the 14th and returned to billets at Camblain L’Abbe. On the 20th it relieved the 75th Cdn Inf Bn in support. The Bn returned to Brigade Support at Berthonval Wood on the 26th, where it stayed to the end of the month.

February 1917 – Entries in War Diary were too faint to read.

March 1917 – Begins with the 87th Battalion at rest at Hersin-Coupigny, France. On the 1st the 4th Canadian Division carried out an attack on enemy positions. March 2nd the 87th Battalion relieved the 54th and 75th Battalions in the Front-Line. The Battalion was disbursed as follows: ”A” Company sector from Vincent to Tottenham, ”B” Company sector from Tottenham to Cavalier, ”C” Company sector from Cavalier to Lasalle, and ”D” Company sector the Tunnel. On the 3rd, at approximately 8:00 AM a German Major bearing a Red Cross flag came into No-Man’s-Land and called the Commanding Officer to come out and see him. A Lt Sinclair was sent out. The German Officer offered an armistice for a few hours in order to give an opportunity of collecting the bodies of those killed during the attack of 1st March. The armistice was carried out between 8 and 12:00 AM, in good order. The Germans bringing the bodies of men from the 54th and 75th Battalions half way across No Man’s Land, to be carried the rest of the way by the 87th men. The German Officer, who spoke fluent English, stated that his objective on offering the armistice was that there might be fewer men listed as missing, and those at home might gain some consolation from the fact of their relatives having a Christian burial. He further stated that prior to the War he had been a professor in a London University. Also on the 2nd, the Battalion took over the 12th Brigade Frontage of 700 yards. This gave the 87th Battalion a mile of Front-Line to hold. Casualties for the day: 2 men killed and two wounded. March 4th the German Major once gain came forward in to No-Man’s-Land with another proposed armistice. This one was refused by the 87th Commanding Officer, owing to the fact that the German said the Battalion on his right was opposed to the armistice and that he could not guarantee their actions. On the 5th seven men were wounded and one man died of wounds. On the 7th the 87th Battalion (less ”D” Company which remained in the Front-Line under the orders of the Commanding Officer of 102nd Battalion), relieved the 54th Battalion in a Support position. Distribution of the three other Companies in Support as follows: ”C” Company in Coliseum trench, ”B” Company on the Arras-Bethune Road, and ”A” Company in Artillery dugouts back of the Bajoie line. One man was wounded. The 8th of March marked the return of Captain Robert Bickerdike (wounded at the Somme) from England for duty. Major William Alexander Macpherson taken-on-strength, supernumerary to establishment, and one man died of wounds. There are no entries for the 9th and 10th. On the 11th the Battalion was relieved from its Support position by the 38th Battalion and it moved to the Bouvigny Huts for rest. March 16th the 87th Bn relieved the 13th Battalion (Service) Middlesex Regiment, in Reserve position, on the Lorette Spur in the Souchez Sector, coming under the orders of the 73rd British Infantry Brigade. Company distribution as follows: ”A” Company to Albain Lane, ”B” Company to Dugout on track opposite Sugar Factory, ”C” Company to Dugout Lane, and ”D” Company to Maistre Line. This position was occupied until the 87th was relieved by the 9th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment at about 5:00 AM on the 17th. On the 18th one man attached to 11th Field Company was killed-in-action. On the 19th the Battalion took over the Front-Line from the 38th Battalion. The Companies were distributed as follows: ”A” Company holding from Vincent inclusive to Tottenham exclusive, ”B” Company from Tottenham inclusive to Old Boot Sap exclusive, ”C” Company to Tottenham Caves, ”D” Company to Music Hall Line, Wortley to New Boyeau inclusive and also the use of the Dugouts in Arras Valley, from New Boyeau to Wortley. Major Shaw in command, Lt Col Frost DSO going to Transport Lines (sick). March 20th one man killed, on the 21st four men killed – four men wounded, on the 22nd one man killed – one man died of wounds, on the 23rd Lt Yonkles slightly wounded – 1 man killed – three men wounded. Overnight the 23rd/24th three men killed and three men wounded. On the 24th Major Maxwell, as well two men killed – three men wounded and one man died of wounds. March 26th the 87th Battalion was relieved by the 75th Battalion, coming out to rest in huts at St. Lawrence Camp – Chateau de la Haie. From the 27th to 31st, the Battalion was undergoing training.

April 1917 – Opened with the 87th Battalion continuing to train in wet and cold weather. On the 1st the effective strength of the Battalion is listed as 42 Officers and 1,101 other ranks. Available for trench duty: 28 Officers and 741 other ranks, at Transport Line: 4 Officers and 90 other ranks, on courses: 4 Officers and 20 other ranks, detailed away on other duties: 6 Officers and 250 other ranks. On the 2nd the Battalion was continuing to train in the wet cold weather. It is noted that it snowed quite hard in the evening. The 3rd of March, the Battalion moved up to the Front-Line area in preparation for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Company disbursement was as follows: ”A” Company to Berthonval Wood, ”B” to Arras Road and Music Hall trench, ”C” & “D” Companies to Tottenhan Caves and Front-Line. On the 4th 13 other ranks were taken-on-strength. From the 4th to 6th large work parties were supplied to Assembly trenches. On the 7th ”B” Company moved up to the Front-Line and took up positions to the left and right of Tottenham. ”C” & “D” Companies shortened up their lines accordingly. On the 8th, ”A” Company moved up and took up a position on the left flank, relieving ”D” Company. ”D” Company then took up a position behind ”A”, “B” & “C” Companies. At 10:00 PM, it was reported that the Bn was in position. The 102nd Cdn Inf Bn was on the 87th Bn’s left and the 38th Cdn Inf Bn was on its right. At 5:30 AM, on Easter Sunday morning, the 520 men of the Bn went over the top supported by a heavy Artillery barrage. This was the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Each Company moved forward in three waves of one Platoon each. A report came in fifteen minutes after the start of the assault that a large number of the men of the Bn were still in the Assembly trenches. This report was investigated and found to be false, all men had gone forward, as planned. By the end of the day, all Bn objectives had been taken. The 10th was spent consolidating the positions and standing by for enemy counter-attacks. The assault of the 102nd, 87th, and 38th was against the 79th Bavarian Division – 261st Regiment, considered among the best of the enemy troops. Of the 520 men who went over the top: 110 were reported killed, 157 were wounded, and 25 were missing. The Bn remained in position throughout the 11th being relieved by the 47th Cdn Inf Bn when night fell. The Bn marched back to billets at Camblain L’Abbe. On the 15th, 70 other ranks from the 4th Cdn Entrenching Bn, were taken-on-strength as reinforcements. The Bn spent the 16th to 19th training. The Bn moved to the 1st Cdn Div area at Maison Blanche on the 20th, where a 400 man work party made repairs to the Lens- Arras road. The work parties continued through the 21st to 23rd. On the 24th, the Bn moved to the Divisional Reserve in Bethonval Wood relieving the Bedfords, Cheshires, and Norfolks of the 15th Brig, 5th Imperial (British) Div. The Bn supplied 500 man work parties from the 25th to 27th working on road and tramlines in the area of Souchez and Givenchy. On the 26th, 57 other ranks were taken-on-strength from the 22nd Cdn Reserve Bn. The 28th and 29th, were spent in work parties on the Albain St. Nazaire tramline. The Bn moved from Berthonval Wood on the 30th to Niagara Camp at Chateau de la Haie. Reinforcements, of Officers and other ranks arrived from the 60th Cdn Inf Bn. Bn artillery was very active on La Coulette and Lens.

May 1917 – Bn strength, on the 1st of May, was shown as 42 Officers and 1269 other ranks available for trenches. The 2nd to 9th was spent in training. On the 10th, the Bn left Niagara Camp and marched to the Quarries in the Zouave Valley. At 8:30 PM on the 11th, the Bn moved off over Vimy Ridge and carried out the relief of the 44th Cdn Inf Bn. On the 12th, both sides exchanged artillery fire. Bn artillery was very active on the 13th against La Coulette and Lens. The enemy fired some trench mortars on the left side of the Bn Front. Bn patrols out along the Front-Line found enemy wire in good shape. Enemy made a small bombing attack on one of the Bn’s outposts, but it was repulsed. Bn snipers were quite active claiming a number of hits. On the 14th, the enemy fired a number of artillery shells on the Bn rear area, but there were no casualties. Snipers were active on both sides, with Bn snipers getting three hits. Enemy were out collecting dead and wounded men, under a Red Cross Flag. Bn patrols were out at night and taped off an area where a new trench was to be dug the next night. Artillery and sniping were quite active on the 15th. Word was received that the enemy might be planning a withdrawal from the Line opposite the Bn Front-Line. Patrols, in strength, were sent out to probe enemy positions and found them still in place and very alert. Quite lively exchanges of bombs and rifle fire ensued, with casualties on both sides. The 16th to 18th were a repeat of the 15th. Enemy were once again out collecting bodies under a Red Cross Flag. It was suspected that they were gaining intelligence and as such a very close eye was kept on their activity. On the 19th, Bn patrols out at night and advanced up Clucas Trench occupying an enemy block, which the patrol held on too. The Bn was relieved the night of the 20th/21st by the 78th and 85th Cdn Inf Bns. The Bn marched to billets at Niagara Camp at Chateau de la Haie, where it went back to training. On the 28th, it moved back to Berthonval Wood and continued training.

June 1917 – Bn strength is now shown as 29 Officers and 878 other ranks available for trenches. The Bn would spend the 2nd to 5th training. On the 6th, it moved back to the Front-Line. On the 7th, Bn ”heavies” (18 pounders) were active firing on enemy positions. While the 6” howitzers were busy cutting enemy wire along the Bn Front-Line, in preparation for a pending assault on enemy’s Front. Bn artillery very active all day of the 8th, in preparation for a planned assault. At 11:45 PM, the Bn as part of a larger attack, moved forward behind an artillery barrage. Their objectives were the Village of La Coulette, Posse 7 and the trenches in front and rear of these points. The attack went as planned. It was noted that as a result of the work of the 6” howitzers, the enemy wire presented no serious obstacle as it had been effectively cut along the whole Front. Based on the damage to the enemy trenches and outposts, the bombardment by the Bn ”heavies” had caused a significant amount of damage. The Bn objectives were reached by 12:30 AM and held until the signal to withdraw was received. It was estimated that the Bn inflicted 300 casualties on the enemy and 100 were taken prisoner. Bn casualties were: 19 killed, 104 wounded, 9 missing, and 7 died of wounds. In-spite of the Bn casualties, the attack was considered a success. Bn artillery was generally quiet during the 9th. Heavies put occasional salvos into La Coulotte, Poose 7, and Avion. There was scattered response from the enemy with shells falling on Bordon and Irish trenches. Both sides sent out stretcher bearer parties out throughout the day bringing back casualties. On the 10th, Bn artillery was fairly active. 18 pounders fired on enemy support lines, while ”heavies” fired on La Coulotte and Canada trenches. Bn machine guns quite active during the night. Patrols were sent out at night and found the trenches opposite the Bn Front-Line occupied. The 11th was a repeat of the 10th. Total casualties for this tour were reported as: 21 killed, 121 wounded, 9 missing, and 8 died of wounds. On the 12th, the Bn marched to Niagara Camp at Chateau de la Haie. The 13th was spent resting and cleaning up. The 14th to 16th was spent training. A Brigade Church Parade was held on the 17th. Following the Parade a number of Medals were awarded to the Bn for performance during the April 9th, Battle of Vimy Ridge; they included a Distinguished Service Order, a Military Cross, and 10 Military Medals. In addition 4 Officers were mentioned in dispatches. The 18th was spent in training. On the 19th, the Bn moved to billets at Coburg Street where it relieved the 46th Cdn Inf Bn of the 10th Cdn Inf Brigade in Divisional support. From the 19th to the 26th, practically the entire Bn was detailed on work parties. The Bn received a warning order on the 27th, to be ready to relieve a Bn on the Left Front. The 12th Cdn Inf Brigade, which the Bn was attached to, launched an attack on Ontario trench which it took. Arrangements made on the 28th for the Bn to relieve the 85th Cdn Inf Bn. The 12th Cdn Inf Brigade launched an attack on Eleu dit Leavette, which it took. On the 29th, relief order was canceled. Bn remained engaged in work parties. Bad weather on the 30th stopped all work parties. Men available for trenches were listed as: 20 Officers and 744 other ranks.

July 1917 – On the 1st, the Bn moved from Coburg Street in the Zouave Valley to Petit Servins for a rest period that was stated to be 4 weeks in duration. The 2nd to 24th were spent in training, sports, inoculations, bath and church parades. On the 11th His Majesty King George passed through the area and the Bn lined the road from Gouy Servins to Viller aux Bois. On the 23rd a warning order was received informing the Bn to be prepared to move. On the 25th, with a trench strength of 28 Officers and 749 other ranks, the Bn left for Lievin, arriving at 10:45 PM. Bn patrols were sent forward on the 26th to reconnoiter the Front-Line. The Bn moved forward at 10:30 PM to relieve the Front-Line. Due to difficulties encountered relief was not completed until 4:30 AM on the 27th. Enemy artillery and trench mortars were quite active during the day. Bn Front-Line Companies were subjected to gas bombardment during the night of the 27th/28th. Bn casualties were listed as 1 killed and 5 wounded. During the day of the 28th, there was more enemy activity than usual. From 7:30 Am until 2:00 PM, they kept up a continual bombardment of the Bn Line; including: Poose 9 and Chateau (Lievins) Country Cottages. Bn reconnaissance patrols found enemy outposts along the entire Bn Front. Casualties for the day: 3 wounded and 4 gassed (one died). On the 29th, the Bn Front-Line continued to be shelled by heavy and light trench mortars and rear areas by enemy heavies. During the day the Bn advanced and established new outposts before dark in the evening. Casualties were reported as: 2 killed, 10 wounded, and 6 gassed. The 30th was a repeat of the 29th. Bn casualties were listed as: 5 wounded, and 4 gassed.

Pte Joseph Alexander Jamieson was admitted to the No 6 Casualty Clearing Station on July 30, 1917, which was in the area of Rouen, France, where he died of wounds received in Battle – Gas Poisoning.

The Memorial Cross, Memorial Plague and Scroll were dispatched to his father James Jamieson Esq., at 7 Hope Place, Rhyl, North Wales, England. The Military File indicates that Pte Jamieson was not eligible to receive the 1914-1915 Star.

There is no reference, in Private Joseph Alexander Jamieson’s Military File indicating what Military Medals he was awarded but based on his Military Service, he should have received:

British War Medal 1914 – 1920; and
Victory Medal.
He also qualified for War Service Badge CEF Class “A”.

Private Joseph Alexander Jamieson is commemorated on page 262 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa. He is interred in the Barlin Communal Cemetery. Barlin is a Village about 11 km south-west of Bethune. The Cemetery lies to the north of the Village.

Based on his Military File, Pte Joseph Alexander Jamieson served a total of 1 year, 4 months and 13 days with the Canadian Expeditionary Force: 3 months and 28 days in Canada, 7 months and 28 days in England, and 8 months and 15 days in France.

An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:

”The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable”.

JamiesonJo3 (2)



Joseph Alexander Jamieson was born in Dublin, Ireland on September 19, 1898, son of James Jamieson and Agnes Brady. Joseph and his sister Evelyn Maud Jamieson arrived in Canada sometime before 1915. On June 30, 1915, Evelyn Maud Jamieson married Wilson Northey in Lakefield. Wilson Northey was a farmer in Harvey Township and Joseph was living with his sister and brother-in-law and working as a farm labourer at the time of his enlistment.

On March 17, 1916, Joseph Alexander Jamieson enlisted in Lakefield with the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force and by 1917 was seeing action in Europe. Unfortunately Joseph Alexander Jamieson was killed in action in France on June 30, 1917, age 18 years. Joseph Alexander Jamieson is remembered with honour in Barlin Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.


Joseph Alexander Jamieson’s parents were James Jamieson and Agnes Brady who resided in Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. They had at least two children; Evelyn Maud born in Scotland on January 13, 1897 and Joseph Alexander born in Dublin, Ireland on September 19, 1898. In 1917 James and Agnes Jamieson were living at 7 Hope Place, Rhyl, North Wales, England.