|Captain Edward John Vessey, 60th Battalion|
|Richard Raikes M.D., O.B.E. and wife, Lucy,|
St. James Anglican Cemetery, Penetanguishine, ON
The 60th (Victoria Rifles of Canada) was the second C.E.F. Battalion formed by this prestigious regiment, the first being the 24th Battalion serving in the 2nd Canadian Division. The 60th sent an early reinforcement draft of 250 men August 27,1916 with the main body sailing from Montreal on the S.S. Scandinavian November 6, 1916. This reinforcement draft may well as contributed to the ultimate demise of the battalion as after valiantly fighting within the 9th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, on April 30, 1917 the unit was disbanded supposedly for lack of "French speaking" reinforcements from Montreal. A bit strange as the 60th, Battalion for the most part, were composed entirely of English speaking personnel.
And so Captain Vessey accompanied the 60th Battalion when they entered France February 21, 1916. He was Captain of "D" Company. According to the profiles contained in The Bank of Montreal's Memorial of the Great War 1914-1918, A Record of Service, "at Hooge, Belgium (Battle of Mount Sorrel, June 2-14, 1916) , on June 3, 1916, his battalion was heavily shelled and suffered many casualties.(after relieving the P.P.C.L.I.) Orders came to reduce the garrison in the front line and to move into a communication trench nearby. He had just completed the removal of his men when he was instantly killed by an enemy machine-gun bullet" early morning June 4. Captain Edward John Vessey was buried in the Menin Road South Military Cemetery, located outside of Ypres, Belgium. There is a photo collection relating to the Captain on the Veterans Affairs Canada Virtual Memory website. His medals (British War medal, Victory medal), Memorial Plaque and Scroll were sent to his "foster-brother" Campbell Dyce Raikes in Oro Township. No Memorial Cross was issued as he was unmarried and his mother had "predeceased" him.
Interestingly, Edward's adopted uncle, Richard Raikes, CAMC, enlisted September 22, 1914 Valcartier as the Medical Officer of the 4th Battalion, serving through much of the war only to die April 7, 1926 in Penetanguishine, ON. Two of his cousins served as well (sons of Harry in Alberta): Lieutenant Walter Henry Raikes #116396, joined the 11 Canadian Mounted Rifles, serving in the 47th Battalion, also direct from the Bank of Montreal, later raising to the rank of Captain Observer No.4 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Brother of Walter, Cecil Raikes #117492 enlisted in the 12th CMR in Red Deer. He was gassed twice while serving in France.
So this is the history of my valued trunk. Captain Vessey would had used it in his journey to England and possibly while in France. It would have been sent back to his home in Oro Township after his death, containing his officers effects. Another brave soldier R.I.P.
Once again, thanks to Marika Pirie for the posting of the newspaper clipping and the excerpt from the Bank of Montreal Memorial Roll. Thanks to Marg Liessens for the grave photo parked on the VAC Virtual Memorial site and to Toronto firefighter, Bob Clarke, for sharing the history of the trunk.
I received the birth certificate today (July 31, 2012) for Edward John Vessey. His birthday is the same as shown on the attestation paper so there can be no doubt this is the same man. Born February 26, 1887 in Erdington, Aston, county of Warwick to Richard Edward Vessey, land surveyor and J. Catherine Vessey (formerly Vessey); witnessed by Sarah Andrews, present at birth, Easy Row, Erlington; George Hill Registrar. That's it! Really doesn't answer anything.
August 8, 2012
Received today a certified copy of the birth certificate. John Edward Vessey was born February 26, 1887 in Aston, Erdington, Warwick, son, to Richard Edward Vessey, land surveyor, and Catherine Vessey (nee Vessey). Witness at birth: Sarah Andrews, Easy Row, Erlington, George Hill, Registrar.
April 30, 2013
It should be noted that Captain Vessey was also a topic subject on the CEF Study Group Forum www.cefresearch.ca October 2012. One of our esteemed members has speculated that given the somewhat mysterious circumstances that Edward John Vessey came to be resident in Canada and the more than passing resemblance to the then King of England, King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, perhaps our brave Canadian Captain actually had Royal Blood flowing through him? Comparison photos are to be found on the appropriate thread.
Monday September 1, 2014
Yesterday and strictly by accident coincidence, we discovered the grave of Dr. Richard Raikes, his wife, Lucy, and their infant son, John Keith, in the historic St. James Anglican Cemetery in Penetanguishine, ON