Pte. Jack Price, a member of the 54th Kootenay Battalion, was the first Coleman man to give up his life in defence of his country. He was killed in action somewhere in France on May 7, 1916, at the age of 39.
Jack was born in the north of Ireland and came to Canada when he was eight years old. His people settled in Nova Scotia, where Jack remained until about 1906, when he came to Coleman. He was employed in the mines until the outbreak of the war.
He enlisted for active service with the 54th Kootenay Battalion in Fernie, B.C., on May 13, 1915, and served with his battalion a few days less than one year.
Jack was one of the first English-speaking married men from Coleman to enlist. That he took this step from a sheer sense of duty was clearly indicated by a conversation he had with a local professional man a few days after he signed on.
“What on earth possessed you, a man with a large family, to enlist, Jack?” was the query put to him by this man.
“Well, I’ll tell you. If we married men wait here for some of these unmarried men to go first, we are going to lose this war.”
So, he followed the path of duty as he saw it, and the shock which the news of his death must have brought to his wife and family here may have been softened, to some extent, by the knowledge that if any man was ever entitled to have it said of him, Jack Price would certainly be remembered by all who knew him as a man who did his duty for his country.
He was survived by his wife and a young family of six children.
Jack Price is buried in Chester Farm Cemetery in Belgium along with 87 Canadian soldiers, 306 from the United Kingdom, 21 from Australia and four German prisoners. Another five soldiers from the U.K. and one from Canada are commemorated as buried, or believed to be buried, in the cemetery, although the graves cannot be found.
Pte. Jack Price made the supreme sacrifice — he made it for us all.