CEF Soldier Detail

Private James Begg
Died: October 8, 1916

Regimental Number:
Survived War:
Canadian Infantry
43rd Battalion
Place of Birth:
Kenora, Ontario
Next of Kin:
Jemima Begg, mother, Kenora, Ontario
Address at Enlistment:
Kenora, Ontario
Date of Birth:
April 19, 1895
Trade or Calling:
Marital Status:
Prior Military Experience:
Place of Enlistment:
Kenora, Ontario
Date of Enlistment:
February 29, 1916
Age at enlistment:
5 Feet 10 Inches
38 Inches
4 Inches
Church of England
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Saw service in:
Cause of Death:
Missing, presumed Killed
Battle Died/Wounded:
Regina Trench, The Somme
Date of Death:
October 8, 1916
Age at Death:
Buried at:
no known grave
Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Kenora Cenotaph, Kenora Legion War Memorial, Kenora, Ontario
Prisoner of war:
Ethnic Origin:
Not Specified
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Research Notes

Although James signed his surnames as Beggs on his attestation papers, the family name was Begg. No birth record could be found for James: birth date taken from 1901 Census  Canada Algoma Rat Portage 44 N2-2 Page 5-given on his attestation papers as 19 April 1894 but birth record for sister Hattie shows her birth as 19 October 1893 so James could not have been born in April 1894.

James Begg and his family are listed in the Metis National Council Historical Online Database.

Siblings :

Arthur Begg b 06 August 1892 d 24 October 1893

Hattie Begg b 18 October1893 (m. Carl Battel) d ?

Duncan Begg b 21 July 1897 (m. Rose?) d 16 July 1997

Thomas Begg b 31 December 1899 d 1970 (unmarried)

Margaret Begg b December 1900 (m. Alfred Lavoie) d 1938

Kathleen Begg b 10 February 1903 (m. Arcidas (Phil) Lacombe) d 10 January  1983

Ada Begg b 21 October 1904 (m Lloyd Haney) d October 1967

Doris Begg b17 March 1907(m Arthur Saunders) d 21 January 1976

Wilfred Begg b 01 October 1910 (m. Helen Rioch) d 1985

Ernest Begg b April 1913 (m. Irene Faith) d 27 February 1966

Isabel Begg b 03 October 1915 (unmarried) d 28 January 1975

Census 1901 Data for James Begg

Archival RG.31V. 1250-1251

Rank Regiment Unit Company
Private Canadian Infantry 43rd Battalion
Private Canadian Infantry 94th Battalion

Father of  James (Jake) Begg.

James Rutherford Begg

B.1869 Mapleton, Manitoba P Rat Portage, Ontario D. 02 June 1958

Mother of James (Jake) Begg.

Jemima Begg. (Muggaberg) B Sept 15/1874  D 1947

With Friends R-L James Begg, Alfred Lavoie, unknown, unknown, unknown.

Private James Begg

Local Unit 94th Continues to Grow, Kenora Miner and News, 01 Mar 1916
Kenora Unit 94th Left Thursday, part 1, Kenora Miner and News, 27 May 1916
Kenora Unit 94th Left Thursday, part 2, Kenora Miner and News, 27 May 1916
Five Kenora Men Reported Missing, part 1, Kenora Miner and News, 08 Nov 1916
Five Kenora Men Reported Missing, part 2, Kenora Miner and News, 08 Nov 1916
Reported Missing (from letter from Nichol Finlayson), Kenora Miner and News, 09 Dec 1916
Missing Mention in Death Notice of Private J M Frances, Kenora Miner and News, 20 Jun 1917
Private James Beggs Killed in Action, Kenora Miner and News, 27 Jun 1917
Kenora Cenotaph
Kenora Cenotaph WW1: "Our Heroic Dead Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice"
St Albans Pro Cathedral WW1 Memorial, Kenora
In Memoriam, Kenora Miner and News, 08 Oct 1940

James Begg was the third born child of James and Jemina (Muggaberg) Begg. Originally from Selkirk/St Andrews, Manitoba, the couple had married 27 August 1891 in Rat Portage (later named Kenora), Ontario. Father James had moved to the area in 1888, employed by the Hudson's Bay Company as a bookkeeper at the Northwest Angle. Jemina had moved to Rat Portage with her parents in the mid 1880s. By the 1901 Canada census, the family had grown and included James and Jemina, and children Hattie, James, Duncan, and Thomas. A child Arthur was born 06 August 1892 but had died on 24 October 1893. Father James' occupation was listed as teamster. By the 1911 Canada census, there were new additions to the family, Kathleen, Ada, Doris, Wilfred. Two more children were later born to the family, Ernest in 1913, and Isabel in 1915.

James Begg, known as Jake to family and friends, enlisted in Kenora on 29 February 1916. With other local lads with the 94th Battalion, he left Kenora by train in May 1916, destination Port Arthur, Ontario. "On May 25, 1916, the men of "C" an "D" Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for "Summer Camp" as it was called. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units."

Once overseas, James was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion, and then to the 43rd. A short time later, on 08 October 1916Private James Begg was listed as Missing, Presumed Dead in the attack on Regina Trench, near Courcelette in France. The operation was part of the Battle of the Somme, a five-month long offensive in the summer and fall of 1916 that cost the Canadians 24,000 casualties. The Canadian Corps' assault on Regina Trench started on 1 October 1916 in pouring rain. The Canadians reached the objective but were pushed back by German counter-attacks. After a week's delay due to the rain a second unsuccessful attempt was made on 8 October.

From the War Diary for the 43rd Battalion: In the attack on Regina Trench 8 October 1916 there were 2 officers killed, 2 wounded, 4 missing; other ranks 8 killed, 224 wounded, 120 missing. From James's CEF burial register: "Previously reported missing, now for official purposes presumed to have died." Two other Kenora fellows with the 43rd Battalion, John McKechnie Francis and his nephew David Francis, were reported as missing/killed in action the same day. Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as 'missing, presumed dead' in France. James Begg's name is among them.

James' mother Jemima died in Kenora on 17 August 1947 and his father on 02 June 1958. Both are buried in the family plot in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Over the years his father had worked for Murphy Brothers in Kenora and in later life, farmed in the township of Melick. James' brother Duncan signed his recruitment papers on 10 January 1918 in Port Arthur although his medical was completed in Kenora on 30 November 1917. According to an article in the Port Arthur News Chronicle of 16 February 1918, he had just recently left for overseas; he survived, returning after the war. A cousin, Adolphus Begg of Kenora, also served during WW1 and was reported as Killed in Action on 4 September 1917 while with the 52nd Battalion.

Private James Begg is commemorated on page 52 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, on the Kenora Legion War Memorial, and on a plaque in St Albans Cathedral in Kenora, Ontario.

By Kenora Great War Project