James Wilbur DexterUnit:Canadian Infantry Division:219th Battalion/85th Battalion (Manitoba Regiment)Service Number:283456Rank:PrivateDate of Birth:April 6, 1894 Place of Birth:Quinnan, Yarmouth Co., N.S.Date of Enlistment:April 17, 1916Place of Enlistment:Yarmouth, N.S.Age at Enlistment:22Height: 5 feet, 8 inchesPrevious Military Involvement:29th Battery, CFA, Yarmouth N.S.Trade:FarmerMartial Status:SingleReligion:BaptistNext of Kin:(Father) Harry E. Dexter, East Breton, Yarmouth Co., N.S.James (Jim) Wilbur Dexter was 22 when he enlisted with the 219th Battalion at Yarmouth, N.S. He departed for overseas in October, 1915 and was transferred to the 85th Battalion in March 1916. His platoon was gassed while in the area near Angres and he was hospitalized, dying there on June 15th, 1916.At the end of World War I, his father received the following letter:Date of Death:June 15, 1917 Cemetery:Villers Station Cemetery (Pas de Calais, France) (X. C. 11.)Commemorated on Page 227 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on May 21Sources:Commonwealth War Grave CommissionVeterans Affairs Canada “A Monument Speaks” A Thurston 1989 (pp 127-128) (Letter)
Hamond Vale,Kings Co., New BrunswickNovember 25, 1918To the next of kin of Pte. J. W. Dexter, son of Harry Dexter,East Breton, Yarmouth Co., N.S.Mr Dear FriendTrusting you won’t think it rude or forward of me in writing these few lines. I will do as I have often been on the verge of doing for months.First in explanation I must say that I was Jim’s comrade and chum in France. We were both scouts and were always together. We fought together, we rested together, we ate together and we slept together. Needless to say under the trying circumstances we were the most intimate of friends and the truest of pals, Even yet I long for the companionship of one so true who lived so nobly and died so gloriously.I know in your sorrow you must feel proud of him.I could never find the courage to write to you before because I knew that it would only deepen your sorrow and it’s something I wish to avoid ... saying or doing anything that would cause pain to those who sorrow so I trust that these few lines will bear the message to you that I sorrow with you.I was gassed by the same shell that Jim was, only not near so badly and I was with him until almost the last. When the stretcher bearers took him out of the trenches for the trip to hospital he was unconscious. He was brave to the last and died with the spirit of fight until the wrongs done to Christianity and humanity were redressed. The most glorious death a man can die it is and I always feel that my very best pal has only gone a while before me and that when I also shall pass through the valley of the shadow which is the only way to Heaven I shall meet with him and understand why God has ordained that the one should be taken and the other left. ...I was wounded in the lung August 2, 1917 and invalided home May 16, 1918 and I have been asked so many times by sorrowing relatives for particulars of the last moments of their loved ones I thought perhaps I would do you a kindness in writing you. If I have failed I’m extremely sorry and hope you will pardon the intrusion. If I have not made myself clear and could do you a favor by answering your questions I’d be glad to do so.Trusting I have not intruded upon your griefI remain, Your sympatheticallyHartley E, Scott.