Karn, James Grant

  • Township: East Nissouri
  • Rank: Private
  • Branch: 215th Canadian Infantry Battalion; 38th Dufferin Rifles
  • Regiment number: 270530
  • Date of birth: May 23, 1880
  • Where born: Thamesford, East Nissouri Township, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada
  • Date of death: September, 1918
  • Burial location: Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, France
  • Wars Served: World War I
  • Years of service: July 21, 1916 - September, 1918
  • Country enlisted with: Canada


James Grant Karn was born in Thamesford to Rial Karn and Catherine Grant. He married Delila, worked in Brantford as a moulder, and enlisted there in 1916 with the 215th Canadian Infantry Battalion.  He was also a member of the local militia unit, the 38th Dufferin Rifles, prior to enlisting. He sailed to England on the SS Olympic April 28, 1917. The 215 was disbanded May 7th the day it reached England and he was transferred to the 2nd Reserve Battalion at East Sandling. Shortly afterwards, he was posted to the 125th Canadian Infantry Battalion in East Sandling. Part of the 5th Canadian Division, the 125th remained in England  and he was on garrison duties there until he was sent to France on February 27, 1918. He was a reinforcement for the 54th Battalion who were serving with the 11th Infantry Brigade in the 4th Canadian Division. Held initially at the Canadian Base Depot at Le Havre, France, Karn was sent forward on March 4, 1918 to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp somewhat closer to the forward area. The following day, a short march took him to the 54th Battalion where he was assigned to a rifle company.They did routine tours on the front lines in the spring and summer of 1918. The battalion took part in the Battle of Amiens 8 as well as Arras and the capture of the Hindenburg August 26 to September 2. The Germans then withdrew about six kilometres across the Canal du Nord and the Canadian Corps had to pause for about three weeks. They then fought their way across the Canal du Nord September 27th and the following day they assaulted the German Marcoing Line. The 54th suffered a number of casualties in the next few days. A Circumstances of Death Report filed later said that Private Karn "...was present at the jumping off position in the Battle of Cambrai on September 30,1918 but could not be located when the objective was reached. As most of his company became casualties during the attack further details of the actual circumstances of his feather are not attainable. His body was recovered a few days later."  He is buried at Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery in France. He was survived by his wife Delila of 91 Arthur Street, Brantford, Ontario, Canada. -- Courtesy of St. Marys Journal Argus.