April 18, 1917: Private James Doran

Doran James headstone3

Date of Birth: April 23, 1871 at Clydesdale, Antigonish County*

Parents: Mark & Mary (Carroll) Doran

Father’s Occupation: Farmer

Siblings: Brothers Michael, Nicholas and John; sister Mary

Marital Status: Married

Occupation: Expressman

Enlistment: April 21, 1916 at Antigonish, NS

Unit: 193rd Battalion

Service #: 901728

Rank: Private

Previous Military Service: None

Next of Kin: Christina “Christy” Doran, Antigonish, NS (wife)

Date of Death: April 18, 1917 at Antigonish, NS

Final Resting Place: St. Ninian’s Parish Cemetery, Antigonish, NS

* Date of birth obtained from James’ attestation papers. 1881 census records, however, suggest that James was born around 1862, while the 1911 census gives his birth date as April 1864.

James Doran was the oldest of five children born to Mark and Mary (Carroll) Doran of Clydesdale, Antigonish County. James’ father, Mark, was born in Ireland on March 10, 1834 and emigrated to Yankee Grant, Antigonish County, with his parents, Edmund and Bridget (Burke) Doran, sometime after his birth. James’ mother, Mary Carroll, was a native of Nova Scotia.

James worked on the family farm at Clydesdale during his youth, eventually finding employment as an expressman with the Intercolonial Railroad. Sometime after 1901, he relocated to Massachusetts, where he met Christina Ann “Christy” Connors, daughter of Francis “Frank” and Catherine (MacGillivray) Connors, Yankee Grant, Antigonish County. The couple married at Cambridge, MA on December 30, 1907 and returned to North Grant sometime before 1911.

James resumed work with the Intercolonial Railroad, but several years later abandoned his civilian career for military service, enlisting with the 193rd Battalion at Antigonish on April 21, 1916. James gave his year of birth as 1871, under-reporting his age by at least seven years. Despite his “apparent age” of 44, he was accepted into the unit’s ranks and set out for Camp Aldershot for training in late May.

Unfortunately, James’ advanced age eventually resulted in his transfer to No. 6 Military District Special Services Company, Halifax, on September 30. Two weeks later, his former 193rd comrades departed for England aboard SS Olympic. Disappointed at being unable to serve overseas, James returned to Antigonish shortly after his transfer. A military Court of Inquiry held at Halifax on January 23, 1917 officially removed James from the Special Services Company’s ranks. While the Court identified James a “deserter,” military officials took no further action.

One reason for this decision may have been the fact that James had suffered from poor health for several months. He passed away at Antigonish on April 18, 1917. Provincial records identified the cause of death as pneumonia and listed pulmonary tuberculosis as a contributing factor. James was laid to rest in St. Ninian’s Parish Cemetery, Antigonish.

On July 1, 1918, James’ widow, Christy, married Michael Hanifen, son of Daniel and Janet “Jessie” (MacLean) Hanifen, Lochaber, Antigonish County. The couple lived in New Glasgow for several years, but eventually relocated to Detroit, Michigan.

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