Purvis, James Edward

Regimental Number: M563028 & M104355
Rank: Gunner

James, born in 1918 in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland, was the oldest son of William John Purves and Sarah McSorley. William Purves was a widower with two sons; William Jr. and George. Sarah and William had eight more children; John (Jock), Margaret Jane (who passed away), Agnes (Nan), and Henry were born in Scotland, and after the family immigrated to Canada, twin boys who passed away, Robert (Bob) and Mark were born.

When the family emigrated from Scotland, they departed May 7, 1926 from Glasgow, on a boat called the Metagama, which was a Canadian Pacific Railway steamship that frequently sailed between Scotland and Eastern Canada and arrived at the port in Montreal on May 16, 1926. They travelled by train across Canada to reach the Peace River District where they bought land by means of a loan through the Soldier Settlement Board in an area of Bezanson known as the Kleskun Hills. James attended the East Kleskun School.

On January 10, 1941, James enrolled with the Non-Permanent Active Militia (NPAM) for 30 days of training at Grande Prairie. On July 17, 1942, James received a notice of call # N7562 with the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) and reported to the Training Centre at Grande Prairie. He remained there until October 1, 1942. On October 2, 1942, James enlisted with the Army at Grande Prairie. He was transferred to the Eastern Passage on November 11, 1942 followed by Halifax on February 2, 1943. He embarked for the UK and arrived at Bedford, England on April 5, 1943 and taken on strength with the Canadian Army Reinforcement Unit (CARU). On October 26, 1943, Jim embarked for Italy and arrived on November 8, 1943. James was transferred to France with the 11th Field Regiment and arrived on February 22, 1945. In May 1945, he volunteered for the Pacific Theatre of War. James was emplaned at NWE and disemplaned in the UK on June 14, 1945 and then on to Canada arriving on September 11, 1945. Gunner James Edward Purvis served in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Central Mediterranean Area and Continental Europe and received the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp. He was discharged on demobilization on October 27, 1945 at Calgary.

Once discharged, Jim returned home to the family farm and worked for farmers in the area. He married Marjorie (Jean) Housman at Dawson Creek in 1948. James rented his parents’ home-place and the young couple settled in and began farming on their own. They subsequently bought a farm from Jack McKenzie at Teepee Creek by means of a loan through the Veterans’ Loan Act. A son Dennis was born in 1951 followed by a daughter, Marylene in 1960. Jean suffered a heart attack in July and was sent to Edmonton for surgery. Dennis and Marylene stayed with their aunt, Agnes Fraser. As Jean was still in hospital, James decided to move his family to Edmonton. Jim found employment with Kingsway Legion where he was an active member. On December 16, 1966, the family was coming home on a bus from a Christmas concert. As they stepped off the bus, a speeding car hit Jim who was carrying Marylene. He died instantly and the force of the accident threw Marylene onto the hood. The vehicle sped away and Marylene slid off a few blocks away. She was unconscious for 2-3 days but had no side effects. Jean had another heart attack and never fully recovered. She passed away in 1973. Dennis married and his three children. Marylene went to live with her Aunt and Uncle, Ena Mae and Waldo Francis at Canyon Creek after her mother died. She graduated from Kinuso High School in 1978 and is working for KinMerc Oil and Gas Company in Kinuso in 2022.

James and Marjory were buried at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Edmonton.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Wagon Trails Grown Over
Smoky River to Grande Prairie
Lorna Purves – niece
Service File
Marylene Purvis – daughter John Fraser – nephew