Memorable Manitobans: James Godfrey Somers (1898-1964)
Born at Halcomb, New Brunswick on 25 June 1898, he was working as a bookkeeper when, in 1916, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He served in France and Belgium with the 132nd Battalion and 26th Canadian Infantry. Severely wounded in action, he was discharged in 1919 and, on his return to Canada, took a special course in forestry at the University of New Brunswick. He spent seven years with the Dominion Forestry Branch in northern Saskatchewan, in the Pasquia and Forte a la Corne Reserves.
He joined the Manitoba Department of Mines and Natural Resources in June 1930, when the province gained control over its natural resources from the federal government, and was put in charge of the eastern district (1930-1939) and western district (1939-1943), the latter based at Dauphin. In September 1943, he succeeded Herbert Irving Stevenson as Provincial Forester, serving in the position until retirement in March 1964. During his tenure, the forestry staff was increased, an inventory of Manitoba’s forests was compiled, and parks and recreation areas were developed.
He and wife Dorothy Margaret Simpson (1896-1977) had two children: Jocelyn Somers (1932-1954) and Joseph Douglas Somers (1934-2005).
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“Somers named forestry chief,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 September 1943, page 11.
Obituary, Winnipeg Tribune, 28 October 1964, page 67.
Obituary [Dorothy Simpson Somers], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 1977, page 56.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 June 2021