Nelson, James Quaey: Service no. 53947 (Distinguished Conduct Medal)

Digitized Service Record

Source: Blog comment from family member.


Distinguished Conduct Medal

01 James Nelson DCM
Sergeant James Quaey Nelson courtesy of D. Nelson.
Brother Killed in France PTE Nelson is Eager for Front London Advertiser February 31 1915 Page 1
London Advertiser. March 31, 1915. Page 1.

“My grandfather James Quaey Nelson #53947 won a Distinguished Conduct Medal, which my father has, with the 18th battalion at Flers-Courcelette. He was from Glasgow and moved to the Galt Ont. area in 1912, attesting there on Oct 25 1914 age 25. He was in France from Sept 15 1915 until April 26 1918. Survived the war and went back to Preston Ont., got married and moved to Woodstock where he was a moulder at a foundry there. He passed away in 1953. I have his records from LAC and the war diary pages for his DCM.”

“Recent Awards” Found in The Canadian Machine Gunner magazine. First Issue. Page 13.
War Diary, October 1916, page 10 listing the soldiers and their medals awarded during the 18th Battalion’s service at the Somme.

Distinguished Conduct Medal: Date of Award – September 15, 1916. Date of Citation – October 22, 1916.

Citation For conspicuous gallantry in action. When his officer and NCO had been killed, Private Nelson took charge of his Lewis gun sections and skilfully placed the guns in position in advance of the captured line. He displayed great coolness and courage throughout the operations.

You can’t do history alone. A relative of Sergeant Nelson contacted this blog in response to a soldier’s page created recently and this dialogue has enhanced my understanding of this member of the 18th Battalion. Thanks to Dennis Nelson for forwarding this information. Below is a service summary he created and I have edited it primarily for formatting. This table gives an overview of Sergeant Nelson’s service and his ascent from a Private to Sergeant. The hyperlinks in this document are additions I made to allow readers to find out discovery additional information.

July 3 1890Born at Glasgow Scotland.
July 14 1912Disembarks RMS Grampian at Quebec City from Glasgow.
Oct 25 1914Attested into 18th Battalion at Galt Ontario:


  • age 24 years, 3 months
  • Regimental Number: 53947
  •  Next of kin given as Peter Nelson (father) of 34 Hamilton St.,           Camelon-Falkirk, Scotland
  • Stated as single
  • Previous occupation given as moulder
  • Stated to currently be a member of the active militia with the 29th Waterloo Regiment with brother Peter
  • Presbyterian
March 2 1915Older brother Peter Nelson #7060 1st Battalion CEF. KIA at La Toulette, France.


Second Galt Man Falls in Battle London Advertiser March 23 1915 Page 2
London Advertiser. March 23, 1915. Page 2.

April 18, 1915, Embarked the SS Grampian at Halifax for England with the 18th Battalion. (Same as Pte. Wm. R. Dewar).

April 24, 1915, Disembarked at Avonmouth, England 6:00 am. To West Sandling Camp 3:00 pm.

May 1, 1915, $15.00 pay per month assigned to Mrs. Jessie Nelson 34 Hamilton St, Camelon-Falkirk, Scotland.

Aug 5, 1915, forfeits 4 days’ pay – absent without leave (AWL).

Sept 14, 1915, Left West Sandling for Folkestone 6:00 pm—arrived 7:45 pm. Embarked overseas with “D” Company 9:50 pm. Sept 15, 1915, To Boulogne, France 5:55 am.

Feb 13, 1916, granted 9 days leave for England.

Feb 23, 1916, returned from leave.

March 27, 1916. Reported from base, slightly wounded by shell at Ridgewood. Buried by blast debris, dug out.

April 8, 1916, Jessie Nelson (mother) dies, assigned pay changed to George Nelson (brother) and then possibly changed to another party (George too young possibly?).

Sept 15-22, 1916, Battle of Flers-Courcelette (part of 1st Battle of the Somme).

Sept 19 1916 Appointed Lance Corporal replacing L/Cpl H. Grace 53805 invalided to England. Oct 7, 1916.

Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal at La Vicogne, France (from War Diaries) – London Gazette No. 29824 Nov 14 1916, page second supplement page 70: “For conspicuous gallantry in action. When his officer and N.C.O. had been killed, Pte. Nelson took charge of his Lewis gun sections, and skillfully placed the guns in position in advance of the captured line. He displayed great coolness and courage throughout the operations.”

March 13 1917 Promoted Corporal replacing L/Sgt James Hutchison 403377, promoted.

March 20 1917 Appointed L/Sgt replacing L/Sgt George Stronach 424427, promoted.

April 9-14, 1917, Battle of Vimy Ridge. June 24, 1917, granted 10 days leave to England. July 14, 1917,

Promoted Sergeant replacing Sgt. D Norwood 53948, transferred.

Aug 15-25, 1917, Battle of Hill 70.

Feb 8, 1918, granted 14 days leave to UK. Feb 27, 1918.

Admitted to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance (CFA) with Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (PUO) (high fever).

March 7, 1918, discharged to duty and rejoins 18th Battalion in the field.

March 21- April 5, 1918, 2nd Battle of the Somme.

April 13, 1918, Admitted to No 6 CFA with Sarcoma (jaw) and transferred to Casualty Clearing Station (CCS).

April 14, 1918, Admitted to No 6 General Hospital, Rouen, France. Problem Not Yet Determined (NYD).

April 26, 1918, Transferred to England aboard the Hospital Ship Aberdonian.

April 27, 1918, Taken on strength (TOS) sick, Western Ont. Regimental Depot (WORD) at Witley. April 27, 1918, To 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester (adenitis, neck).

May 31, 1918, Transferred to Quinta, Congleton. May 31, 1918, Father’s address given as 112 Orchard St, Camelon-Falkirk, Scotland.

June 20, 1918, To Military Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom (bed 12?).

Aug 1, 1918, assigned pay stopped.

Aug 9, 1918, Discharged from Mil. Con. Hosp., attached to 2nd Canadian Convalescent Depot (CCD) at Witley

 Aug 9, 1918, Sick furlough.

Aug 21, 1918, Furlough ends.

Oct 14, 1918, Ceases on command to 2nd CCD. Posted to 4th Reserve Battalion at Witley.

Nov 11, 1918, WW1 ends.

Dec 11, 1918, TOS to Military District (MD) II __________   Camp at Rhyl, Wales.

Dec 13, 1918, Attached _________ of MDCW , on command Kinmel Park Camp, Rhyl, Wales pending return to Canada.

Jan 8, 1919, Leaves attached.

Jan 9, 1919, Struck off strength (SOS) 4th Reserve Battalion. Proceeding to Canada. Jan 9, 1919, embarked for Canada aboard HMT Olympic.

Jan 10, 1919, TOS #1 District Depot, London Ont.

Jan 20, 1919, Posted to Casualty Coy and granted furlough with subsistence allowance to Feb 4.

Feb 8, 1919, Discharged on demobilization at London Ont. Address on discharge c/o Tom Campbell, Vine St, Preston, Ont.

1953 Deceased in Woodstock Ont. Approximate age 63

Additional Information Lance Corporal Peter Nelson’s Virtual War Memorial Page

Source: Per post at the 18th Battalion Facebook Group by Dennis Nelson.

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