PRIVATE SAMSON FREDERICK JAMES
2ND SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 39
BURIED: QUEBEC CEMETERY, CHERISY, FRANCE
"And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. ... And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
St Luke Chapter 23 v 32-42
Christ's words provide the evidence that his death will save mankind from the consequences of its sin - 'To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise'. If this is to be true of the malefactor being crucified beside Christ then it must be true for everyone. Private James' mother chose her son's inscription, finding comfort in the reassurance of these words.
Samson Frederick James was the son of Thomas and Ellen James of 23 Chestnut Street, Worcester, England. He enlisted in the Canadian Infantry in July 1917 giving his address as, 662 Lexington Avenue, New York and his occupation as valet. He left Canada on 3 February 1918 and after several more months training in Britain joined the 14th Battalion, the Royal Montreal Regiment, in France on 14 August.
Two weeks later, the battalion took part in a major operation to capture the Drocourt-Queant Line. Pages 238 to 243 of the regimental history give the details of the operation: two days of endurance and bravery, enemy treachery and enemy magnanimity, which resulted in the loss of thirty-seven officers and 260 other ranks. Many of these casualties would have died had Major EE Graham, Chaplain of the 13th Battalion, not taken command of the German prisoners, who were surrendering in large numbers, and used them to carry casualties to the rear.
The cemetery where Private James is buried was used by fighting units, which suggests that he was not among the wounded but was killed in action.