My grandmother's older brother, Jim Young, owned a small grocery store at the corner of 22nd and Slocan in Vancouver. The store was a one-man operation, so when war broke out in 1914 Jim didn't enlist voluntarily -- and anyway, everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas!
In fact, the war dragged on ... through 1915, 1916 and 1917. Soldiers were dying in the hundreds of thousands. New recruits were desperately needed.
To remedy the shortage, in August 1917 Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden introduced the Military Service Act, making it compulsory to serve.
Jim was "called up" and he enlisted on January 10, 1918.
In February 1918 he travelled by train from Vancouver to Halifax, then by ship to England. He joined his battalion in France in August 1918, just in time to participate in some of the last great battles of the war.
Jim Young was killed on the morning of September 27, 1918 during the Canal du Nord operation, six weeks before the war ended. He's buried 20 kilometers west of Arras, near the village of Sains-les-Marquion.