THOSE OTHER ACTIONS - STILL LETHAL
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|
Charles Edwin Cooper had enlisted in Valcartier September 22, 1914 into the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion as a Lieutenant, having served as the Colour Sergeant in the 10th Royal Grenadiers Regiment for 10 years and prior service in both the Royal Canadian Regiment and the 48th Highlanders Regiment. Born in 1880, he worked as a clerk in the T. Eaton Company, married to Sarah in 1903 and a native of Alcester, England. By spring 1917, he had been promoted to rank of Acting Major and had been award the Military Cross for "Conspicuous Service leading his company" during the Battle of Mount Sorrel June 1916. Major Cooper was buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, France. His name appears on the T.Eaton Memorial Plaque along with 314 other men who gave their lives in the war from the company.
|3rd (Toronto) Battalion War Diary entry for April 28, 1917|