838803 Pte. James Russell Galbraith MM and 838889 Pte. Charles Wilmer Galbraith


Brothers James (born in Arnott, Ontario on 19th September, 1889) and Charles (born in Chatsworth, Ontario, on 14th March, 1893) came from a large farming family in Derby Township, Ontario. At the time hostilities broke out James was farming on his own in Arnott and Charles worked for a Merchant Bank in Toronto.


With the authorization of the 147th (Grey) Battalion the Galbraith brothers both attested to the 147th Battalion in Owen Sound. Twenty-six year old James attested on February 5th, 1916 and was assigned to HQ as a stretcher-bearer while twenty-two year old Charles attested on February 22nd, 1916 and was assigned to "B" Company.


Billeted locally over the remainder of the winter, the unit left for training at Camp Niagara in the spring of 1916. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916.


On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. James was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on June 17th, 1917; while Charles wasn't taken on strength until September 27th, 1917.


Private James Galbraith MM

Within a month of being taken on strength, Charles Wilmer Galbraith was Killed-In-Action, on Bellevue Spur, during the opening phase of the Canadian attack during the Battle of Passchendaele: October 26th, 1917. Charles' body was never identified and as such he is remembered on Panel 32 of the Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, the Chatsworth War Memorial, Ontario, and on the family's tombstone in Chatsworth.


Despite having lost his brother, James continued serving at the front. On October 8th, 1918, during the Battle of Cambrai, James was severely wounded by shrapnel in the left arm and face. The wounds resulted in the fracturing of his upper left arm and the loss of his left eye. It is unknown if it was during this action or not but Private James Galbraith was awarded the Military Medal, for bravery in the field.


Medically evacuated and on account of his wounds James wasn't struck off strength until October 16th, 1919. Returning to Canada James latterly married and had at least one daughter. He passed away on January 20th, 1976, at the age of 87.




Thanks and credit go to George Auer for the biographies and image.