By close margin

Here’s one last posting from the September 26 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, about a family that came perilously close to dying of asphyxiation.

The “too long, didn’t read” for this article: James Blackley, despite being so badly gassed during World War I that he could no longer work, managed to stagger next door to summon help from his neighbour. This saved his family’s lives.

I looked James Blackley up in the Toronto city directories, since I’m morbid that way. The Streets section of the 1933 directory listed James C. Blackley and his father-in-law, James Ridley, at 80 Kingsmount Park Road. They had recently moved in, as the 1932 directory lists the address as vacant.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Blackley moved straight back out again: the 1934 directory lists him at 53 Norwood. (James Ridley is not listed there; I’m not sure what happened to him.) The 1936 and 1939 directories list him at 49 Enderby Road.

I didn’t find him in the 1940 and 1941 directories, but the 1945 directory lists a James C. Blackley at 4 Norwood Terrace. This might be someone else, or he might have lived to the end of the Second World War despite being disabled by gas in the first one. Either way, he qualifies as a hero.

I couldn’t find any references to either of the children (Donald and Bernice) in the directories. There is an F. Donald Blackley in the 1940 and 1945 directories (in the latter, he was listed as on active service), but this isn’t likely the same Donald as in this article, as he would have been 16 in 1940.

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