The Leader

Major James A. De Lancey, M.C. †
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionDeLancey

Previously reported Missing, believed Killed, now Killed in Action. While leading his Battalion in the attack on Vimy Ridge and just as he reached the enemy second line, he was instantly killed by a bullet through the head.

(Circumstances of Death, 9 Apr 1917)

A civil engineer and graduate of McGill University, James Arnold DeLancey was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia on 15 July 1880. He originally enlisted in A. G. Vincent’s 40th Battalion before joining the 25th as adjutant. In the absence of Lieutenant Colonel D. S. Bauld, command fell to DeLancey to led the battalion over the top at Vimy Ridge.

On the eve of the battle on 8 April 1917, DeLancey held an officers’ meeting to explain the plan of attack. One lieutenant recalled that the major had stressed:

…even if only one man was left alive the objective must be taken and held and unless the position was serious no calls for help were to be sent to other units but that the 25th must carry out the task allotted to them.

DeLancey was struck down by machine gun fire on 9 April 1917, while leading the battalion over the top. Major Arthur O. Blois assumed temporary command of the 25th until the end of the battle.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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