268 / 159670 Pte. James Wiltshire was born in Birmingham, England, in late 1875, to James and Amelia (née Pye) Wiltshire. He was one of six children, having three older siblings: George, Amy and Henry, and two younger siblings: Amelia and Howard.


His father, James, was a gold jeweller and passed away in 1885, whilst his mother, Amelia, ran a laundry service from their home and passed away in 1921.


In his teens James was a brass polisher by trade, though later, at the age of 26, the 1901 Census shows he was a kitchen porter in the Great Western Hotel, on Colmore Row, in Birmingham.


In April 1903 James married Elizabeth Gillmore and daughter Elizabeth followed in early 1905, though it has been seen that James emigrated to Canada in November 1904. He was known to have travelled to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1907, citing his brother-in-law, John Gillmore, his wife's brother, as his destination.


James first attested into the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Ottawa on August 28th, 1914. A metal polisher by trade, and detailing previous military experience with the 5th Lancers, James, service number 268, was assigned with the P.P.C.L.I. (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), but was wounded in April 1915, near Ypres, where he was knocked down by a shell explosion.


Although he continued to serve his nerves got the better of him and he collapsed completely in May and was taken to Poperinge, Belgium, and then Le Harve, France, before being transferred to a hospital in Sherbourne, Dorset, England. Following light duties in Shorncliffe, and with his nerves not improving at Monks Horton Canadian Convalescent Hospital, in Kent, he was discharged as medically unfit and returned to Canada. His Discharge Board in July 1915 noted his state as suffering from "Nervous Exhaustion, Fracture to Left Tibia above ankle. Knocked down by shell. Nervous shock. Three months Convalescent Home. Be discharged from the service as permanently unfit."


Despite that experience, James signed back on, in Toronto, assigned service number 159670, and attached to the 81st Battalion in January 1916. He was subsequently transferred to the 4th CMR on June 7th, 1916. He was wounded again on September 30th, 1916 (gunshot wound to left hip - later defined as shrapnel shell in left hip joint), prior to the launch of the attack on Regina Trench the following morning. However, now being treated at the War Hospital in Bradford, England, James' condition was noted as "very serious" on November 5th. He subsequently died of his wounds on November 13th, 1916.


Pte. James Wiltshire lies at rest in the Birmingham (Lodge Hill) Cemetery, in England.






Biography details with thanks to Mike Kavanagh