James Harvey Bates was the third of six children born on 1 August 1920 to Carlyle and Blanche nee Atkinson Bates. At a very early age his family moved to Stewiacke East where Carlyle was a farmer and Blanche was a busy homemaker. Upon receiving a grade 10 education, James drove a truck for a few years, worked on the railroad and then worked as a carpenter’s helper, learning the trade. In 1941, he married Margaret MacKay in Truro and on 21 August 1942 they had their first child, a daughter they named Shirley.
Soon after, James went to Halifax to join the Army enlisting on 24 November 1942. He took his Basic Training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Advance Training in Kentville, Nova Scotia. He was then transferred to New Glasgow where he was given a bricklaying course awaiting orders to be sent overseas. On September 6, 1943, James boarded a ship in Halifax (possibly the Queen Mary, but this cannot be confirmed). They were gone for a day and a half when a submarine was spotted and they were sent back to Halifax until they got the all clear.
James was wounded at Caen on July 18, 1944 and was sent to England to recover. About two months later he was sent back into action. He went overseas with the West Nova Scotia Regiment but when he went back he was transferred to the Engineers, the 9th Field Squadron, where he drove a Half Truck. The Squadron built bridges at the front.
James stayed with the Engineers until three weeks before the war was over when he was shell shocked and found himself back in the hospital.
In early February 1946 James arrived back home and was released from the military “end of demobilization”. He was awarded the 1939-45 Star France & Germany and the Canadian Voluntary Service Medal & Clasp.
He returned to civilian life working at carpentry until he opened his own business, retiring in 1984. James and Margaret went on to raise a total of six children, and now have 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. James is a permanent resident at The Mira, a long term care facility in Truro, Nova Scotia.
On May 7, 1946 James joined The Royal Canadian Legion. In 1976 he was awarded a Certificate of Merit and the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 1988. He is a Life Member of Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26 in Truro, Nova Scotia.