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

Brothers James "Russ" [left] - born in Arnott, Ontario on 19th September 1889, and Charles "Wilmer" [below] - born in Chatsworth, Ontario, on 14th March 1893, came from a large farming family in Derby Township, Ontario. At the time hostilities broke out Russ was farming on his own in Arnott and Wilmer 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 Russ attested on 5th February 1916 and was assigned to HQ as a stretcher-bearer whilst twenty-two year old Wilmer attested on 22nd February 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. Come 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 14th November 1916.

On 1st January 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. Russ was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on 17th June 1917; whilst Wilmer wasn't taken on strength until 27th September 1917.

Sadly, within a month of being taken on strength, Wilmer [right] was Killed-In-Action, on Bellevue Spur, during the opening phase of the Canadian attack in the Battle of Passchendaele: 26th October 1917. Wilmer's body was never recovered and as such he is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, specifically on Tablet Q on Panel 32, and also the Chatsworth War Memorial, Ontario, and on the family's tombstone in Chatsworth.

Despite having lost his brother, Russ continued serving at the front. On 8th October 1918, during the Battle of Cambrai, Russ 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 that Russ was subsequently awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field (see LG 31173, pg. 2131, London Gazette 11th February 1919).

Medically evacuated and on account of his wounds Russ wasn't struck off strength until October 16th, 1919. Returning to Canada Russ returned to farming and looked after his ailing mother until her passing in 1927. Then in 1928 he married Isabella Elliot Dobie (sister of 4th CMR's Capt. John Milton Dobie) and the couple had one child, Mary Alice Galbraith (1934 - 2013). Russ passed away on 20th January 1976, at the age of 87 and lies at rest with wife Isabella in Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound, Ontario.

Thanks and credit for the family images and additional biographical details go to Russ's grandson Bradley Cuzen, with service details and initial biographies supplied by 147th & 248th BN researcher George Auer.

Please click on the images to see larger versions of the pictures.

Menin Gate, Tablet Q, Panel 32 images supplied by 4cmr.com