Ernest James (Jim) Candy was born on October 11, 1877, Frilsham, Berkshire, England. He was employed as a locomotive fireman with the CPR. Before coming to Canada, he had four years of militia experience with the Berks Yeomanry.
Jim Candy had a brother, Edgar Percy and a sister, Alice, also living in Revelstoke. In August of 1914, Ernest was a witness to the marriage of his sister to Arthur C. James. The wedding took place at Jim’s home on Second Street.
Ernest James Candy enlisted with the First Contingent of Canadian Volunteers September 18, 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec, the assembly point for the Canadian Army. His regimental number was 16986. He was 36 years of age, 5’7 ½” tall, single, with dark hair and blue eyes. His religious affiliation was Anglican and his name is inscribed on the St. Peter’s Memorial Chancel. Jim’s brother Edgar also served overseas.
The First Contingent arrived in England in October 1914 and spent the winter on the Salisbury Plains undergoing further training. This experience was, by all accounts, a wet, cold and muddy rite of endurance.
Ernest James was a survivor of the Second Battle of Ypres, the baptism by fire of the Canadian Army in World War One. The Revelstoke Mail-Herald printed a letter from R.A. Reid n their May 29, 1915 edition that mentions the heroics of Mr. Candy. Mr. Reid was a member of the first contingent. On the fourth day of the Battle of Ypres he said that their regiment could only muster 70 men out of 1100 and only four of the Revelstoke bunch were on deck: G.D. Hamilton, W. Cowling, J. Candy and himself. He said that some of the men were overcome by gas. R.A. Reid wrote: “That gas was a terrible experience for all of us and one that I don’t want to go through again. It was a cinch for the Germans to advance on us when we were lying in the trenches writhing and choking. We had to fall back to keep from getting surrounded. I was hit with a piece of shrapnel in the middle of the day and lay there until dark when Jim Candy and Cowling and two other fellows carried me on a stretcher for about two miles to a dressing station.”
Ernest James Candy died on June 3, 1916 during the battle for Mount Sorrel. He was 38 years old. At the time of his death he was a Corporal in the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment). His body was never located or identified and his name is now memorialized on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial. His name is on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.