Captain James Phillip Crawford was born on 30 April 1885 in Toronto, son of the Hon. Thomas Crawford, M.L.A. (and one-time Speaker of the House), and Isabella Fyfe. He attended Given St Public School and Harbord Collegiate Institute before studying at Trinity College, University of Toronto where he received his MA. Crawford then received a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Before enlisting he was working at the law firm of Erickson, Brown and Crawford.
His WWI attestation papers indicate he served in The Queen’s Own Rifles prior to enlisting with the 166th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on 14 January 1916 as a Lieutenant.
On 29 March 1916, he married Annie Laurie Bell in Carleton, Ontario. On this occasion, his fellow officers presented him with a silver tray which is now in the Museum’s collection.
By the time the Battalion went overseas in mid-October 1916, Crawford had been promoted to Major.
In East Sandling, he was instructing and doing court martial work because of his legal background. Since this wasn’t what he joined up for, he took a demotion in rank to Lieutenant in joined the 3rd Battalion in France. He was wounded in the cheek, shoulder, hand, and ankle on 20 September 1917 near Lens, and spent six months in Aberdeen recovering.
On 20 August 1918, Crawford returned to the 3rd Battalion in France where he was promoted to Captain. He was killed in action on 27 September 1918 and the circumstances of his death card states:
“Was in charge of a Lewis Gun crew, in a row of gun pits. Leaving the pits. during an attack, he started forward and was wounded in the abdomen. He continued on for another 100 yards, then lay down. Immediate attention was given but he died on the way to the dressing station.”
Crawford is buried in Sains-Les-Marquion British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, Grave Reference: I. B. 2.