James Emanuel Hahn

This blog was produced in collaboration with the students and Christine Ritsma of Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, and the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.

By Carter Stock and Cameron Hahn

James Emanuel Hahn was born on 30 July 1888 in New York, New York. His family moved to Kitchener in the early 1900s and started a manufacturing company there. When he came of age, he moved to Stratford, Ontario and quickly began working as a manufacturer at a local company. He lived at 219 Cambria Street and was a member of the Lutheran Church. 

When he enlisted early in the war, he joined the First Battalion and left Canada by boat to Europe in early October 1914. He landed in France with 1st Canadian D.H.Q. as an interpreter. Less than two years later, after joining the 1st Infantry, he was awarded the Military Cross for distinguished service, although the records do not indicate the reason for it. He was promoted to Staff Captain in 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade in May, and he was “mentioned in dispatches” several times in his service record, indicating gallant action in the face of an enemy. But soon after, he was injured by gunshot wounds to the buttocks and was admitted to a hospital in Britain. He was reported seriously injured and had several operations before joining Divisional Headquarters in late 1916.

In October 1919, after he had been discharged from the army, he applied for and was allowed vocational training for one year at the University of Toronto to study law. Hahn moved to 270 Huron St. in Toronto and eventually finished his law degree. Over the course of three years, he also applied for a disability pension but was denied repeatedly as the Board felt that he “ha[d] no pensionable disability.” 

In 1921, he married and later became owner and president of John Inglis Ltd. Company of Canada. He also bought the John Inglis Ltd. and saw the production of over 12,000 Bren Light Machine Guns for the Allied Forces in the Second World War. During that war, Hahn was Director General of Army Technical Development Board of National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. In 1951, he was appointed Special Adviser to the Minister of Defence Production. Four years later, at the age of sixty-three, he died at his summer home in Campbellton, New Brunswick.

To view James Emanuel Hahn’s military service record at Library and Archives Canada, Click Here