Search This Blog


Friday, July 10, 2015


Toronto's Prospect Cemetery has appeared in one form or another in a number of posts in this blog. The cemetery has also played an integral part in my wife's Father's Alexander Family. For it was here that provided employment for Lynn's Grandfather, Aaron Alexander, after he emigrated in the late 1920's from Castleblayney,Ireland at the age of 57 with 7 children. He found a job as a gardener in the grounds while the family moved into a house on nearby Ashburnham Road. We as well have a connection to Prospect through the Rt Rev Sydney E. Lambert. Rev. Lambert was an honorary Lt.-Col. from the Great War. He lost a leg on Vimy Ridge while acting as Captain Chaplain for the 50th Battalion. He when on- post war to found the War Amps. However by the 1930 he was posted to a United Church in the neighbourhood of Prospect cemetery and got to know Prospect gardener Aaron Alexander, from services at Prospect. So when my wife's parent were married in 1939, it was only natural to enlist the services of Rev. Lambert.
Cross of Sacrifice, Prospect Cemetery
The  cemetery is far more that a burial place. It is a place of beauty, a record of local history, a place of quiet and of interest - a place for the living with over 150 species of trees planted by the owners, Toronto Trust Cemeteries.  In short, an ideal location for the final resting burial place for war veterans. Prospect Cemetery was established in 1890 (14 years after larger Mount Pleasant Cemetery). Extending north from St. Clair Avenue, it consisted of the 106 acre Shields Family farm, the farmhouse and outbuildings.Although extending all the way north to Eglinton Ave., it wasn't until 1939 that the grounds were opened that far north. An American, Joseph Earnshaw painstakingly laid out the grounds in 1889 and generally his plan has been followed in the intervening years. With the advent of World War I came the need of a place to honour Canada's war dead. In late 1917, The Veteran's Burial Plot, a section set aside solely for the burial of Canadian and Commonwealth veterans of the First World War, was developed by Prospect Cemetery. When it opened the cemetery had no intersecting roads, however in the intervening years, both Rogers Road and Kitchener Avenue were built to intersect the cemetery grounds which today is divided into 3 distinct sections. 
Section 17, CWGC Graves prior to late 1917, Prospect
Until the Veteran's Section was opened late 1917, all war burials were either buried in existing family plots or more likely in open plots in the existing active cemetery section being used for indigent burials, usually Section 17. This section now is where we find most early World War I burials. A most distinctive burial ground in its own right, the Veteran's Section is an integral part of Prospect Cemetery. The five-acre oval plot was set aside initially to provide a fitting burial ground for those who returned from the horrors of the war - wounded, gassed or shell-shocked. Discussions took place during the winter of 1916-17, between the Trustees of the Toronto General Burying Grounds and representative of the Great War Veterans Association (G.W.V.A.) and a report presented  by the Superintendent of Prospect Cemetery, P.D. Clark, was favourably received. It was believed that only in this way a dignified burial could be assured for all Toronto veterans. It would also ensure that each grave be given uniform treatment, and would simplify the holding of Memorial Services, the decoration of graves and the considerate staging of military funerals, which require ample space. Following a meeting held on May 23, 1917, in City Hall, attended by representatives of many civic organizations, these approvals were given approval. The plot contains 5,258 graves, each identified with a simple flat mounted marker of durable Canadian granite, containing a brief description. 
A flat mounted Canadian granite marker in Prospect Cemetery
The distinguished architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, A.R.A., whose work included the parliament buildings in India, designed the elegant cruciform Cross of Sacrifice, which was officially sanctioned by the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission.Each year, as has been the customs since 1928, there is an annual Remembrance Service in Prospect Cemetery ,lead by member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Earlscourt Branch 65. To my knowledge, there is no realistic court of war veterans buried in Prospect Cemetery. Additional area on the east perimeter of the Veteran's Section in sections 1 and 10 has been opened up. Of course many thousands of veterans are buried in family plots, with or without notification of their veterans status on the headstones. Today, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, meaning deaths during or as a results of war, show a total of 642 war graves in various sections of the cemetery. Of this amount, 396 are show to be World War I burials or attributable to the war - from Abernethy, William #294387 to Yule, Patrick #3040905. There are soldiers buried in Prospect of every rank and three Victoria Cross winners: Colin Fraser Barron, 3rd Battalion; Walter Leigh Rayfield, 7th Battalion; George Richardson, 34th Regiment, British Army 1859.

Lt. Col. Sydney Lambert, War Amps

During the First World War, Toronto was the headquarters of Military District No 2 and the city contained 15 military hospitals with almost 3,500 beds. During the Second World War, No 2 Vocational Training School was posted to Toronto and the Royal Norwegian Air Force had a training camp there.Toronto (Prospect) Cemetery contains 394 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, many of them in the veterans plot in Section 7, where there is also a Cross of Sacrifice dedicated to all war casualties buried in the cemetery. Of the 248 Second World War burials, some are in the naval and military plot in Section 1, the rest are scattered.

Colin Fraser Barron

Colin Fraser Barron was born on 20 September 1893 in Baldavie, Scotland. He came to Canada in 1910 and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1914. Corporal Barron earned the Victoria Cross on 6 November 1917 near Passchendaele in Belgium while serving with the 3rd Infantry Battalion, CEF. His unit’s objective was to take a pillbox containing three machine guns at Goudberg Spur since the fortification blocked the line of advance. Taking a Lewis light machine gun, Barron worked his way around the flank of the German position. Alone, he opened fire at point-blank range and rushed the machine guns, killing four of the crew and capturing the remainder. Barron then turned one of the captured machine guns on retreating enemy troops, inflicting heavy casualties. His remarkable individual effort enabled his battalion to continue its advance.During the Second World War, Barron served with the Royal Regiment of Canada in Iceland and England. He died in Toronto, Ontario on 15 August 1958 and is buried in Prospect Cemetery, Section 7.

“For conspicuous bravery when in attack his unit was held up by three machine-guns. Corpl. Barron opened on them from a flank at point-blank range, rushed the enemy guns single-handed, killed four of the crew, and captured the remainder. He then, with remarkable initiative and skill, turned one of the captured guns on the retiring enemy, causing them severe casualties.
The remarkable dash and determination displayed by this N.C.O. in rushing the guns produced far-reaching results, and enabled the advance to be continued.”
(London Gazette, no.30471, 11 January 1918) 

Much of the historical information in this post came from a booklet The Hertitage and Natural Features of Prospect Cemetery - A Walking Guide, Joan Miles & Pleasance Crawford. Photos from CWGC, Find-A-Grave, Al Lloyd, and Bob Richardson. I would be remiss not to mention the work of fellow CEF Study Group forum member Marika Pirie, who has photographed most of the WWI gravestones in Prospect Cemetery and where appropriate has submitted them to the Veteran Affairs Virtual Memorial database.

Friday, April 17, 2015



The Valour of the 7th Battalion
If the Canadian Battle of Festubert in May, 1915 was a small, insignificant affair, then the action at Givenchy in June was hardly worth mentioning. Yet if you were to ask any of the 3rd Battalion participants what they remember I suspect most will reveal that that was there most brutal and intense fighting of the war.
Duck's Bill , near Givenchy, 1919
 This battle was the final act of British command that started at Neuve Chapelle and ended with defeats at Aubers Ridge and Festubert. Three Divisions were originally scheduled for the battle however in reality only seven battalions (including one Canadian, 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion) took part. With the Canadian Division remaining in the Bethune area after the Battle of Festubert, they were asked to move a few miles south to the La Bassee Canal and the village of Givenchy. The 1st Battalion held the right flank. Unlike Festubert, where the deadly German machine guns neutralized the British attacks before they started, on this occasion heavy artillery was used to eliminate the machine nests located on the parapets. As well a mine was set by Engineers to blow at Zero hour (5:45 pm, June 15) under the German line. From a Canadian perspective, the attack went well despite the mine blowing up short with heavy casualties. The German strong point H.3 was captured and some men made it across Duck's Bill into the German trench with a Victoria Cross being captured by Lt. Frederick Campbell. However the units on the flanks were not so successfully with the 1st Battalion reversing their attack and withdrawing back to the crater, assisted by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions. By 11:00pm, the men of the 1st Battalion were back behind their parapet. They had 386 casualties, 46% of their strength.
List of Brave Volunteers from 7th Bn
Despite the failure, orders were issued by the 1st Canadian Brigade to renew the attack. The 3rd Battalion  attacked 4:45 pm  June 16 after a two hour artillery attack."The attack seemed from every angle one viewed it, as futile and hopeless. The attackers had no supporting fire. They were shot down as they climbed over the parapet. None of them got over 25 yards, except perhaps a few who were trapped in the sap and could nothing but lie low and await a chance to return".

The 3rd Battalion lost 115 men, killed and wounded, at Givenchy. Total Canadian losses for two days fighting were 802, including 306 killed.  British losses totalled 3,009. The nonsense was called off early on the 19th with the 1st Canadian Division heading north to the Ploegsteert Woods area of Belgium. As mentioned, my Grandfather, John Cody, survived this torrid affair. So did Sgt Frederick James Rigby #18082 although he received a "Bomb Wound" of the left eye. Rigby was born 1891 in Newry, Co. down, Ireland immigrating to Canada in 1913 finding employment as a bank clerk in Edmonton. Joining the 101st Regiment militia in Edmonton, he ended up in the 3rd Battalion when the 9th Battalion was broken up in February in England for reinforcements. Although Sgt Rigby recovered physically from the wound suffered on June 16, his never recovered emotionally and ended up in being transferred to No. 1 Field Butchery, CASC by the end of 1915. He served with this unit through the war moving through the ranks from Private to Sergeant.  However early in 1919 Rigby was caught stealing tobacco, cigarettes and lighters from Government stores. He was sentenced by Field General Court Martial to #1 Field Punishment with penalty 20 days incarceration and loss of rank to Private. No doubt this lack of discretion was due to what we know as  shell shock or  Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) from fighting in the front line of three intense battles. Frederick was discharged in Vancouver May 1919 dying single there in 1976 at the age of 85. I own his three medals (Victory, BWM, 1914-15 Star).
Pte Frank Potter #9478, 3rd Bn  KIA 16/06/1915
After the battle, as in all intense battles, bodies were left on the battleground as it was much too dangerous to remove the dead and wounded from the active battlefield. The same German machine guns and accurate artillery that were reasonable for the disappointing defeat at Givenchy and H.2, H.3 meant the casualties remained where they laid.  However on June 18, occurred an amazing and brave deed by the 7th (British Columbia) Battalion commanded at the time by Lt-Col Victor W. Odlum took place. I will let the 7th Battalion War Diary explain the situation:
Givenchy, Duck's Bill and the Red Dragon Crater, 1915
 June 17 - Marched from 5:30 AM from Oblinghem to Givenchy. Took over trenches from 2nd Batt. Found several dead bodies in trenches and buried them behind. Warm.

June 18 - After Artillery preparation, made feint demonstration of attack towards H.2. When enemy manned parapet, and opened fire, artillery recommended and enemy suffered many casualties.Time 2:45 AM. Many of our shells fell short in our own trenches destroying 1 machine and wounding 2 men. Day hot. At night volunteer party under Lieut G. Brooks brought in bodies of 52 men of 1st Brigade from in front of trenches at Ducks Bill. Buried them behind parapet. Lieut H.H. Owen brought in 1 wounded man who had been out between lines 2 days. Lieut R.F.E. Buscombe killed in early morning of 18th while burying 1st Brigade dead. Collected arms discarded by 1st Brigade.
The dead of the 1st Brigade buried
in Red Dragon Crater by the brave
men of the 7th Bn June 18

O/C 7th Bn.

Dear Col. Odlum
I want to let you know how much I appreciate the gallant conduct of your Officers + men last night in bringing in + burying so many of the 1st Brigade AAA Please tell your brave fellows that it was a brave deed + impress upon them that the 2nd Brigade will never have a wounded man unsuccessfully recovered or the dead unburied if it be written the power of mortal man to do otherwise.

C.W. Currie, Brigadier
2nd Inf. Batt. 5:00pm         

Some of the 1st Brigade men moved in 1925
 from Red Dragon Crater to Cabaret Rouge Cemetery
So this was the brave action by the men of the 7th Battalion. We also see that the men responsible for blowing the mine on June 15 were the 1st Field Coy, Canadian Engineers. Their War Diary states the sappers were resident in trenches, while the 1st Brigade were attacking H.2, H.3 and Duck's Bill. However the Engineers faced disaster as well as Capt Morrison was killed by shellfire, 9 O.R. (sappers) of 1st Coy were killed while 9 were wounded. During battlefield clearances by Exhumation teams after the war, the mass grave with the 52 men buried by the 7th Battalion was discovered. Although the majority of the 52 men had been identified during the original burial along with plot numbers, the reburial in 1925 in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery was not so successful at identifying the remains. Only a handful of 2nd and 3rd Battalion men were identified. The remaining were buried as "Soldiers of the Great War" and had their names added to the Vimy Memorial.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Major Frederick Amy, 5th CFA 1944
Much has been written on the Canadians involvement in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the first time use of chlorine gas in modern warfare and the horrendous loss of life until it was officially over May 4, 1915. However very little has been written about the subsequent battles of Festubert and Givency in May and June 1914, both of which were equally brutal and  man consuming. The 1st Brigade was first reinforced  by the few 1st Contingent men from their own battalions left in England and in the Canadian Depot in France. However by the end of April with some battalions at something approaching half strength, the 2nd Contingent reinforcement battalions were considered sufficiently trained being sent to France as front line reinforcements. Consequently the 3rd Battalion received a draft of 9th Battalion reinforcements in March/April as well as 4 officers and 296 men from the 23rd Battalion. (including my own grandfather, Cpl. John Cody #63207, on May 3, 1915. The 4th Battalion, on April 29, received a large draft of 15 officers and 523 men, most of whom were a draft from the 11th and 23rd Battalions. as the 1st Division was again called to the offence  in Festubert on May 15, it it easy to see that the battalions of the 1st Division,  had only a couple of weeks to train and integrate. Lance Corporal Raulin Amy, Jr # 63057 was one of the young men from the 23rd Battalion to join the 4th Battalion in the field. He was to be killed in action on May 31, 1915.

ThE Battle of Festubert May, 1915 (Thanks to Richard Laughton)
The Battle of Festubert was actually a continuation of other British battles in 1915. There were no trenches - only machine gun fortified breastworks composed of sandbags, no geographical features save drainage canals with the town and battlefield under observation from the Aubers Ridge. North and east of the town ran the German line which consisted of a strengthened position known as the Quadrilateral, a fortified farm Ferme du Bois and a Orchard. Commonwealth troops launched the attack May 15 with some ground being captured. However the Germans remained strong with a second assault made May involving the 3rd Canadian Brigade. Without going into details, repeated attacks n German strong points over following days, were unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, principally lack of intense artillery support and faulty communication.May 20 saw the Canadian 16th and 15th Battalions attack  successfully taking the Orchard and North Breastwork with a huge loss of life. Next day the 5th and 10th Battalions attacked German positions being turned back after initial success again with huge losses. Dissatisfied with the results, 1st Army Commander, Sir Douglas Haig, took charge requesting the 1st Canadian Brigade to attack on May24. The 2nd Battalion were instructed to attack and secure the strong position known as K.5 once again while the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion was instructed to consolidate and launch attacks from the position known as the Orchard..
When the attack was launched some men of the 3rd Battalion, supported by the 4th Battalion, did break into the German Line, but they were cut off and killed or taken prisoner. As the 3rd Battalion attacked from the Orchard, the 5th and 7th Battalions launched a determined assault on the South Breastwork, and finally after 30 minutes of fighting K.5 was in their hands again with heavy losses. The next day (May 25) dismounted Canadian Cavalry of the Lord Stathcona's Horse, made an attempt to take a bit more of the South Breastwork, but were unable to push the line forward.
Finally on May 25, 1915 the Battle of Festubert was called off. For a gain of two km the British Army had lost 14,500 men, killed, wounded and missing. Canadian losses were 2,468, including 661 dead. Norm Christie, Other Canadian Battlefields of the Great War, CEF Books, 2007.
However the Canadians, principally the 3rd Battalion and the 4th Battalion under the 3rd's command, remained on the from line until being relieved by the Gordon Highlanders on the morning of June 1 still suffering casualties until the last hours. L/Cpl Amy of the 4th Battalion was the final Canadian casualty of the battle. 
L/Cpl Raulin Amy #63057  KIA May 31, 1915
Raulin Amy, Jr. was the single son of a well-known Quebec accountant. Raulin Amy Sr. first shows up in the 1881 Census for Bonaventure, Quebec as an eighteen year old rooming house resident, native of Jersey, Channel Isles. The family name continues to this day and can be traced back to the 1300's in Jersey. Apparently he had immigrated about 1881. He and 20 year old Maltilda Clarke married in 1888 in Anglican Church, New Carlisle, Quebec. By the 1891 Census the couple has two daughters Beatrice and Elizabeth, living in St. Alexis, Quebec.. By 1901, the growing family is living in Quebec City, Montcalm Ward consisting of Raulin Sr, wife Maltilde, daughters Lillian 12, Beatrice 10, Else 9, Julia 6, Clara 2 and sons Raulin 8 and Michol 4. By 1921, the family was living at 39 Dartigny Street, St. Jean Baptiste, Quebec City and had added Winter 16, Ernest 15, Herbert 13 and Frederick 9 to their growing family. They ended up with thirteen children. Raulin Amy Sr. died 1950 in Quebec City. It appears the Maltilde died in 1912 during or after giving birth to Frederick Keith. Major Frederick Keith Amy was killed in Holland October 29, 1944 while serving with the Canadian 5th Canadian Field Artillery and is buried in Bergen-Op-Zoom Canada War Cemetery.

The area around Festubert 1919
Late 1914, Raulin Amy Jr. was a fast rising clerk in the Saguenay Paper Company when the 23rd Battalion was finishing its recruitment after moving from Montreal to Quebec City, preparing for departure to England. He enlisted November 16 as a Lance/Corporal age 21 years, He was a physical presence at almost 6 feet tall although had no previous military experience. He embarked with the battalion on the S. S Missanabie  February 17 for England landing at Bristol March 7. The battalion were immediately sent to Shorncliffe Camp, Moore Barracks where they received a few weeks training prior to landing in the trenches of 1st Division units. So this is how young Raulin Amy found himself at the front lines of France with the 4th (Central Ontario) Battalion on May 31, 1915.

The last notation in Amy's service record Casualty Sheet simply states "Killed - No particulars - 1/6/15". However an addendum was added by a person unknown as follows, almost in answer to questions being asked:

Aug 3.
This man was instantly killed at Festubert on the night of May 31, 1915 by a shell which exploded in his trench. He was buried in the part of the line known as the Orchard. The location on (comb.sheets 36aSE, 36SW, 36bNE, 36NW) is S.21.d.8.3.. Not known if a cross has been erected. 
The Canadian Orchard in 2015. Where is Raulin Amy?

L/Cpl Raulin's name is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, strangely with a death date of June 1, 1915. There is a campsite situated exactly on the site that Amy was reported to have been buried. It is not known at this point if his body was ever recovered but seems quite plausible as the area remained in British hands until the great German advance of March 1918. Sergeant Martin Thomas Lyons #63550 was killed the same day possibly by the same trench shell. I presently own L/Cpl Amy's three World War One medals.


Monday, January 12, 2015


Private William Howard Curtis, MM, #18933, 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion
2nd Canadian Cemetery, Sunken Road, Contalmaison, Somme, France 
At the last meeting of the Central Ontario Western Front Association (COBWFA) this fall in Hamilton, our president, Glenn Kerr, mentioned that the association had adopted a small cemetery in the Somme named 2nd Canadian Cemetery, Sunken Road, along with the soldiers buried within. Glenn went on to state that he has visited the small cemetery and as it is a bit off the beaten track, it gets few visitors. Thinking it was a great idea, when I got home that afternoon, I went online with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found both the cemetery and the list of
casualties buried therein. Just as Glenn had stated, the cemetery contains the graves of 44 men, all soldiers that had served with the 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion and that had fallen  sometime during the Battle of the Somme namely between  01/09/1916 and 13/10/1916. Glenn had suggested that each one of our members select a soldier to profile. Not wanting to be the lame duck in the selection process, I scanned the list of soldiers to see if anyone stood out.  At once my eyes were directed to the five men that had original 2nd Battalion service numbers as well as the three men that were listed with 9th Battalion service numbers. I had never researched either the 2nd Battalion or any of the original men from the 2nd but I have had some familiarity with the 9th Battalion as a 1st Contingent battalion raised by Edmonton’s 101st Regiment that was broken up in England to supply reinforcements for the 1st Brigade prior to the departure of the 1st Division to France in February 1915. I have in my collection several medal groupings from 9th Battalion fellows and researched them and the history of the 9th Battalion, all who had joined the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion.  Once I decided on on a 9th Battalion man, I noticed that one had as his next of kin, family in Peterborough, ON.  As we have family in and around Peterborough and have spent considerable time in the pretty city, including in the Armoury, my decision was made.  I choose Private William Howard Curtis, #18933, a 22 year old painter, who claimed some previous military experience with Peterborough’s 57th (Peterborough Rangers) Regiment militia unit.  He had been killed in action October 8, 1916. How or why he enlisted with Edmonton’s 101st Regiment’s draft to Valcartier in the 1st Contingent August 1914 was still to be determined. It was only after my message to Glenn to “stake my claim” to this man, that I notice the initials “MM” after his name meaning that Private Curtis at some point had been awarded the Military Medal for an act of valour.
So in the next week or so, my research started. Obtaining his attestation paper from  Library and Archives online database of Soldiers of World War One is paramount as well as obtaining the man’s service record from the same source. As LAC is in the process of digitalizing all 600,000 or so records from the war and because they are doing it alphabetically, I was hopeful.  They are into the C’s. However as of today, the record is not online. Next I checked for military records, family sources such as census and birth records, family trees, photographs and anything else that may be of interest. I found his Military Medal citation, Circumstances of Death and Burial Details. As well both 1901 and 1911 Censuses listing several Curtis families living in close proximity Peterborough East, Otonobee Township. His father George was named as “a brick maker”.  Private Curtis has a page on Marc Leroux’s  Canadian Great War Project and the Veteran Affairs Canada Virtual War Memorial however neither location held any new research items.  On a hunch I Googled George Curtis, brick maker and Peterborough. Lo and behold a number of hits spring up. It seems there were three Curtis brothers that had emigrated from the south of England late in the 19th Century and founded Curtis Brothers Brickmakers  on the outskirts of Peterborough. They established a pit which apparently the remains can still be seen. As well there is a Curtis Street nearby and I suspect that Alf Curtis Home Improvements, a large lumber/hardware enterprise in East Peterborough is related in some way to our Curtis family. 
However my greatest surprise came from a Google hit from Archives Canada. ca. It pointed me to a  page titled “William Howard Curtis fonds” which consisted of  letters written home by Howard Curtis during World War 1, a transcript of these letters (85 pages total)and a studio portrait of William Howard Curtis, son of George Curtis and Juliet Snelgrove, Peterborough, Ontario,. Curtis is wearing a uniform of a soldier and the studio backdrop shows a bell tent and an army camp. Apparently the fonds were acquired by Archives Canada in 1987 from Mrs. Eunice Cole, London Ontario, who was Howard’s sister and to whom a number of the letters were sent. The letters are dated from December 6, 1914 Salisbury Plain to July 13, 1916 with a couple incomplete or undated. I ordered a copy of the letters, transcripts and photograph however did not receive the transcripts. No problem as wife Lynn and I completed our own transcripts.
William Howard Curtis was attested into “G” Company of the 9th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, in Valcartier Camp, on September 21, 1914. Apparently he was part of the large draft from Edmonton’s 101 Regiment (Edmonton Fusiliers) that headed eastward when war was declared August 1914. Further details are to be found here:
When war broke out in 1914, Lieut.-Col. F, A. Osborne, then in command of. the Regiment, wired the Minister of National Defence and offered the services of the Regiment if required. The Offer was accepted on August 6th and mobilization began at once. In less than a week, the battalion was up to full war strength and on August 20th no more recruits could be accepted as the Battalion was 200 over strength - having recruited 1,358 All Ranks, the largest number raised by any Unit in Canada. The 101st Regiment Edmonton Fus1liers was the first unit in the West to mobilize and the first unit in Canada to raise a complete battalion for Active Service. 
On August 28th, 22 days after mobilization, the. battalion left for Valcartier where it became the 9th Battalion, C.E.F. After a short but strenuous training period, the unit embarked from Qu├ębec on the S. S. Zeeland on October 3rd and arrived at Plymouth on October l8th, disembarking at Davenport on the 20th. From there it went to Salisbury Plain for intensive training, living under canvas. After four months, the 1st Canadian Division was formed consisting of three brigades of all arms, and a fourth brigade was formed to be held in reserve and supply reinforcements. It fell to the lot of the l01st Regiment Edmonton Fusiliers or 9th Battalion, C.E.F. as it now was, to be included in this Brigade. Consequently, the battalion never fought in France as a unit. About 500 men were drafted to the 1st Brigade, including the 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion, to replace casualties and the remainder went to Shornecliff, Kent. After the second battle of Ypres, in which the 1st Canadian Division suffered heavy losses from gas, every available man was sent to France to fill up gaps. From then until the end of the war, the 9th Bn CEF trained re-enforcements for Divisions in the field. Original members of the Regiment served on nearly all fronts including Palestine, Mesopotamia, Northern Persia, France, Belgium, Archangel and the last long march to the Rhine. During the Great War, one VC, two DSO's, three MC's, six DCM's, 11 MID's and one OBE. were won by members of the Regiment. The Victoria Cross was awarded to Capt. J. Turner. Foreign decorations won included the Russian Cross of St. George and Order of' St. Stanislaus by Lieut. Col. P. Anderson, the French Medaille d'Honneur by Lt. Col. H. B. Jamieson and the Russian Cross of St. George by Capt R. Woods.

So our Private Howard Curtis now (March 31, 2015) now has his service record online. We can now account for his movements on arriving in England. On 7/02/1515 he was drafted to the 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion proceeding to France with that unit 8/02/15. Fighting with the 2nd Battalion through 2nd Ypres and Festubert, Howard suffered a slight hand wound 16/6/15 at Givency. On the 24th of that month he was treated for Influenza. We next find Howard receiving a gun shot wound in the back 24/10/15 while his unit was serving in Ploegstreert Woods area, being treated in England, returning to duty 24/03/16. Again on 14/04/16 Private Curtis received a gun shot wound left lower leg returning to duty in the field 14/05/16. By October 1916 the Canadian Corps was solidly entrenched in the Somme near Courcelette. It was here when on October 8, 1916, Private Howard Curtis, while employed in his battalion's machine gun section, was killed in action. The final posing to Howard's casualty sheet has him being award the Military Medal for actions of valor at the Somme.

Coincidentally, while researching my next blog on L/Cpl Raulin Amy, I consulted Dr. Andrew Iarocci's landmark work Shoestring Soldiers, The 1st Division At War, 1914-1915 for details regarding the Battle of Festubert in 1915. There on page 222, Andrew has quoted Howard Curtis from one of his aforementioned letters to his mother in Peterborough, ON regarding the actions at Festubert.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


This story was authored some time ago. I have also written a blog that was written some time ago on the same topic, if it seems a bit familiar. No apologies - I believe it bears repeating and may contain some new information. The links, at this point, are dormant.

The Forgotten Boys of Fenelon Falls 

Pte. Kelly’s Attestation Paper is readily available on the Library and Archives Canada website here.  It was here I noticed that Kelly was one of a minority of Canadian-born soldiers to voluntarily enlist in the fledgling Canadian Expeditionary Force’s 1st Contingent forming in Valcartier, Quebec early in the war August, 1914. (only about 30% were Canadian-born, the vast majority almost 66% were of British origin). Furthermore, the man was not a native of the Toronto environs but his birthplace of this 19 year old was listed as Fenelon Falls, Ontario. He shows on the form as serving one year with the 10th Royal Grenadiers, a Toronto, Pre-world War I militia regiment, meaning that he had probably been living in Toronto for over a year to maintaining employment as a “gas light inspector”.  
When war was declared by the Canadian  Government on August 4, 1914, a call when out from Lindsay native, Minister of Militia Sir Sam Hughes to all 226 Canadian militia regiments to recruit members for the forming Canadian Expeditionary force. Regiments from across Canada recruited members who then traveled to the new camp being developed at Valcartier, a few miles north of Quebec City. The 3rd (Toronto) Battalion was being formed at Valcartier from Toronto regiments, specifically the 2nd Queens Own Rifles, the 10th Royal Grenadiers and the Governor General’s Body Guard. Young Stanley Kelly was one of the Royal Grenadiers members who had heeded the call to arms and climbed on the train leaving for Valcartier. The 3rd Battalion’s command was given to Toronto businessman and Queen’s Own Rifles Major, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Rennie (Rennie’s Seeds, Toronto). The 3rd Battalion was positioned in the 1st (Ontario) Brigade of the forming 1st Canadian Division, headed by Toronto Lawyer, Lieutenant-Colonel M.S. Mercer, also of the Queen’s Own Rifles. This brigade also included: the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion; 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion; and the 4th (Central Ontario) Battalion. 
Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France
From his enlistment into the C.E.F. at Valcartier on September 22, 1914, the story of Pte. Stanley Kelly is essentially the story of the 3rd Battalion and the 1st Canadian Division. Initially he was assigned to “G” Company in Valcartier however after arrival in England and the reorganization of the 1st Division and the four battalions into efficient four-company units, Pte. Kelly was assigned to “C” Company. They traveled “en masse” from Quebec to Plymouth, England in a convoy of 32 ships and 20,000 men, disembarking on October 19, 1914. The winter of 1914-15 saw the C.E.F. train on wet Salisbury Plain. During the 123 days from the middle of October to the middle of February, it rained on 89 days with the total precipitation at 24 inches, or double the yearly average. The 3rd Battalion moved by rail to Avonmouth on February 8 and reached France on February 11. The Canadian Division took over a three-and-a-half-mile section of the line on March 1, 1915 from the British 7th Division north of Aubers village for their first time in action, near Armentieres. The 3rd Battalion remained in Brigade reserve until March 5 and the next day were under fire for the first time, with two men being killed by shrapnel shells and two more succumbing to wounds. They were: Privates Leslie Bowman, 9764 (age 18); John Comrie, 18028; James Croft, 9426; and George Shea, 9743, all buried within Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France.
Our Pte. Kelly was assigned to “D” Company commanded by Captain George Crowther Ryerson and in a platoon commanded by Lieutenant J.K. Cronyn, both scions of famous Canadian families. Captain Ryerson was to soon lose his life in the first Gas Attack – April 23, 1915 at the Battle of 2nd Ypres, in which the 3rd Battalion and specifically “C” and “D” companies suffered horrendous losses. Lieutenant Cronyn was severely wounded in the same battle. Pte. Kelly seems to have survived this infamous battle unscathed – one of the few! However, Stanley was not so lucky a few weeks later when the 3rd Battalion again were thrust into battle at the Battle of Festubert, May 15-25, 1915, part of the British action against the Germans entrenched on the Aubers Ridge. Although the battle had supposedly ended on May 25, the 3rd Battalion were according to their War Diary in trenches in Festubert continuously from May 23 until May 27 with severe German artillery bombardments each day. It was here on May 27 Pte. Kelly was “buried in a trench” as a result of a shell burst. He suffered “shock” and was sent to the Divisional rest station. The dead of the 3rd Battalion on May 27 included Lt. A.G. Eddis, Pte. E. Cooper #9653, Pte. M. Lightheart #63563, Pte. W. Scales #63793, Pte. H. Wand #63906, and Pte. A. Gunning #10034. Canadian losses in this battle were 2,468 including 661 dead. It appears Pte. Kelly participated a few weeks later in the Second Battle of Givency, June 15th-16th, 1915 when the 3rd Battalion lost 115 men, killed and wounded. The War Diaries for the 3rd Battalion are located here. My grandfather, Cpl. John Cody #63207 also survived these battles as a member of the 3rd Battalion, only to be captured by the Germans on October 30, 1915 spending the remainder of the war as a German Prisoner of War. 

On October 25, 1915, Pte Kelly was sent to Moore Barracks Hospital, Shorncliffe January, 1917 and  Bearwood Hospital February, 1917 where it appears he spent the balance of the war. He was treated for Influenza in November, 1918 at Bushy Park hospital and for Pneumonia while at Ramsgate in 1916.

Pte. Stanley Kelly was sent to the Discharge Center in Rhyl,Wales February 2, 1919 and returned to Canada from England in the Spring of 1919. He was discharged from the Canadian Army in Toronto on June 5, 1919 as “medically unfit”. 

From the Kelly Family Tree Book at the Fenelon Falls Library 

“Charles Kelly (1862-1934): a Blacksmith in Fenelon Falls, ON, married Lizzie B. McKillan. His first wife died in 1890 and Charles married Jane Fry and had four children born between 1892 and 1899: 1. Livingstone “Charles” Kelly; 2. Irene E. Kelly; 3. John “Stanley” Kelly; 4. Alice “Marie” Kelly. The names of the three eldest children are set out on the headstone with their parents in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery, Fenelon Falls, Ontario. The 1901 Census records Charles, a Blacksmith, residing in Fenelon Falls with his wife Jane and children L. Charles age 8, I Liz age 7, S. John age 5 and Mary age 2. John Stanley Kelly served in the army in World War I, signing the attestation paper on September 22, 1914. He died in 1981 and is buried with his parents in Fenelon Falls Cemetery”.

Although there are numerous photos of other branches of the large Kelly family, unfortunately there are no pictures as yet to be found of any members of his family.  
The authors of the book are as follows: Ruth (Kelly) Taylor – address and telephone given are out-dated and Marlene (Kelly) Gilchrist,, 25 Fitton Heights, Orillia,ON L3V 4M7 (705) 329-2552 address and telephone still current according to the Internet – not sure about Internet address, this information is four years old. 

There is in the Maryboro Lodge The Fenelon Falls Museum, an invoice on Charles Kelly’s stationary dated January 10, 1895, to William Abbott, owner of the Maryboro Lodge, for a total of $5.65 for services rendered. Charles Kelly was Stanley’s father and the village General Blacksmith. The family lived on Francis Street West, according to the 1901 census. 

There is a brown, wooden framed, brush metal plaque  in a showcase within the Fenelon Falls Legion, with few names of World War I Fenelon Falls soldiers. Jackie Walter believes the plaque may have come from the basement of Red Rock School or Blythe School. Pte. Stanley Kelly is the first name listed on the plaque. The other names on the plaque are: Lieutenant Norval Bucknam, MM; Captain G.C. Graham; Private Richard Lodge; Private F.B. Varcoe; Private Thomas MacDiarmid; Private W.R. Hopkins; 2nd Lt. V.A. Stewart; Private A.R. Rutherford and Private M.A. Campbell, MM. 
Stanley Kelly never married and apparently spent his entire life after the war in Fenelon Falls. His parents were Charles Kelly and Charles 2nd wife, Jane Fry. Born in Victoria County July 27, 1897 as John Stanley Kelly. There is an article undated in the Fenelon Falls Gazette circa 1915 “Pte. S.J. Kelly wounded. Mr. Charles Kelly on Tuesday of this week received news that Pte. S.J. Kelly was wounded”.
Stanley Kelly died in Fenelon Falls in 1981 at the age of 84. He lied about his age on joining the 3rd Battalion giving his year of birth as 1895 however all official records record his year of birth as 1897. He is buried with his sister, Irene, his brother Livingston Charles, his father, Charles Kelly and the two wives of his father, in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery family plot, with a substantial gravestone. 
Others Soldiers from Fenelon falls, as named by Jackie Walter, include: Pte. James A. McDiarmid #725562; Pte. Richard Lodge #3036438; Pte. John Menzies #725581; Pte. John Joseph Jones #725619; L/Cpl Lawrence Irwin #725531; Pte. David Lyle #724724237; Pte. Russell G. Heard #725599; and Pte. Lewis E. Taylor #725540. 

Most of these soldiers enlisted in the 109th (Victoria & Haliburton) Battalion, based in Lindsay, ON. This Battalion embarked Canada from the Port of Halifax on July 23, 1916 on the S.S. Olympic (sister ship to the Titanic). Several were transferred in England to the 21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion, serving in the front lines in France and being wounded in the war.  

Mrs. Jackie Walter, an executive with the Fenelon Falls Legion and town historian, has kindly helped me with the profile on Pte. Stanley J. Kelly, as well as supplying me with the names of other men who may possibly be buried in the town cemetery.

Saturday, November 29, 2014



The Boys of the 3rd Battalion who made the Supreme Sacrifice

With the recent release of the fine book, OLD ENOUGH TO FIGHT, Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War, Dan Black and John Boileau, Lorimer & Co. Toronto, 2013, I was prompted to research and document some of the boy soldiers that enlisted, made it to the front lines and were killed while in the service of the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion. It was not my intention to investigate the reasons behind the soldiers enlisting or the methods used in reached the trenches of France and Belgium. Rather I simply wanted to acknowledge the contributions made by these young men in making the supreme sacrifice. As my research over the years has introduced me to a number of young men that also survived the war, I decided to include some of these boys as well. I am not for a moment suggesting that the following soldiers represent the only under aged soldiers to serve in the 3rd Battalion. However I am acquainted with each one of these young men be the either by the act of photographing his headstone, possessing his medals at some point of time, or having read about their service during the course of research at some point in the past. The young men that perished are listed
in chronological order while the ones that survived the war are to found found in alphabetical order.The age range for enrolment in the CEF was 18-45. This was consistent with King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia (1910) para 243. However, KR&O 1910 para 246 also allowed boys of good character to enlist in the militia from 14-17 (or in special cases 13) as bandsmen, trumpeters, buglers or drummers with the consent of their parents or guardians. Since militia officers or units did most of the recruiting, I can understand why minors would be enlisted. Men could not be sent overseas from England unless they were 19 years old or 18 1/2 in 1918. This was a British policy which applied to CEF units in England. Canadian regulations were finally harmonized with the British policy in 1918. A Young Soldiers' Battalion was established in 1916 to hold minors until they were 19 although others were held by the CAMC Training Depot. In February 1917, the 5th Division had over 900 juveniles on strength. To some extent these were theoretical limitations. The degree to which they were followed depended on the unit and how closely the draft was checked before leaving for the continent. Desmond Morton in his book "When Your Number's Up" noted the youngest soldier was ten years old when he enlisted. Unfortunately, he did not provide a source or a name. The youngest verified enlistment that I know of was 258572 William Henry Hugh Hutchinson (also Hutchison) who was born 15 January 1904 and enlisted in the 211th Battalion 23 June 1916. A medical board

Barnardo's House, 1908, 214 Farley Ave., Toronto
recommended 1 December 1916 that he be discharged as underage but he managed to make his way to England and then to France where he served nine months with the 8th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops before his mother (and the CEF) caught up to him. Hutchinson later served with the Canadian Garrison Regiment in 1919. He died in Vancouver 23 November 1969. There are a number of claims regarding underage soldiers who died during the First War, but most of these claims cannot be confirmed. A case in point is 282721 Private W.H. Shortliffe who died 2 September 1918. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he was 14 when he died. However, his attestation paper states that he was born in January 1894, a date consistent with information from the 1911 Census. This may be the man referred to in a TV program. According to the CWGC registers, there were 385 soldiers aged 15-17 who died during the First World War: age 15 (14) age 16 (75) and age 17 (296). Since most CWGC entries do not provide age on death, there were probably many more - perhaps as many as a thousand. If 18 year olds are included, then the total is 1,412. A problem with this topic is the definition of 'underage'. King's Regulations for the Canadian Militia allowed boys as young as 13 to enlist with the consent of their parent or guardian. However, reinforcements could not be posted to France from England until they were 19 (changed in 18 1/2 in the spring of 1918). Thus a man could be of age in Canada but underage the moment he set foot in England. Enlistment ages also conflicted with the school leaving age which in Ontario, for example, was 14 at which point the child was free to enter the work force. If the factory, why not the CEF? The policy regarding minors took some time be developed, but from July 1917 onwards, all boys under 17 were returned to Canada, those aged 17 to 18 1/2 were posted to the Boys Battalion at Bexhill and those who were 18 1/2 were retained by reserve battalions until they reached the age of 19. Evidently, this issue became a problem in France when requests were made to send back men who were claimed to be underage. I have seen a return from the 34th Boys Battalion in December 1916 that reported 803 juveniles on strength with seven under the age of 14.
" Evidently, this issue became a problem in France when requests were made to send back men who were claimed to be underage. This is a snippet from the Diary of the Canadian Section of the 3rd Echelon at General Headquarters:
Valley Military Cemetery, Vis-rn-Artois, France
"Canadian Section G.H.Q.3/Rd Echelon
1917 August 7
In future the date of birth shown on the Attestation paper will govern,
and the necessary action to withdraw the minor from the firing line will be taken
only on production of documentary evidence in one of the following forms :
i. Birth Certificate.
ii. Sworn declaration by parents before a Notary Public.
iii. The Declaration of a Clergyman or a Priest before a responsible
If the boy is shown to be under eighteen years of age he is to be

returned to England. - If between the ages of 18 and 19 to be sent to an
Army School. On attaining the age of nineteen to be sent to his Base
Depot to rejoin Unit."
The narrative above was a compilation taken from the CEF Study Group Forum threads on underage soldiers authored for the most part by Western graduate student, Richard Holt or “stonetown”. I have included this because I felt it best explains the legalities of the enlisting of young Canadian soldiers.Despite the forgoing age restrictions and limitation, Tim Cook, World War One historian at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, estimates that out of the 424,589 who served overseas in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, as many as twenty thousand underage soldiers made it to Europe, and another several thousand never got to leave Canada. Boy soldiers have been fighting for various causes since the beginning of time. Indeed they (as well as girl soldiers) are still fighting. I believe their reason for enlisting or trying to enlist may have origins different than from those who enlisted of legal age. I think that perhaps “peer pressure” may have played an important part, like the fellows that enlisted from the community of Humber Bay. Humber Bay was a very small community situated in south-east Etobicoke, north of the Lakeshore in today’s City of Toronto, being primarily settled about 1900. Most of the settlers from England were gardeners and farmers that cultivated and divided small plots of land into market gardens raising and selling vegetables and flowers. The children all went to the same school and grew up together as “family”. Thus we have friends in the Reeves Brothers, Arnold Winger and Walter Riches all trying to enlist about the same time. Of course a sense of adventure and a chance to earn a working man’s pay were motivations as well. However it is doubtful a sense of moral obligation to the home country and family, as their fathers may have had. The Barnardo organization and other organizations like Fegan Boys, in England, were active in sending boys and girls to Canada, who were disadvantaged, orphaned, work house and work school tenants. Many worked long and hard hours and were not treated well on the farms they were sent to across Canada. Many enlisted to esccape the hard conditions.
Ploegsteert Woods Military Cemetery, Flanders
It is said the the Barnardo boys sent 6211 to the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Some 531 were killed in action, including young Privates William Edward Tricker and Sidney Currie, in the 3rd Battalion. When the 3rd Battalion was form at Camp Valcartier in September, 1914, most of the draughts from the Queen’s Own Rifles, 10th Royal Grenadiers and the Governor Generals Body Guards were comprised of veteran militia men, many with years experience either in Canada or the United Kingdom. Thus few could be considered “underage”. I found a number of these fellows were eighteen at the time of enlistment but were either weeded out in England or “of age” by the time they served in the trenches. That does not mean there were not any, only that I didn’t locate any. However underage recruits began to arrive as soon as the first major reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion arrived at the front lines on May 5, 1915, from the 23rd Battalion and soon after, from Toronto’s 35th Battalion.
The topic of Boy soldiers has been researched in great detail, both in Britain and here in Canada. As a result a great new book was recently published: OLD ENOUGH TO FIGHT, Canada’s Boy Soldiers With the First World War, Dan Black & John Boileau, James Lorimer & Co, Toronto, 1913.
The following young men, with the exception of the final five, lost their lives while fighting with the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion, CEF in the trenches of France and Belgium. The majority of the attestation papers do not have the correct birth year. I have checked both censuses and birth records to ascertain the correct age. When a soldier was killed, I show the age at death. Otherwise age at enlistment is shown.  The last five either fought with the “Dirty Third” or, in the case of Cedric Reeves, had a brother and friend that were killed in the 3rd Battalion. Private Stephenson is included because I knew of him and his original attempt to enlist in the 234th (Peel) Battalion which fed a substantial draft to the 3rd Battalion, including Privates William Tricker and old friend from Passchendaele, Sydney Churchward.
Private Sidney Currie, 63199 – Born August 7, 1897 in Camberwell, London, England to parents Oswald and Elizabeth Currie. Oswald was a “Pianist” in the 1901 Census, living at 78 Harris Street, Camberwell. They also had children Charles Lee (10), Malcolm (7), Grace (6) as well as Sidney (3). That same year, Sidney and older sister, Grace, at shown as students in Southampton Street School, ending 1903. In 1903, we see Sidney Currie and his older brother, Malcolm sent to Canada as member of a group of 194 youths Barnardo Children on the S.S. Dominion Liverpool to Quebec, destined for Barnardo Homes in Toronto. No record of either boy until Sidney enlists in Montreal’s 23rd Battalion, November 27, 1914. He listed his birth year as 1895 and occupation as “labourer”. Sidney was included as one of 237 reinforcements from the 23rd Battalion in England sent to the 3rd Battalion (along with my Grandfather John Cody #63207) arriving May 3, 1915 as they were in reserve outside of Ypres. Died of wounds July 3, 1915 at No. 2 Canadian Field Ambulance and buried in Maple Leaf Cemetery, La Romarin, France. Age 17.

An on-line Inquiry search found:   
I am trying to locate any members of Owald CURRIE's (b.c1867) family He was blind fron the age of 3 due to Scarlet Fever. He went to a Blind School, married in c1893 to Elizabeth ? she was a widow with one child Charles Lee b.c1890. They had 3 children by 1901, Malcolm, Grace and Sydney and there may have been others. Oswald was son of Oswald CURRIE b. c1845, he was a Naval Sailor, his wife was Rach(a)el SHADBOLT. They married in 1865 and by 1861 Rachel was a widow. As well as Oswald they had a daughter Kate b. 1871 who married a Raphael HUDSON. The family all lived in the Camberwell area for most of their lives. Any help to find them or descendants would be gratefully received. Thank-you

Private Arnold Edward Winger, 404241 – Born October 26, 1896 in Jarvis, Ontario. Enlisted April 5, 1915 in the 35th Battalion, Toronto, ON. He listed his mother, Edith Jane (Nash) Winger, as his next of kin. Father was Edward. Occupation listed as a gardener in Humber Bay, ON and an active militia member. At age 18, he stood 5’5”, with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. He had the tattoo of a flag and two hands on his left forearm. Eight scars on the small of his back, He was a Baptist. Private Winger was included in the early 1st Reinforcing Draft 250 men of the 35th Battalion.  They departed from Montreal on June 4, 1915 on S.S. Metagama meaning that Arnold and many of his comrades received only very minimum training after enlisting and sailing for England. Young Private Winger was one of a large draft sent to the 3rd Battalion in the field on July 17, 1915. Arnold was “Killed in Action” September 23, 1915 while in the trenches in Ploegsteert Woods with the 3rd Battalion. Buried in Ploegsteert Woods Military Cemetery. Age 18.
Private Harry Sherman Pope, 457399 – Born July 15, 1900 Smith Falls, Lanark County, Ontario, young Harry was baptised in the Congregational Church, Danville, Quebec in 1903. Father Alfred and mother, Catherine, I believe were Francophone, despite having an Anglo surname. Harry was the older brother to Frederic and Adeline with the family living 2555 Mance Street, Montreal early 1915. Working as a “plumber”, he joined the 60th (Victoria Rifles), “D” Company on June 15, 1915. Private Pope was in the 1st Reinforcing Draft that sailed August 27, 1915 frm Montreal on the S.S. Scandinavian. On arrival at Shorncliffe this draft was absorbed by the 23rd Reserve Battalion on September 6, 1915. Private Pope was then transferred to the 3rd Battalion reaching that unit on December 12, 1915 in the field. His service record states “Killed in Action, bullet in the head, died on reaching Advance dressing Station of No.2 C.F.A.” in the trenches north of Wulverghem January 8, 1916. He is buried in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium.  We can see that the young man spent only 31 days in the service of the 3rd Battalion. Age 15. 
Private Wilfred William Payne, 171670 – According to his attestation papers, Wilfred Payne joined the 83rd (Queen’s Own) Battalion in Toronto April 11, 1915. Although he listed being born in 1897, subsequent investigation (1901 and 1911 Census) has revealed that he was actually born in 1900 in Stourport, England. He immigrated May 1912 to Canada with mother Agnes on the SS Virginian Liverpool/Quebec to join his father showing his age as 12. In the 3rd Battalion attack on Regina Trench, Somme on October 8, 1916, Private Payne was reported as “missing” later to be listed as “killed in action. The Commonwealth War Graves Register states “A careful search near le Sars failed to discover the grave. His name and regt. particulars have been included on a Memorial Cross No. 22 which has been erected in Adanac Military Cemetery Memorial Plot Row B”. His name is also inscribed on the Canadian Vimy Memorial. Age 16.
Private William Harold Burleigh, 172103  Born June 23, 1897 in Palmerston, ON , William Burleigh was living in his Grandparents home with mother Florence and other family member in the 1901 Census in Palmerston. Then Private Burleigh has remained elusive until he show up with his attestation paper on August 21, 1915 in Toronto with the 83rd (Queen’s Own Rifles) Overseas Battalion. He listed his occupation as stenographer, single status, ahe 18 years, 2 months and his mother Florence with an address in Rothsay, ON as his next of kin. The 83rd Battalion departed Halifax on the S.S. Olympic April 28, 1916 and arrived West Sandling Camp, England. (a very early draught of 3 officers and 250 other ranks left Canada September 25, 1915) The battalion was absorbed by the 12th Reserve Battalion with large draughts headed to the 3rd, 4th and 4th CMR Battalions.  A large draught of 83rd soldiers was sent to the 3rd Battalion in the field after their disastrous losses in June 1916 at Mount Sorrel. Private William Harold Burleigh was another young soldier lost by the “Dirty Third” on October 8, 1916 from their attack on Regina Trench, in the Somme. He is one of the few identified and buried within Adanac Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Age 19.
Private Russell Lewis Collingridge, 292182  He was born July 3, 1900 in Guelph, ON to Louis and Margaret Collingridge. There were a number of siblings but only Percy Joseph #285301, 220th Battalion, born in 1899 also enlisted. At some point the family moved to 70 Northcote Avenue, Toronto. Young Russell attested into Toronto’s 95th (Queens Own Rifles) Battalion listing his occupation as a butcher wagon driver and his birth date as July 28, 1995. The 95th Battalion 

embarked on the S.S. Olympic from Halifax for England on May 31, 1916. It had strength of 36 officers and 1061 other ranks. On arrival in Shorncliffe, England the 95th was broken up late June for reinforcements for the 1st, 3rd, 75th and 4th CMR Battalions after the Battle of Mount Sorrel. At some point our Private Collingridge were taken on service with the 3rd Battalion, possibly before his 16th birthday. He was a victim of the 3rd and 4th Battalions’ attack on the Quadrilateral and Regina trenches in the Somme on October 8, 1916. In this battle, the 3rd Battalion lost 13 officers and 326 other ranks out of a total of 15 officers and 481 other ranks. Private Russell Lewis Collingeridge was one of only 31 men, along with fellow under age soldier William Burleigh, whose remains were identified and given an identifiable burial. He was buried in Adanac Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Age 16.

Private William Edward Tricker, 1024315  He was born January 18, 1900 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England to Edgar William and Sarah Elizabeth Tricker. In the 1901 Census, the young family is residing in St. Margaret, Suffolk with William having an older sister, Alice, age 2. However in the 1911 Census, William, age 11, is found as an inmate in the St. John Workhouse and School for Boys and Girls, Ipswich with no mention made of the others in his family. We next find 15 year old William E. Tricker as one of a party of 105 young men on the S.S. Corsican leaving Liverpool destined July 1914 for Barnardo Homes in Toronto, ON. We next find William Edward Tricker enlisting in the 234th (Peel) Overseas Battalion September 6, 1916 in West Toronto’s Ravina Barracks with a service number of 1024315. He lists his address as “Alton, ON” a small rural community south of Orangeville and occupation as “Farmer”. His next of kin, unlike most other Home Children who list their employers, is his mother, Mrs. Tricker of Ipswich, England. This incomplete battalion (279 ranks, 15 officers) embarked from Halifax on the S.S. Scandinavian 

April 18, 1917. On arrival in England they were taken in by the 12th Reserve Battalion April 29, 1917. Without having this man’s service record, I don’t have details of his service until November 6, 1917. On that infamous date he participated with the 3rd Battalion in their attack on Vine Cottage guarding the Goudbery Spur, a location that consisted of a number of concrete German pillboxes with concentrated machine gun fire.  Here a Victoria Cross was awarded to Corporal Colin Barron for his attacks during the attack. The 3rd Battalion suffered a total of 240 casualties during this attack of which 87 were either killed or missing, one of the latter being our young William Tricker, who is thought to possibility be one of several unarmed 3rd Battalion soldiers interred in New British Passchendale Military Cemetery, within a couple of hundred yards from Vine Cottage Farm. I believe he is lying next to ex Toronto policeman Sydney Churchward, also from the 234rd Battalion and the familiar soldier with three gold teeth. Private William Tricker’s name is perpetuated on the Menin Gate Memorial, in Ypres. Age 17.

Private Harry John Barrett, 237647 – Born March 31, 1900 in Peterborough, Huntingshire, England to William and Ellen Barrett. The family are shown in the 1901 Census Living in Fletton, Huntingshire with Harry (1), William (2) and Emily (10) as well as the parents. However in 1905, the entire family immigrated (Toronto Beavers) Battalion, Harry John listed his birth date as 1898, marital status single and working as a labourer. However in 1905 the family immigrated to Canada settling in East Toronto, living at 38 Bastedo Avenue. William Barrett, Sr. Died March 27, 1908 in Toronto. Ellen later remarried to a Mr. Attwood. On attesting into Toronto’s 204th (Toronto Beavers) April 26, 1916, The 204th departed for England on March 28, 1917 from Halifax on the S.S.Saxonia. They were absorbed by the 2nd Reserve Battalion, East Sandling,  on arrival, eventually most of the 204th Battalion ended up in Toronto 3rd or 75th Battalions in France. Private Harry John Barrett was transferred to the 3rd Battalion April 17, 1917. Wounded with a GSW right shoulder July 29, 1917, No. 22 General Hospital. Returned to action August 22, 1917. Treated 41 days May, 1918 for V.D. with loss of pay. Returned to duty June 6, 1918. Private William Barrett was “Killed In Action” August 30, 1918 in the 3rd Battalion’s attack on Orix Trench, near Drury. He is buried in a mass grave in picturesque Valley Cemetery, Vis-en-Artois, France. Age 18.
Private Samuel Harry Chickegian, 2393367 – Little is known about either Samuel Chickegian or his family, other than what is entered on his attestation papers his and service record. Supposedly born April 18, 1899 in Arek, Armenian (present day Turkey), he listed his occupation as “soda dispenser”. It is highly probable he was born much later, possibly in 1903. Height was 5’ 3’, weight was 114 pounds. A naturalized Canadian, It appears he was serving with the Service Battalion, Canadian Defence Force, Toronto’s 48th  Highlanders when he attested June 5, 1917 into the newly formed 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment. He listed his mother, Lucile, as next of kin, living at 128 Alfred Street, Toronto. Father was John. However in subsequent documents in the service file, the family is living in a number of addresses in both St. Catharines and Brantford, ON. On October 18, 1917, Samuel was admitted to Base Hospital, Toronto for removal of a “sebaceous cyst” being discharged October 22. He arrived in England in a draft on the S.S. Scotian December 7, 1917 and was immediately assigned to the 5th Reserve Battalion, Sandling then on February 15, 1918 to the 12th Reserve Battalion in Witley. April 8, 1918 Private Chickegian was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, in the field in France arriving at this unit April 28. There are no other notations in his service file until noted as “Killed In Action” September 2, 1918.  Buried in Ontario British Cemetery, Sains-le-Marquion, France. Age 15.
Under Aged Soldiers From The 3rd Battalion and Others That Survived The War (in alphabetical order):
Francel, Archie                  #851114               16           Born 1901            Born USA. Sent home ex France, disch 1918
Frost, Charles                    #63344                  15           Born 1900            Disch after 1 year, 3 months, Reenlisted
Redman, Russell               #427880               16           Born 1900            Spent most of service being treated for VD
Reeves, Thomas               #136500               18           Born 1899            KIA Brother Cedric Reeves #10069  3rd Bn
Riches, Walter                   #285136               17           Born 1899            Served in France. Humber Bay  
Stephenson, Kenneth      #2499687             18           Born 1900            KIA. Enlisted  #1024446, under wt &  height
Thomas, Sherman            #9255                    17         Born 1897           Mohawk native. Wounded Festubert 1915