Honouring Our Military Ancestors Challenge (Day 1)

Lest We Forget

Canadian genealogy blogger, Patricia Greber, challenged family history enthusiasts across the globe in her October 26th blog post to honour their military ancestors during the eleven days leading up to Remembrance Day on November 11th. Not only did Patricia’s challenge get BIFHSGO excited to participate, it inspired the speedy conception AND birth of our society’s very own blog!

We are pleased to make our inaugural post on behalf of such an important cause.

Would YOU like to help to make military ancestors go viral in November? Please participate! You can write your own blog posts, share your photos or records of your own ancestors on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram or just TALK to someone in real life! Of course, we’d love it if you shared OUR post with your friends and followers as well. There are share buttons at the bottom of this text for that purpose or you can look for our posts on social media to re-share from there! (You could even do all of the above if you have been sufficiently inspired)!

Without further adieu…

Honouring Our Military Ancestors Challenge – Day One

Soldiers and a nurse at No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
Soldiers and a nurse at No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 19920044-385. Courtesy of Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.


Infantryman “undoubtedly saved lives” at Passchendaele

In March 1916, at the age of 37, and having been in Canada six years, James Wadsworth (1879-1918) enlisted with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Forces. Originally from Lancashire, England, James lived in Galt, Ontario, with his wife and three children.

Private Wadsworth was awarded the Military Medal in November 1917 for “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty” as a stretcher bearer during operations at Passchendaele Ridge.

“The platoon came under some very heavy shell fire, scattering them and leaving several wounded. This man, with utter disregard for his own safety, went about dressing the wounded, some of whom were in a critical condition,” reported the London Gazette in March 1918.

“His prompt attention and skillful appliance of the bandages undoubtedly saved lives and his calm, fearless, behaviour was a wonderful example to his comrades.”

The article on James’ bravery appeared one week before James himself was wounded at another battle, possibly at the Somme. On March 19, 1918, Private Wadsworth was admitted with shrapnel wounds to the No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, where he died the following day from complications. He is buried in the Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension in Barlin, France.


This brief biography is an extract from one of 300 written by volunteers for the British Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), which maintains a database on the 879 soldiers who died at the No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. Canada’s casualty clearing stations, located within a few miles of the Front, were one of the most important links within the Canadian Army Medical Corps for the treatment of Allied wounded soldiers during WWI.

For more information about Canada’s No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station or to start searching this database, please click on THIS LINK.





12 thoughts on “Honouring Our Military Ancestors Challenge (Day 1)

  1. My grandfather was gassed on November 7th 2017 at the Battle of Passchendaele. He survived until 1974 although he spent 10 months in hospital recovering. It is comforting to think that perhaps James Wadsworth was one of his care givers. I am particularly glad to be part of this project to honour the lives of these young men who sacficied so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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