Although the Canadian Expeditionary Force suffered over 59,000 deaths over the course of World War One, despite popular opinion, not all of these deaths were as a result of the hostilities. A significant number were due to disease such as influenza and tuberculosis. Some were from accidents, drowning and suicides. Most of the remaining deaths from warfare came in major battles in which Canadians participated: 2nd Ypres; The Somme; Mount Sorrel; Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the Final 100 Days. However a significant number were killed in the day-to-day maintenance and manning of the front line trenches for which the CEF were responsible at any given time. So when a single Victory medal recently became available very reasonably for Private Thomas Armstrong Steer, #404210, 3rd Battalion, I snapped it up. Private Steer was listed as being Killed In Action on April 28, 1917, a day on which the 3rd Battalion were not doing much of anything near Farbus Woods south of Vimy village.
According to Battle Royal, D.J. Godspeed, Toronto, 1962:
The Toronto Regiment had only an inactive part in this attack (referring to a British attack on the Scarpe and the 1st Canadian division on their left attacking the Arleux Loop), as it happened the 2nd Brigade captured all its objectives smartly and on time. The Regiment however did provide three officers and 135 men as stretcher parties to evacuate the 2nd Brigade's wounded. Later on the afternoon of the 28th, the Germans heavily shelled "B" and "D" Companies along the railway embankment, killing Major C.E. Cooper and one soldier (Private Steer), and wounding Lieutenant W.C. Bush and two privates. Lieutenant Bush died the following morning at No.30 Casualty Clearing Station at Aubigny.
|Thanks to Marika Pirie for contributing this clipping|
|Attesation Paper Thomas Steer|
|Major Charles Edwon Cooper|
|3rd (Toronto) Battalion War Diary entry for April 28, 1917|