Soldier Spotlight: Private James Duncan

Image: Kleskun Lake, 1911 (SPRA 2014.038.01)

Regiment: 49th Edmonton
Rank: Private
Force: Canadian Army

James Duncan was born in Scotland, and came to Canada with his brother, George, in 1928. Their uncle Donald McPherson had homesteaded near Clairmont AB since 1910, and their brother, Bill, also was there. Arriving in Montreal, they took the train to Clairmont. In fall of 1929 the two young men bought their own homestead on Kleskun Lake, near Sexsmith. (E ½ – 19-73-4-W6). When a hay crop was destroyed in a fire in 1931, they then worked in a lumber mill. After a few years they started mixed farming with cattle. James joined the army in December 1939, leaving George to look after the farming. (George joined the army in 1942, and their brother Bill also served during WWII in BC.) While serving in Holland in 1943, James was wounded, although it was first presumed that he had been killed. He was discharged in July 1945, and returned to Clairmont where he took over his uncle’s farm. Soon he met and married Ella Jantz, and the couple raised 9 children: Norma, Margaret, Kathie, Tom, Patricia, Heather, Donald, Terry, and Bonnie. In 1967 the Duncans built a new house on their farm.

Smoky River to Grande Prairie p.291 – 292
Wagon Trails Grown Over p. 1149 (name only), pp. 169-171
Grande Prairie Northern Tribune – August 5, 1943 p. 1 c. 2 (killed in action)
August 12, 1943 p. 4 c. 6, ( correction: wounded)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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