Major James W. Houlden CD

Major J. W. "Jim" Houlden CD msc was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1904. He served in the Queen's University C.O.T.C. (Canadian Officer Training Corps) and then with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada. He was their representative on the Canadian Bisley Team in 1926 and 1927.

He graduated with a degree in Engineering from Queen's University, Kington, Ontario in 1928 and was employed by the Canadian Ingersoll-Rand Company.

In 1928 he joined "C" Compnay, The Sherbrooke Regiment as a private. He was Commissioned as a Lieutenant in The Sherbroke Regiment on 1 June 1928.

He was a member of the Canadian Bisley Teams in 1929 and 1932 and won the Canadian King's Medal for Champion Shot in 1932 and 1934.

In 1933 he passed the Militia Staff Course (msc) and wsa adjutant from Feb 1932 - 2 December 1934. He was promoted Major, in The Sherbrooke Regiment 2 October 1934 and left the regiment in 1935.

He then went to work for the Ammunition Division of Canadian Industries Limited. He joined the Royal Montreal Regiment during the Second World War but was released to work on ammunition research as the Chief Ballistician of Defence Industries Limited for the duration of the war.

He was awarded the CD after 1960.

He qualified for the Canadian Bisley Team on 12 occasions and made the trip 5 times.

He died on 19 November1994.


The following is an obituary which appeared in the Journal of the National Rifle Association (UK), Spring 1995 Number 1, Volume LXXIV page39.


Major James W Houlden (SM)

Jim Houlden passed away, on the 19th November at the ripe old age of 90 and so Canada lost one of its all-time great marksmen.

Born in Hamilton, he started shooting as a Cadet at Hamilton Central collegiate, later joining the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in order to qualify for the competitions at Bisley.

In 1927 he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen's University, in which year he was also part of the Guard of Honour, at the Canadian diamond Jubilee Celebrations, at Westminster Abbey.

After University, he worked for the Ingersoll-Rand Corporation until 1935 from which time he worked for the CIL (Ammunition Division) laboratories, specialising in ballistics and small arms research, until his retirement as head of the department.

Jim came to Bisley, as a member of the Canadian Team, on several occasions and won the silver medal in 1932, having previously been in the 100 in 1926 and 1929. He was an accomplished shot with handguns, shotguns, small-bore and full-bore rifles, SR(a) and SR(b), holding the King's Medal for the Best Shot in the Canadian Army, won in 1932 and 1934.

In 1935 he married his wife Rita and they remained together until she died in 1989. One highlight of Jim's shooting career came in 1965 when, as Commandant of the Canadian team, they both met HM the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and honoured by the City of Burlingon, in 1984, for national achievements.

Jim was recognised as a ballistics expert, testifying at murder trials and inquests relating to deaths by firearms. An accomplished lecturer and writer, he contributed much towards shooting, with expertise accumulated from his 60 years competitive career and technical knowledge.

Besides his accomplishments, he will ever be remembered for his ready humour and kindly gestures. Jim was a gentleman in every sense of the word.