BALLYMENA 1914-1918

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Canadian War Diaries: Available from Library and Archives of Canada - http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/Pages/war-diaries.aspx


Ballymena Canadians


3212460 Private David Adams lived at Vendyne, Alberta and volunteered for military service in 1918.  He was the son of John and Lizzie Adams, Lisnacrogher, Ballymena.  The 1901 census records some of this Presbyterian farming family. John was then 48 and lived with his wife Lizzie (47), Mary Jane (22), Tom (20), John (16), Sam (14), Catherine (12), Lizzie (10), Robert (8), David (6) and Agnes (3).  This was not the entire family.  The 1911 census returns says there were ten children born to the couple and all had survived.  The return of 1911 records only John, now 60 and daughter Agnes (14). Three servants are also recorded, Andrew (19) and David (16) McCartney and Maggie Moore (24).


David Adams was born on the 8 February 1893 and was recorded as being 25 years and 1 month old when he attested.  He was single, a farmer who stood  5 feet 7 inches tall and who weighed 156 lbs. He had blue eyes and brown hair.


He does not appear to have served outside Canada.  He went from the 1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment to 13th Battalion Canadian Garrison Regiment. This unit of 13 battalions was formed in April 1918 to perform garrison duty in Canada's 13 military districts.  He was with them after the 26 June 1918. He was sick from 31 July - 1 August 1918 and was thereafter posted to 'command duty' at Edmonton.  He was sent on 'harvest furlough' (helping farmers harvest crops) from the 21 August - 30 September.  He was again sick from the 2 - 13 November 1918. He was demobilised on the 24 February 1919.


David's name appears in the Presbyterian Church In Ireland Roll of Honour 1914-1919 in the listing for Cloughwater Presbyterian Church.


Captain William Alexander Adams  lived in Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan and he was a barrister. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Thomas Adams, 52 University Avenue, Belfast.  He was born on the 14 June 1884 in Ballymena but the family had resided in Belfast for many years. 


The 1901 census return records Thomas Adams, 41 and a commission agent,  living in University Avenue, Belfast, with his wife, Maggie T (37) and their three children, William Alexander, 16 and a law clerk, Matthew (14) and  C R, a 12 year old son. The 1911 return shows them still there. Thomas Adams, 51 was a 'commission merchant and agent for tea, fruit and product and insurance agent',  living in University Avenue, Belfast, with his wife, Maggie (53).


Adams had served in the militia before the war and stated he had spent one year in the 93rd Rifles and six years in the 22nd Battalion South Saskatchewan Horse and during the war he served with the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles and the 1st Battalion the Western Ontario Regiment. He was Mentioned in Dispatches on 28 May 1918.


Adams was taken on strength with the Canadian Command Depot on the 7 February 1916 and was Acting Adjutant from 12 June - 30 August 1916. He was reverted to Lieutenant for the purpose of going overseas and joined the 1st Battalion Western Ontario Regiment on the 5 October.  He was appointed Adjutant on the 17 October and made a Captain on 27 November 1916. He seems to have gone to France in June 1917 and was there, save for two spells of leave on England in July and November 1917, until transferred to England on the 30 January 1918 for return to Canada.  This was granted on 'compassionate grounds' and soon after, despite promotion to Major on the 7 April 1918, he resigned his commission on the 8 May 1918.  Other records say he was not officially struck off strength until 30 April 1919 as part of the general demobilisation. 


[photo @ https://sites.google.com/site/greatwarbelfast/home/service-personnel-pictures-list-a---l ]


109191 Private Jack (John) Aicken  was a street car conductor who enlisted in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in Toronto, Ontario in November 1914.  He was also a local man and said he was from Portglenone.  He was, however, from Tullynahinnion, Lisnagarran, near Cullybackey, his father Robert Aicken. 


The 1911 census return lists Robert Aicken (68), a Reformed Presbyterian and a farmer, his wife Mary (49) and all seven of their family. William M was 22, single and a draper's assistant,  John was 20, single and a farmer, Anna Maggie was 17, Thomas James was 15, Robert Andrew was 12, Mary Winifred was 10 and Eleanor E was 7. John Aicken (83) and a servant, Agnes Carleton (38) were also there on census day.


John Aicken was born on the 8 March 1891 and was about 23 years and 8 months old when he enlisted on the 16 November 1914 (his record says he attested on the 29 September 1914).  He was about 5 feet 8 inches tall (some records say 5 feet 9 inches), and he had blue eyes and fair hair. He was single when he enlisted but he married on 27 September 1915 and his wife Minnie Aicken was living at Hazelwood, Clough until she moved to Canada at a later date.  Her address then was 273 Withrow Avenue, Toronto.


Aicken  was, as stated on attestation papers, already a part-time soldier and was serving with the Governor General's Body Guard (GGBG),  a Canadian Army militia, Household Cavalry regiment. He went on to serve 4 years and 2 months in the regular forces and saw service in 'Canada, England and France'. The French component on the Western Front lasted 38 months.


He embarked (some records say 'arrived') for France on the 24 October 1915 with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiment but was attached to 8th Infantry Brigade HQ from the 20 March - 3 August 1916.  He returned to his own unit thereafter and appears to have remained with them.  He got UK leave from 27 June - 10 July 1917,  from 15 January - 1 February 1918, from 9 December 1918 - 5 January 1919. He was at Whitley Camp, Surrey on the 12 February 1919, an interesting and tense period in the life of this camp.  


Between thirty thousand and sixty thousand Canadian soldiers lived on Witley Common, Surrey  during the First World War.  There had been rioting on Armistice Day and there was eventually further trouble. Those arrested were rescued by others who then wrecked the officer's quarters; the canteen was looted and alcohol stolen. Later,  a number of shops known as "Tin Town" were looted, £9,000 worth of property being stolen. 


A report of what happened was carried by the Calgary Daily Herald on Tuesday, 17 June 1919: The greater part of "Tintown" ... was burned to the ground, and a part of "Little Tintown" about half a mile away was also destroyed by fire. ... The trouble is believed to have arisen from irritation at delay in demobilising the men and shipping them home. The disturbance started when a large body of men assembled on one of the parade grounds to hold a demonstration against the delay. Whether the fire in Tintown was an accident is not yet determined. There seems no doubt however that the smaller fire was the result of a deliberate act of incendiarism. Many men strongly disapproved of the rioting and helped to extinguish the fires.


John Aicken was at Buxton Camp in March 1919. The role of this Canadian Command Depot (CCD),  was to arrange the return of Canadian service personnel to Canada. The then Empire Hotel, now The Palace, served as Canadian Dispatch Depot (CDD) No. 1. This was a  centre where soldiers returning from war were released from service Thereafter he was demobilised in St John, New Brunswick on 20 April 1919.

420047 Corporal Thomas Aicken lived in Winnipeg and was a farmer. He was single, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 155 lbs. He had hazel brown eyes and red hair, and he was a Presbyterian. He had been born in Ireland on 20 September 1881 and his mother was Mrs Jane Aicken from the Cloughmills district; he also had a sister Mary Aiken (sic) living in Omerbane, Newtowncrommelin.


Thomas Aicken attested on 29 December 1914 and became a member of the 43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry. He was with them in Canada from December 1914 to May 1915, and went with them to France when the 43rd Battalion set out for France. He was with them in France until July 1915 and he was then moved to the 16th Battalion.  He served with them from July 1915 to the 9 April 1916. Thereafter he was attached to the Canadian Engineers and spent most of his time with the 3rd Tunnelling Company; he was with 2nd Tunnelling Company from 24 October - 8 November 1916, but then returned to 3rd Tunnelling Company.


2nd Canadian Tunnelling Company was formed in Alberta and British Columbia and then moved to France and into the Ypres sector for instruction. 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company was created when the original mining sections formed in 1st and 2nd Canadian Division were withdrawn from their positions south of Ypres, and were reformed into this new Company at St Marie Cappel in January 1916. It then began work at Spanbroekmolen and other places facing the Messines ridge. Were at the Bluff in early 1916, and Hill 60 in August 1916, where they were relieved by 1st Australian Company in November 1916. They were forced to move from camp at Boeschepe in April 1918, when the enemy broke through the Lys positions, and were then put on duties that included digging and wiring trenches over a long distance from Reninghelst to near St Omer. After the Armistice, the Company repaired the town waterworks at Roubaix.


He was sent to Seaford Camp, England on the 14 April 1919 in preparation for return to Canada.  He was demobilised and discharged at No2 District Depot on the 23 April 1919. He had been awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 1 June 1917.

22963 Corporal James Allen enlisted at Valcartier Camp on the 25th September 1914. He was about 35 years old and an old soldier.  He said he had served in the Scottish Horse during the Boer War (Allen   James, 107, Cpl. Shoeing Smith, enlisted 17/03/1901, Discharged M/U Johannesburg, Second number 2492) and had been in Royston’s Horse during the Zulu Rebellion of 1906.  He held the King’s and Queen’s South Africa Medal and a decoration for the Natal Zulu Rebellion.

 

James Allen was from County Antrim and nominated as his next of kin Thomas Allen, 4 Ballymoney Street, Ballymena; another brother, J S (John Somers) Allen, lived at Charlemont Terrace, Dublin.

 

The 1911 Irish census records David (36) and Thomas Allen (45), tailors, on Ballymoney Street. The 1901 census records John Allen, 60 and a merchant tailor, and his 58-year-old wife Eliza and three children on Ballymoney Street, Ballymena.  Their listed children were Thomas, 32 and a tailor, Elizabeth, 23 and a machinist, and David, 23 and a tailor.

 

Allen was 6’ tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was a Presbyterian but he is not listed on records of local churches. He was working as a clerk in Canada just before the war and his record displays three Quebec addresses.

 

He sailed from Canada and served in England in the 12th Battalion, CEF and there is a reference to him being in the Divisional Cyclist Company, but he never went to mainland Europe. He was returned to Halifax, Canada aboard the SS Missanabie and discharged from the CEF on the 22 April 1915. There is some confusion in his record about what happened.  In several places he was described as being ‘undesirable’ but elsewhere it says he was removed for being ‘medically unfit’. His being ‘medically unfit' is affirmed in a letter of 1921 that details his service. He died on the 13 January 1924.

800055 Matthew Allen enlisted in the 134th Battalion of the CEF in Toronto on the 8 February 1916, stating that he lived at 228 Wilton Avenue in the city.  He was Presbyterian, a single man, a farmer.  He was 5’ 6 ½ “ tall and he had hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He said born on the 17 December 1884 (Local registration of his birth says 12 September 1888, son of Samuel and Ellen Allen, nee Foster, Connor) and that he was originally from Tullynamullan, Shankbridge, near Ballymena. His mother, named as his next of kin, was Ellen (incorrectly recorded initially as Helen) Allen.

The 1911 Irish census records Samuel Allen, 73 and a farmer, living with his wife Ellen (65) living at Tullynamullen.  The couple said they had been married for 45 years and that 8 of their 10 children were still alive at the time of the census.  They listed Matilda R (26) and Matthew (22).

The 1901 census also records the family at Tullynamullan. Samuel Allen, 53 and a farmer, was living with his wife Ellen (43) and five children. John (21), Annie Maggie (19), Matilda R (17) Matthew (12) and Samuel (7) appear on the form.

Allen left Halifax aboard the SS Scotian and disembarked in Liverpool on the 19 August 1916 and soon moved to the 15th Battalion for service in Europe. He was with them in the field from the 2 November 1916 and was to remain there until October 1917.

He was crushed in a trench in April 1917 and treated from the 8 – 11 May 1917 for an arm injury by No 3 Canadian Field Ambulance. He was then wounded near Lens on the 9 September 1917. He was treated by 6 Casualty Clearing Station for minor shrapnel damage to his scalp and more serious gas poisoning before being moved aboard 4 Army Train to 1 General Hospital, Etaples and then sent onwards aboard HS Jan Breydel to England on the 16 October 1917. He went to the County of Middlesex War Hospital, actually the outlying sister facility at Napsbury Hospital at St Albans, on the 17 October 1917 and remained there until discharged to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom; there he slipped on a step and damaged his ankle. His breathing problems persisted and he was to be at 4 Canadian General Hospital, Basingstoke from January to May 1918.

The CEF ultimately decided he should return to Canada and there continue to receive outpatient care for a time.  He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Olympic after the 14 December 1918 and discharged ‘medically unfit’ from the army on the 11 January 1919. He indicated he intended to live at Grand Valley, Ontario.  He died on the 17 March 1957.

6023 Private Samuel Allen, Lord Strathcona's Horse, attested in Sewell, Manitoba and said his father was James Allen, Ballymena. 


The 1901 census return records James Allen, 30 and a grocer, living at Carnaughts, Kells with his wife Annie (30) and six children: Samuel (12), Thomas (10), Maggie (8), Edith (5), James (3) and Annie (1).  Jane Finnley (33) was their nurse and domestic servant.  


The 1911 return finds them still in Carnaughts.  They said they had had nine children of whom eight were alive in 1911.  The family as listed on the day the return was made was then James (46 & still a grocer), Annie (45), Samuel (21 and a mail car driver), Maggie (18), Edith May (15), James (13) and Annie (11), Hugh Campbell (8) and Mary Elizabeth (5). Robert Herron (19) was their farm servant.


Samuel was born on the 4 June 1889 and was a 26 years and 6 months old when he enlisted on the 2 December 1914.  He was single (He got permission to marry on the 4 September 1918 and his wife is recorded as Mrs Lizzie Allen, Glenwherry, Co Antrim), 5 feet 10 inches tall and a Presbyterian.  He had blue eyes and light brown hair.


He was taken on strength at the Canadian Cavalry Depot, Canterbury on the 10 July 1915 and on the 9 November he transferred from the Canadian Training Division to Lord Strathcona's Horse.  He was in France at the Canadian Brigade Depot, Rouelles from the 10 November 1915 and joined his unit on the 15 November.  He took influenza and was dealt with by the 3rd Canadian Field Ambulance and No 2 Casualty Clearing Station on the 21 December before going by train to the 23rd General Hospital, Etaples on the 24 December 1915. He was invalided to the Canadian Training Depot on the 19 January 1916 and was at Quex Park Hospital, Birchington (near Margate) on the 20 January 1916 suffering from nephritis, inflammation of the kidney.  He went to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre, Bath, a centre where wounded were assessed for either further treatment or return to duty, on the 15 February, but he was at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Monks Horton until discharged to duty on the 1 April.


He went to a Canadian reserve unit until appointed groom to General MacDougal on the 7 June 1916.  On the 2 October, however,  he was again admitted to hospital and was to spend three days there.  He was suffering from 'contusion of the face', the bruising resulting from his having been thrown over the head of his horse after it shied 'at an engine' and 'tripped against the curb'. ('curb' is US spelling of 'kerb').


He was posted to HQ Sub-Staff on the 24 October and was then posted on the 8 November to Canadian HQ, Brighton, again as part of HQ Sub-Staff. He was taken on strength at HQ Witley in the same role on the 26 December but then went to the 5th Canadian Reserve Training Regiment, Bramshott, Hampshire on the 10 February 1917. He was back in hospital in Bramshott on the 20 June 1917, the injury 'contusion of the hip'.  The injury was acquired when he was on duty and when his horse fell on him. He suffered damage to this hip and right side, and he had vomited after the incident. He was discharged after one week.


The record is sketchy thereafter.  However, we do know he was at Shorncliffe Camp, Kent. This was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there. Allen appears to have been with this training unit until he went to Bexhill for a time. He was then with the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Kimnel Park, Rhyl (Wales). 


He went to the Depot Centre at Witley in July 1919 and was demobilised in the UK on the 26 July 1919.  He said he intended to go to High Street, Antrim, presumably to begin a normal married life with Lizzie.

871640 Corporal Samuel Allen, lived in Winnipeg, Canada and was married to Flossie Susan Allen.  At the time of his enlistment, they had two daughters, Ellen Gertrude (4) and Audrey Florence (18 months).  Samuel Allen was a Ballymena man by birth and came from Dunnyvadden, Kells and his parents were Samuel and Ellen Allen.


The 1901 census return records Samuel Allen, a 47 year old farmer and carpenter, and his wife Ellen (43) and nine children: John (16), Joice sic (14), Samuel (12), Ellen Jane (10), twins Agnes and Mary Elizabeth (7), Robert James (7), William (4) and infant George. They do not appear in the 1911 census.


Samuel was born on the 29 June 1888 and was about 28 when he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 155 lbs, and he had brown eyes and black hair. He was a grocer by trade and a Presbyterian.


He enlisted on the 30 March 1916 in Winnipeg and left Halifax, Nova Scotia for Europe on the 4 October, arriving in Liverpool on the 13 October. He was in the 183rd (Manitoba Beavers) Battalion (not it would seem the 203rd (Winnipeg Rifles) as it says on one record) and was then moved to the 100th Battalion while at Witley Camp on the 26 October. (After sailing to England in October 1916, the 183rd Battalion was broken up and its men transferred to the following units: 100th Battalion, 107th Battalion, 108th Battalion, and the 144th Battalion.) Allen remained with the 100th Battalion until transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps on 12 November 1916.  He was attached to the 5th Division Train on the 31 January 1917 and then moved to the 11th Reserve Battalion on the 5 March.  He went to train at the Canadian Machine Gun Reserve and Base Depot in Crowborough, East Sussex, England on the 16 May 1917 before being sent to 5th Army Troop Company, Canadian Engineers on the 29 June 1917.  He went to France with them the next day. He had two periods of illness, from 16 November 1917 - January 1918 and from 24 June 1918 - 18 July 1918 but was otherwise with his unit.  


There is little other detail in his record.  He was promoted to Corporal on the 18 February 1918 and got a good conduct award on the 30 March.  He was granted 14 days UK leave on the 2 November 1918 and he finally returned to Seaford Camp, England for return to Canada on the 3 March 1919. He left Liverpool on the SS Belgic and arrived in Halifax on 23 April 1919.


Allen appears to have been in No 2 Section.  You can see what he was doing in France by looking here - http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/warDiaryLac/wdLacP15.asp

862727 Private Thomas John Allen, was born on the 14 August 1888 and was the son of John Allen, a farmer, who lived at Shankbridge, Kells, Ballymena.  Thomas's mother had died and John Allen appears as a widower in the census returns of 1901 and 1911. 


Thomas was a carpenter and was single when he enlisted on the 28 February 1916.  He was then 27 years and 6 months old and stood 5 feet 7 ¼ inches tall.  He had blue eyes and dark brown hair, and he was a Presbyterian.  He gave his address as 116 Hamilton Street, Toronto.


He enlisted in the 180th Regiment and served with it from 28 February 1916 to 6 January 1917.  He became part of the 3rd Canadian Reserve Battalion on the 6 January and was with them to the 9 April 1917, before being transferred to the 123rd Battalion on the 10 April 1917. He stayed with them until the 29th May 1918, at which point he transferred to the 7th Battalion, Canadian Engineers.  He remained with them to the end of his service on 8th April 1919. His early transfers reflect what was happening in the CEF. 


The 180th (Sportsmen) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force was based in Toronto, and it began recruiting during the winter of 1915/16 in the city. After sailing to England in November 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 3rd Reserve Battalion on January 6, 1917, as was Allen. The 123rd (Royal Grenadiers) Battalion, CEF  was also based in Toronto.  After sailing to England in August 1916, the battalion was redesignated the 123rd Pioneer Battalion, CEF, and throughout 1917 and into mid-1918, the 123rd Battalion absorbed large contingents of reinforcements, primarily from the 180th Battalion, 129th Battalion, 3rd Canadian Pioneer Battalion and 3rd Reserve Battalion, and others. Allen was one of them.


In many cases the 123rd Battalion served with front line troops, and in fact, in front of the front line troops, to install barbed wire, improve roads, and establish battlements, fortification and dugouts for the front-line infantry to use and occupy. One of their principal roles was to install bridge works and build plank roads to facilitate movement of troops, artillery pieces, and supply columns.  When Allen transferred to the Canadian Engineers he would continue to do the same kind of work he had done in the 123rd Pioneers.


Allen was transported to England aboard the SS Olympic and went, via Thornham Camp,  to  West Sandling, near Folkestone, and the 3rd Reserve Battalion.  He left there with the 123rd en route for France on 11 April and was taken on strength in the field with his unit on the 16 April 1917.  He received a gunshot wound to the left eye at Vimy Ridge on the 28 April and was eventually taken to 24th General Hospital, Etaples for treatment.  He was there until the 7 May and his release to No 6 Convalescent Hospital, Etaples. He didn't rejoin his unit in the field until the 24 May 1917.


Canadian Field Ambulance treated him for a minor eye problem on 24 June and he had no more problems until wounded at Passchendaele on the 16 November 1917. He was apparently near an exploding shell and suffered 'contusions'.  He was sent to No 6 General Hospital and later to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen in November and No 11 Convalescent Depot, Buchy in December.  He went to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp in February and did not rejoin his unit until 14 March 1918.


On the 30 May 1918 he transferred to the 7th Battalion Canadian Engineers and Sapper Allen got 14 days UK leave in July.  He went back to Ireland and received a severe scald to his right foot.  He was admitted to Belfast Military Hospital on the 6 August and went to the Massey Harris Convalescent Hospital, ' Kingswood', Dulwich, London thereafter.  He got some dental treatment at Orpington Hospital and then went to the Canadian Engineers Regimental Depot at Seaford on the 26 August.  He was, however, admitted to the 16 Canadian General Hospital suffering from nervous problems in November and December 1918 and was not discharged to duty until 31 January 1919. He stayed with the 3rd Reserve Battalion at Seaford until sent to Kimnel Park, Rhyl and return to Canada.  He was demobilised on the 8 April 1919 and joined his wife Elizabeth, whom he married during the war, at 116 Hamilton Street, Toronto.

327960 Driver Robert Allen lived at Langside 316, Winnipeg, Manitoba but he was from Dunnyvadden, Kells, Ballymena, his father being Samuel Allen.


The 1901 census shows Samuel Allen, 47 and a farmer, carpenter and mason, living with his wife Ellen, 43, and nine children. They were: John (16), Joice (sic & 14), Samuel (12), Ellen Jane (10), Agnes (7), Mary Elizabeth (7), Robert James (5), William (4) and George (6 months).  In the 1911 census return Samuel Allan (sic) and his wife Ellen are sharing their home with Ellen Jane (20), Agnes (18), Mary Elizabeth (18), Robert James (15), William (14) and George (10).  Robert James is said to be a grocer's apprentice.


Robert was born on the 25 June 1895 and was 20 years and 9 months old at the time of his enlistment on 23 March 1916 . He was 5 feet 7 ½ inches tall and weighed 146 lbs, and he was described as having a ruddy complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  He was single and a grocery clerk. He was to serve until discharged on 29 March 1919 and he spent about a year and five months on the Western Front.  He has initially joined the 59th Battery, 15th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery and went overseas with them on the SS Cameronia which left Halifax on the 11 September 1916, but he was posted to the 61st Battery, 14th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery soon after arriving in England on the 22 September. His record shows he was wounded at some point and refers to a 'scar on forehead, GSW (gunshot wound)' but gives no details. Elsewhere there is reference to a 'GSW scar on left hand, bridge of nose'.


He said he was going to 125 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg on his discharge, also the address he gives for his father and sister Joyce; his mother, Ellen/Nellie is given as Dunnyvadden, Ballymena. He returned to Canada on HMT Canada.

436980 Private Matthew Anderson stated he was born in Ballymena but  had probably been long departed from the town.  He was an engineer by trade and the 1901 census return records Matthew Anderson, apprentice engineer, living with his uncle Matthew McIlwaine (62) and his sister, Eliza Jane McIlwaine (43) in Springmount, Belfast. The McIlwaines were born in Co Down and the poorly written return seems to say that Matthew McIlwaine was living 'on pension - 80th Reg of Foot'.


Matthew Anderson, self employed engineer, enlisted on the 20 February 1915 in Edmonton.  He had been born on 28 January 1882 and  was then 33 years and 1 month old. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, had hazel eyes and brown hair, and he weighed 150 lbs. He was a Presbyterian and lived with his wife Margaret (30) and son (2½) at 312 York Street, Edmonton.


Anderson was in the 51st Battalion, Canadian Infantry and left Montreal with the second draft of reinforcements for the battalion aboard SS Metagama on the 11 September 1915.  He went to Shorncliffe Camp, Kent. Shorncliffe Camp was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during World War I and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division had been formed there.  Anderson transferred to the 49th Battalion on the 30 September 1915 and went to France on the 9 October,  He was attached for duty to CORC (Canadian Overseas Reserve Command/Camp?) from 15 February to 20 April 1916, but most of his record relates to illness.


He says he had trench fever for three weeks in September and spent about six days with 2nd Canadian Field Ambulance before he was sent to the 14th General Hospital, Wimereux on the 11 October 1916.  He was transferred to England on the HS St Andrew to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre (CCAC), Shoreham (The CCAC maintained offices at both Brighton and Hastings, although there was a suggestion in August 1916 that both facilities could be concentrated at Shoreham.) and was in the 5th Northern General Hospital in Leicester on the 16 October 1916.  He was discharged to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epson on the 11 November 1916.  He was suffering from neuritis and influenza during this period but there was an underlying problem that has first surfaced, said Anderson, at the end of 1915, namely arthritis.  He was sent to the Red Cross Special Hospital at Buxton (Canadian Special Orthopaedic Hospital (1917-19) , Buxton, Derbyshire.) on the 25 January 1917 and he remained there until 9 March.  He was transferred to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre at Hastings on the 10 March and sent to the Canadian Discharge Depot (CDD), Bramshott on the 3 April. He was moved to the Alberta Regiment Depot thereafter but had been discharged as medically unfit on the 9 March 1917 and was returned to Canada on the 10 July 1917.

306636 Gunner John Andrews of the 8th Brigade Ammunition Column and later of ‘E’ Battery, 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, one of the assets supporting the 1st Canadian Division, lived at 626 Pape Avenue, Toronto and he enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery on the 24th January 1916.  He was a single man, a farmer and a Presbyterian. He was reported to be 5’ 7 ½ “ tall with grey eyes and dark brown hair.  He said he was born on the 31 October 1891 and that his father was Francis Andrews, a farmer of Gortgole, Portglenone, Co Antrim.

The Andrews family are found in the 1901 and 1911 Irish census record.  The 1911 returns record Francis Andrews, a 56 year old farmer of Gortgole, Portglenone and his wife Mary.  The couple said they had been married for 24 years and that they had had no children.  John Andrews, aged 19, is designated a ‘relative’. John appears in 1901 as the 9-year-old son of Frances (sic), a 45-year-old farmer, and his wife Mary, also 45.

John Andrews eventually left Canada from St John, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Metagama on the 5 February 1916 and was in Plymouth, England on the 14th February.  He completed his training and went to France and Flanders on the 13/14th July 1917. Less than four months later he was wounded while serving in the area around Courcelette, Somme, notably in the lead up to the action around Regina Trench. The War Diary of the 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, specifically mentions artillery barrages, ‘shoots’, some focused on Below Trench. His injury, sustained on the 5 November, was accidental, but the accident had been catastrophic. He later told doctors he ‘was one of a gun crew on an 18 Pdr. when the breech burst’ (The 18 Pounder was the standard gun of the field artillery of Britain and her Empire allies.).  He said the explosion killed the ‘whole crew except himself’. His records tell of cordite (propellant) burns to his face and injury to his right hand.

No. 20 Ambulance Train took him to the coast and he was treated at No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples.  He was released on the 10 November and went to No 6 Convalescent Depot.  He went back to duty on the 1 December 1916 but was soon in real difficulty.

He went to No. 12 Stationary Hospital and then onwards to No. 16 General Hospital, Le Treport. He received some treatment and was then placed on No. 27 Ambulance Train for transport to the coast and onward journey to England aboard the HS Formosa.  He was at the Berrington War Hospital, Shrewsbury on the 27th January 1917 and stayed there until going to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom.  He later went to the West Cliff Eye and Ear Hospital, Folkestone and then to other convalescent sites.

Andrews underwent three operations on his left ear after the 15th January 1917 but he was to remain deaf in that ear and to have an unpleasant discharge and other problems thereafter. He appears to have worked as a clerk and at various light depot duties for a time but the CEF knew he was medically unfit for service.

He was granted permission to marry on the 4 November 1917 and his wife lived at 52, Mill Street, Ballymena (Barnhill P. O., Larne also appears as an address) and when Andrews was discharged from the CEF on the 24 October 1919 he chose to be released in England and said he was going to the Ballymena address. He died on the 9 February 1941.


The area where Andrews was engaged at the time of his wounding.

Below Trench is seen on the top right of the image.

424544 Private Frank John Bankhead was born in Capetown, South Africa but he was the 25-year-old son of Sam and Elizabeth Bankhead, Ballymena; he is commemorated in St. Patrick's Church of Ireland, Ballymena.


In 1901 Elizabeth Ann Bankhead was 45, married and living on William Street, Ballymena with her son (9,) and she was running a boarding house. In 1911 she was a widow and domestic servant living in Church Street. George Beattie, a 24 year old grocer's assistant from Co Tyrone, was head of the house. Named as her son's next of kin in 1915, her address was c/o Martin, Victoria Street, Ballymoney. Her last given address was c/o Mrs Courtney, 32 High Street, Ballymena. Mrs Elizabeth Courtney had a boarder in 1911 and so Mrs Bankhead may have been boarding there in 1916.


Frank John Bankhead was born on the 25 June 1890.  He was single when he enlisted in Brandon on 19 May 1915.  He was 5 feet 7 ½ tall and had blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He worked as a moving picture operator. He enlisted in the 45th Battalion (Manitoba), Canadian Infantry on 19 May 1915 and was not deployed to Europe until 1916 because he was ill with influenza in St Boniface's Hospital, Winnipeg from 9 - 14 December 1915.  He then was granted leave from 15-19 January 1916 and from 16 - 21 February 1916, presumably to aid recovery.


He embarked for England aboard the SS Saxonia on 13 March 1916 and reached England on the 25 March.  He transferred to the 1st Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles (The 45th Battalion provided reinforcements to the Canadian Corps in the field until it was absorbed by the 11th Reserve Battalion, CEF on 7 July 1916.) on the 5 June 1916 and left Shorncliffe Camp on 6 June to join them in the field.  He was taken on strength on the 8 June. The only other entry on his record records that he was killed on the 29 October 1916.  He had been shot in the head by a sniper while on duty in an Advanced Post. He is buried in St. Catherine Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

Company Sergeant Major Adam Barr, 3rd Canadian Machine Gun Corps, enlisted in the 54th Battalion, Canadian Infantry at Vernon, British Columbia on the 23 June 1915.  His record says he was then single, 5 feet 7 inches tall, and that he was 28 years and 8 months old. He had blue eyes and sandy coloured hair. He was a Presbyterian and he worked as a 'phone man'. He said his next of kin was his mother, Mrs Jane Barr, Ballymena, elsewhere Kells, Ballymena.


The 1901 census return records Mrs Jane Barr (42), a farmer and a widow, living in Tannybrake, Kells with her family, William C (26), Jenny (24) James (22), Ada (20), Robert (18) and Adam (14).  Mary Cathcart (76), an aunt, and Samuel McDowell, a grandson, lived with them.  Jane cannot be found in the 1911 return, though the family were still in the area and are recorded. A headstone in Connor New Cemetery, Kells, erected for son James,  confirms their presence.


Barr in loving memory of James Alexander Barr, Tannybrake, died 29th March 1956, aged 77 years.

Also his wife Jane Eliza Barr, died 11th May 1974, aged 89 years.

Also his mother Jane Young Barr died 7th April 1943, aged 85 years.

His sister Ada Mary Barr, died 11th April 1942, aged 62 years.

His grandson Trueman Wylie, died 27th March 1940, aged 9 months.

And his aunt Mary Cathcart, died 12th March 1912, aged 90 years.

Also his daughter Elizabeth Smyth, died 17th May 1974, aged 55 years.

Loves last gift - remembrance.


Adam Barr arrived in England on the SS Saxonia on the 25 December 1915 with the 54th Battalion, CEF and was transferred immediately to the 32nd Reserve Battalion. On the 1 April he was transferred to the 3rd Brigade, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, and to 7th Brigade, Canadian Machine Gun Corps on the 29 April 1916 He went back to the 3rd Brigade, Canadian Machine Gun Corps in March 1918. 


He was ill at times with fever but he was a talented soldier and he quickly climbed through the ranks: he was made Lance corporal on the 28 August 1916, Corporal on the 19 September 1916, Sergeant on the 22 February 1917 and Warrant Officer, Second Class (WO2, Battery Sergeant Major) on the 19 March 1918.  He was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on the 17 June 1918.


He went on one of his periods of leave on 12 July 1918 and returned on the 21 July 1917.  On the 13 August he suffered a gunshot wound to his right knee.  4th Canadian Field Ambulance and 48th Casualty Clearing Station treated him until he reached 9th (USA) General Hospital, Rouen.  The wound cannot have been too serious.  He remained in France and was sent to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen and No 11 Convalescent Depot, Buchy within a month and was discharged from care in September to return to his unit in the field. 


He got more leave, 25 October - 8 November 1918 and was returned to England in March 1919 for return to Canada.  He was officially demobilised on 28 March 1919 and said on the form he signed at Bramshott on the 13 March 1919 that he intended to go to Caithness, British Columbia.

400013 Private John Bartholomew, Canadian Army Medical Corps, enlisted, somewhat unusually,  at Shorncliffe Camp, England on 25 October 1915.  He said he was born in Crumkill (or Cromkill), Ballymena, and that his mother was Mrs Mary Bartholomew, Antrim Road, Ballymena; elsewhere she is referred to as Mrs G. Bartholomew.


The 1901 census return records George Bartholomew, 45 and an agricultural labourer, living with his wife Mary J in Ballee (the townlands of Ballee and Cromkill are contiguous).  They list their family present on the day of the census as follows: Martha (24 & a winder in a textile factory), William (22 & a blacksmith), David (19 & a fitter), John (16 & a carpenter), Jane (14 and a weaver in a textile factory), Alexander (12), Lizzie (9) and Maggie (5). The family were Brethren

.

The 1911 census return records them as Presbyterians living in Queen Street (beyond Harryville, Ballymena this becomes the Antrim Road). George (58 & a factory worker) lived with wife Mary J (58) and Martha (34 & a factory worker), Jane (24 & a factory worker), Lizzie (18 & a factory worker), Maggie (15 and a dressmaker) and Alexander (21 & a tailor). They also stated that they had had ten children of whom eight were still alive.


John, single and a carpenter, gave his birthday as May 1884 and was said to be 31 years and 6 months old when he enlisted.  He was 5 feet 9¾ inches tall and weighed about 145 lbs.  He had grey eyes and fair hair. It is not clear whether he was already living in Canada, though he later gave his address as 638 Bathurst Street, Toronto.


John Bartholomew was taken on strength at Moore Barracks Hospital, Shorncliffe, near Folkestone on the 27 October 1915. Shorncliffe was used by troops destined for the Western Front and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there. The entire 2nd Canadian Division was based there prior to embarkation for France in September 1915. Lower Dibgate Camp near Shorncliffe for much of summer 1915 was the home of No. 7 Divisional Train, Canadian Army Service Corps (CASC) and the Fort Garry Horse. The Canadian Army Medical Corps, in which Bartholomew had enlisted, had general hospitals there from September 1917 to December 1918 (but they must have had some medical facilities there before 1917!). The camp at that time composed five unit lines known as Ross Barracks, Somerset Barracks, Napier Barracks, Moore Barracks and Risborough Barracks. On three occasions there were German air raids which killed soldiers on the camp.

  

He didn't transfer to 14th Canadian Field Hospital, Witley Camp until 19 February 1917. It was there that he was struck off strength to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Depot on the 4 March 1918, and he left the CAMC Depot for France on the 20 March. He arrived at Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CARC) on the 23rd March and transferred to the 1st Sanitary Section on the 11 April 1918.  He appears to have been with them until he got leave on the 20 February 1919, fourteen days, and permission to go to Ireland.  He returned to France but was sent back to England on the 29 March for return to Canada.  He left Liverpool on RMS Scotian and went to Montreal.  He was ill with myalgia during the voyage and was to spend time in Montreal Military Hospital, Quebec and Whitby Military Hospital, Ontario.  He had a some point developed bronchitis, some records say pneumonia, and was also in St Andrew's Hospital, Toronto for a time. 


He was finally demobilised from the army on the 9 September 1919.


He had been 'brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered' and was awarded a Good Conduct Badge in October 1917. At least two of his brothers also rendered valuable service. Alexander served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was awarded a Military Medal and the Russian Cross of St George, and William served in the Machine Gun Corps.  The three Bartholomew brothers are listed in the West Church entry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Roll of Honour, 1914-18.

799172 Private Samuel Dale Beattie, 19th Battalion, CEF, initially enlisted in the 134th (48th Highland) in Toronto and said he lived at 15 Gwynne Avenue in the city.  He also said he was the son of Mrs Jane Beattie, Ballygarvey, Ballymena.


The 1901 census return records John Beattie, 57 and a farmer, and his wife Jane (43) living at Ballygarvey with seven children.  They were John (16), Elizabeth (15), Samuel (12), Martha (10) Robert (8), Jane (6) and Annie (3).  The 1911 return shows Jane (47), a widow and still a farmer at Ballygarvey, living with Robert (17), Jane (15) and Annie (13).


Samuel Beattie, a lineman, was born on 25 June 1888.  He was single and was 27 years and 7 months old when he attested in Toronto on 14 January 1916.  He was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed about 170 lbs, and he had blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He was a Presbyterian.  


His regiment, the 134th Battalion (48th Highlanders), was raised in Toronto in late 1915, and he was with it when it sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Europe aboard SS Scotian in August 1916. It docked in Liverpool on the 19 August.  He went to Witley Military Camp, Surrey, England and there transferred to the 19th Battalion, CEF.  He was with his unit on the 12 June 1916 and went to France soon afterwards.


He suffered a slight shrapnel wound to his chin on the 12 May 1918 and passed through 6th and 5th Canadian Field Ambulance hands and 43 CCS before reaching No 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Tréport on the 15 May.  He was sent to No 3 Canadian Convalescent Depot, Le Tréport on the 7 June and was at 2 Canadian Infantry Base Depot, Etaples on the 22 June. He went to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on the 14 July and rejoined the 19th Battalion on the 12 August 1918.


He was given fourteen days leave in Ireland on the 7 September, and having returned to his unit on the 29 September, he was wounded on the 12 October 1918.  This time he had received a gunshot wound to the face.  He passed through 33 CCS and was sent on 1 AT (Ambulance Train) to No 32 Stationary Hospital, Wimereux. Just over one month later, on the 30 November 1918, he was transferred to a convalescent depot, probably Terlincthun near Boulogne.  On the 3 December he went to  Canadian Infantry Base Depot, Etaples and was in the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on the 8 December.


His tenure in France was soon ended.  He was sent to England and No1 Canadian Corps Reserve Depot on the 12 January 1919 and transferred to the 3rd Reserve Battalion.  He then went to Kimnel Park, Rhyl for return to Canada on the 12 March and finally embarked for Canada on the Empress of Britain on the 23 March 1919.

139509 Private Robert Bell, Canadian Infantry, enlisted in Toronto on the 15 July 1915, naming his aunt, Mrs Mary Jane Linton, Edenduff Shane's Castle, Milltown, Randalstown, as his next of kin.  He said he too was born in Randalstown, probably the son of domestic servant Sarah Bell, on the 8 October 1892, and that he was single and a labourer.  His attestation papers further show that he was a 5’ 6” tall Anglican who had brown eyes and brown hair.

He had served in the 9th Mississauga Horse, a militia, before the Great War and he volunteered and joined the CEF in 1915. He went to ‘C’ Company, 75th Battalion and left Halifax in March 1916, subsequently arriving in Liverpool, England on the 9 April. He completed his training and transferred to the 60th Battalion for service in France.  He was accidentally wounded in the ankle and treated for the injury between the 1 -5 September 1916, and there was an official enquiry into what had transpired. Thereafter he served with the 60th Battalion from June 1916 until the 10th February 1917. He was then wounded in action.

Shrapnel tore a 6” by 1” gash in his right forearm and removed about 2” of bone. He went to the military hospital at Etaples before he was eventually moved to the Military Hospital at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, where he remained from 31 March to the 19 April 1917. The hospital was on the site of the famous cricket ground, its buildings having been requisitioned by the War Office. He was then sent to convalesce at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Hillingdon House, Uxbridge.

The injury initially left him with loss of finger movement, an inability to flex his arm at the elbow and other problems.  He was selected for return to Canada for further treatment and he went there aboard the SS Araguaya. He was treated at Whitby Military Hospital, Ontario in 1917 and also at Guelph Military Hospital in January 1918. He eventually recovered and was released in March 1918.  

He was discharged from the CEF on the grounds that he was ‘medically unfit due to wounds’ and stated that he was going to live at 22 Badger Row Avenue, Toronto. He died in Canada on the 19 August 1944.

192181 Private John Blain, 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), was born in Fernisky, Kells but had probably been absent from Co Antrim for some years.  He was born on the 2 March 1882.  He was 33 years and 4 months old when he enlisted and weighed about 160 lbs.  He had blue eyes and fair hair and he was a labourer.   He said he was married to Matilda Barnett Blain, records recording the marriage as being on the 31 June 1906, and he said they had two daughters, Agnes (9) and Sarah (7).   

There are no relevant Blains listed in the 1901 or 1911 census returns, but Matilda Barnett does appear.  She was 25 in 1901 and a wool weaver, the daughter of James Barnett, a 65 year old farmer from Tanneybrake, Kells.  Her mother was Mary (63) (Marey sic) and she had two brothers, Joseph (23) and Samuel (22 and a beetler), and three sisters, Minnie (20), Jane (18) and Sarah (13).   Mary Bell Barnett was 76 in the 1911 census return and living with Minnie (29), Jane (28) and Sarah (21), all single.   She says in 1911 that she had had three children with James, though this seems unlikely.  A headstone in Connor New Cemetery says James, aged 66,  died on 14 December 1902, Mary Bella, aged 86, on the 6 February 1920. It also refers to their son William who died 2nd January 1891, aged 25 years.


John Blain enlisted in Toronto in the 92nd Battalion (48th Highlanders) and embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Empress of Britain with them on the 20 May 1916.  He was transferred to the 42nd Battalion and then went to France with them in July 1916. He was engaged on 'police duties' at ports during October but was in sick with fever in November.  Field Ambulance sent him to a convalescent camp and he was there until discharged to duty with the 3rd Divisional Salvage Company on the 1 December 1916.  As their name suggests, these troops salvaged any materials, weapons, etc that could be recovered from areas where there had been fighting.


On the 12 August 1917 he transferred to the 3rd Divisional Employment Company.  These troops, according to their war diary, were employed on 'sanitary work', were attached to 'baths and laundries', were attached to units 'as shoemakers', spent time 'cleaning up billets', were 'furnishing guards to dugouts', doing 'water patrol work', were attached to 'Salvage Company', 'were erecting huts for Field Ambulance', etc.


Blain was ill throughout October and the first half of November 1917, but recovered and remained in France/Belgium until transferred to the depot in England on the 18 December 1918.  He was awaiting transfer to Canada and eventually left on the 23 March 1919.  He was discharged at No 2 District Depot (Toronto) on the 1 April 1919.  He had earlier told the army that he would be going to 71 River Street, Toronto.


John Blain died on the 2 June 1958.

766535 Harry Morrison Blair joined the 123th Battalion, (Royal Grenadiers) in Toronto, giving his address as 122 Sherborne Street, Toronto (later addresses were 64 Moscow Street, Toronto and 632 Pope Avenue, Toronto).  He was a tailor.


He came from Ballymena and the 1901 census return records him living on Church Street.  His mother was Annie Blair, a 40 year old widow and stationer, originally from the Co Down.  His sister was Annie (19), an assistant stationer and born in Co Tyrone, his brother William (16) was a printer born in Co Antrim. Harry, born in Co Antrim, was 10 years old. Maggie Bell, born Co Antrim and 19 years old, was their domestic servant and Sarah McMullan (14) was an assistant stationer.  They cannot be found in the 1911 return, but Harry (20) is recorded.  He was an apprentice tailor and lived with his uncle on High Street, Ballymena. Uncle David Blair (38) was a master tailor and shared his house with his wife Isabella (39) and her mother, Jane Scott (66).


Harry Morrison Blair initially nominated his brother William as his next of kin and he was living at Birchcliff, Kingston Road, P O Ontario. He later opted to have his Uncle David take on that role.


Harry was born on the 31 October 1890.  He was single, 25 ½ when he enlisted on the 8 December 1915 and 5 feet 6 ¾ inches tall.  He weighed 121 lbs and had brown hair and brown eyes. He was a Presbyterian.  He was to serve a total of 3 years and 5 months in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.


Harry was ill for four days in Canada before his departure but he nevertheless embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia on SS Cameronia with the 123rd Battalion on the 8 August 1916.  He reached Liverpool on the 18 August and in England he was transferred to the 60th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada) on the 5 December and sent to join them in the field. He was in the unit when they fought at places like Mount Sorrel, Courcelette and in the later stages of the Somme.  He transferred to the 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards) on the 23 April 1917, but was probably with the 60th Battalion at Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917. The 87th Battalion were another great fighting unit and they distinguished themselves at places like Passchendaele, Amiens and Scarpe when Harry was attached to them. 


He was on leave from 23 November -11 December 1917 and then returned to his unit.  He was wounded by a gas shell on the 19 August 1918 and Field Ambulance, CCS et al got him to 10th General Hospital, Rouen on the 21 August.  He was moved to 73rd General hospital, Trouville but was well enough to go to No 14 Convalescent Depot, Trouville on the 2 September.  He was released from there to the Canadian Infantry Brigade Depot (CIBD) on the 29 September 1918.  He was struck off strength with his unit on the 2 October 1918 and went to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp.  He got leave from the 25 October - 13 November 1918 and, presumably staying there thereafter, was sent to England on the 29 April 1919.  He returned to Canada on the Mauretania and was at No 4 District Depot (Montreal) on the 31 May 1919.  He was demobilised on the 9 June 1919.

Harry Morrison Blair died in Canada on the 4 April 1937.

663235 Lance Corporal James Blair lived in Georgetown, Ontario with his wife Bessie Rachael Blair and said he worked as a papermaker.  He was born on the 10 January 1882 and was 34 years old in January 1916 when he enlisted in the 164th Battalion (Halton and Dufferin) of the Canadian Infantry.  He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 lbs, and he had grey eyes and black hair.  He said he was an Anglican and he also said he was from Ballymena.


He must have left Ballymena many years before and there is no complete match for him in census returns. The 'best fit' for him is in the 1901 Census return. William Blair, 63 and a labourer, lived with his wife Sarah (60) on Henry Street, Harryville, Ballymena.  They listed some of their family on the day of the census.  Lizzie was 28 and a linen weaver, as was Annie (21).  James (19) was a plasterer.  His youngest sister Maggie was 7 years old.  Campbell Ballentine, 22 and a smith's helper, and his wife Agnes Ballentine (née Blair, 23) lived with them and had an infant son called William.  The family were still on Henry Street in 1911.  William (73) and his wife Sarah (71) shared their home with daughters Annie (32) and Agnes Hanna (34).  Three children were with them on census day, Annie Ballentine (3), George Hanna (4) and James Hanna (0). William and Sarah said they had had seven children, six of whom were still alive in 1911.


James Blair is the correct age in the 1901 return, given his stated birthday, and William, as stated by the CWGC record of his death, was his father. James was then a Presbyterian, however, not an Anglican as stated on his attestation form.


James' army career was short.  He enlisted  in January 1916 in the 164th Battalion and sailed from Halifax aboard the RMS Carpathia on the 10 April 1917 (RMS Carpathia was famous for its role in the rescue of Titanic passengers in 1912. On 15 July 1918, Carpathia departed Liverpool in a convoy bound for Boston. On the summer morning of 17 July she was torpedoed by submarine U-55 and sank.),  reaching England on the 22 April.  He as taken on strength with the 2nd Reserve Battalion, East Sandling on the 23 April but returned to the 164th Battalion on the 27 May 1917.  He served two further short attachments with the 119th and 125th Battalions before returning to the 164th Battalion and then being struck off strength to the 116th Battalion on the 4 April 1918.  He went to France with them and was at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on the 7 April and with his unit in the field on the 21 April.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 14 September, 681792 John Paton having been wounded, but was killed in action soon after on the 29 September 1918. The war diary for the days says:


29th. Weather fine. In accordance with Brigade operations order, the Battalion moved up, following closely behind the 7th Brigade, through Bourlon and assembled in the Railway Embankment in F.2.1 at 6:30 p.m. Orders were received that the 58th Battalion would attack the Marcoing Line in front of St. Olle, and that the 116th Battalion passing through would attack and capture St. Olle. Zero hour 7:00 p.m. ... Our casualties for the day were about 260 killed and wounded.


War Diary: The Logistical Summary for the 116th (Ontario County) Canadian Infantry Battalion's Sojourn in France, 43


James Blair is buried in St Olle British Cemetery, Raillencourt. St. Olle is a village in the Department of the Nord, 1 kilometre west of Cambrai on the main road towards Arras. Raillencourt was captured by the Canadian Corps on the 28th and 29th September 1918, in the Battle of the Canal du Nord. Blair was one of those who fell in the action.

624781 Private James Alexander Bleakly, 10th Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), was KIA on 28 April 1917. Bleakly was 33 years and 10 months old at the time of his enlistment in February 1916.  He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 168 lbs, and he had brown eyes and black hair. He was the fifth son of Robert John Bleakly of Seacon, Ballymoney.  


The 1901 census return shows Robert John Bleakly (66) a farmer, and his wife Sarah Jane (52) and six of their children, John (26), William McKay (24), Samuel C (23), James Alexander (19), Sarah J (15), and  Martha (12). The 1911 return shows Robert John Bleakly (73) a farmer, and his wife Sarah Jane (62) and three of their children, John (36), William McKay (35), and Martha (22). Their servant was Robert McGroggan (34). The couple said in 1911 that they had had nine children of whom eight were still alive.


James Alexander was a teacher and was a former Principal of Tardree and Cushybracken National Schools - these are near Ballymena - before he emigrated to Canada.  There he was Secretary and Treasurer of Two Hills School, Alberta.  He also said he was a merchant and a widower on his attestation form.  


He enlisted in the 151st Battalion in Vegreville, Alberta in February 1916 sometime after the death of his wife.  He left Halifax on the SS California on the 3 October 1916 and landed in Liverpool ten days later. He was transferred to the 9th Reserve Battalion at St Martin's Camp before transferring to the 10th Battalion on 12 November 1916. This battalion participated in every major Canadian battle of the First World War, and was known to its contemporaries simply as The Fighting Tenth.


Bleakly arrived in France on the 13th November and was taken on strength with the 10th Battalion in the field. He was attached to a Canadian Camp Pioneer Company and the 1st Entrenching Battalion for a short time but went back to the 10th Battalion in late April.  The famous Battle of Vimy Ridge was over but an operation was launched on the 28th April to take the Arleux Loop. The operation was aimed at capturing a major German billeting area at Arleux-en-Gohelle.  It went in over open ground and produced serious casualties. Bleakly was one of them and is named on Vimy Memorial.


The war diary for the 10th Battalion for that day reads:


Saturday, April 28, 1917 Weather: bright and clear


The Battalion launched an attack on the enemy positions capturing the village of ARLEUX- EN-GOHELLE and all its objectives in conjunction with the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion. ... The work of consolidation was proceeded with immediately and by night fall the position was in a fairly good state of defence.


The enemy ... opened a barrage immediately on the Right Flank .... a barrage opened on the enemy positions [and] the enemy barrage then slackened .... The reinforcements were brought forward into the action to assist in consolidation and defence.

724650 Private James Boville had joined the 109th Battalion, CEF.  This battalion formed from volunteers from the Ontario counties of Victoria and Haliburton, and, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J.J Fee, was headquartered in the town of Lindsay prior to embarkation. The 109th Battalion’s men were subsequently reallocated as reinforcements to the 20th, 21st, 28th and 124th Battalions; James Boville went to the 20th Battalion.

James Boville‘s Attestation Paper says he was born on the 18 July 1886 (the registration of his birth says 18th July 1884) and that he was single and living in Canada at 99 River Street, Toronto.  He had enlisted on the 1 December 1915 and was then described as being 5’ 5 ½ “ tall with blue eyes and dark brown hair.  He was a Presbyterian and said he was a labourer. He married during the war and later records say his wife Margaret lived in Toronto at various addresses, notably 417, Main Street and at 21, Cambridge Avenue.

James Boville was from the Ballymena area, the son of James Boville (sometimes Bovill or Bovell) , born in the Ballyscullion area of Ardnaglass, Ahoghill, and Margaret Boville, nee Close, of Gloonan, Ahoghill.  The couple had married on the 10 June 1876. His father was then described as a weaver, though on James’s birth registration in 1884 the father is described as a ‘grocer’ in Ahoghill. The family was in Ahoghill for some time and a Boville headstone in the Old Churchyard, Church Street, Ahoghill, dated 1878, says: ‘Erected by James Boville of Ahoghill in memory of his daughter Mary Boville, born 3d Oct 1877, and died aged 14 months’. However, the family had migrated to Belfast in the pre-war period and James on his attestation paper says his father was living at 7, Leroy Avenue, Belfast. This is just off the Crumlin Road in the Ballysillan area of the city and the 1910 Ulster Street Directory describes James Bovell (sic) as a labourer.

Boville left Canada in July 1916 and was at Liverpool by the end of the month. He transferred at Witley Camp to the 20th Battalion on the 28/29 November 1916 and joined his unit in the field on the 4 December.  He was killed on the 5 April 1917 while serving with the 20th Battalion, Canadian Infantry and during the period immediately before the start of the Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge (9-12th April 1917).

 According to the 20th Battalion war Diary the unit had on the evening of the 4 April ‘relieved the 28th Canadian Battalion in the right sub-section, Thelus Sector’ and on the 5th April they were ‘holding the front line ... with three Companies in the line, one in support in Zivy Cave.’ It also records the heavy artillery barrage by Allied guns, part of the build up for the main battle on the 9th, and finally says, ‘Casualties: 1 Officer wounded and two Other Ranks killed’. One of the O.R.s was James Boville. (The Canadians had dug tunnels through the chalk slope of Vimy Ridge so that they could move troops closer to the ‘Start Line’ without suffering needless casualties. Zivy Cave was a cavern in one of these and was large enough to hold an entire battalion).

The Circumstances of Death Register says as follows: ‘On the morning of the 5-4-17, this soldier, while in the front line midway between Zivy Sap and Zivy Trench, was killed by the explosion of a shell.

He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont St Eloi.

163291 Private Robert Boville, ‘A’ Company, 75th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, who died on the 18 November 1916, was the 36-year-old brother of James.
163291 Private Robert Boville, ‘A’ Company, 75th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, was killed in action on the 18th November 1916.  He was 36 years old and at attestation said his wife Sarah lived at St Mary Street, Toronto. Several other addresses in East Toronto are found in his record and he appears at times to have shared accommodation with his brother James, notably at 21, Cambridge Avenue and 417, Main Street, East Toronto. However, the CWGC website says his wife was ‘Sarah Boville, of 295, Ashdale Avenue, Toronto’.

Robert Boville was from the Ballymena area, the son of James Boville (sometimes Bovill or Boveel) , born in the Ballyscullion area of Ardnaglass, Ahoghill, and Margaret Boville, nee Close, of Gloonan, Ahoghill.  The couple had married on the 10 June 1876. His father was then described as a ‘weaver’, though on Robert’s birth registration, his birthday dated on 27 April 1880, the father is described as a ‘linen manufacturer’ in Ahoghill. The family was obviously in Ahoghill for some time and a Boville headstone in the Old Churchyard, Church Street, Ahoghill, dated 1878, says, ‘Erected by James Boville of Ahoghill in memory of his daughter Mary Boville, born 3rd Oct 1877, and died aged 14 months’. However, the family had migrated to Belfast in the pre-war period and Robert on his attestation paper says his father was living at 7, Leroy Avenue, Belfast. This is just off the Crumlin Road in the Ballysillan area of the city and the 1910 Ulster Street Directory describes James Bovell (sic), 7, Leroy Street as a labourer.

Robert’s attestation paper says he was born on the 17 April 1889 (birth registration says 27 April 1880) and that he was a 5’ 7” tall labourer with blue eyes and light brown hair.   He was a Presbyterian and he said he had served in a local militia.

He enlisted in the 109th Battalion, CEF on the 3rd August 1915 but was transferred to the 84th Battalion.  He left Halifax, Canada in June 1916 aboard the SS Empress of Britain and was posted to the 75th Battalion at departure on the 30 June 1916.  He complete trained in England and was at ‘Havre’ on the 12 August 1916. He was soon with his unit in the field and was killed in action on the 18 November 1916.

The War Diary says that ‘on the morning of the 18 November 1916 at 6.10 am a successful attack was made on Desire Trench by this Battalion, with the 54th on the left and the 50th on the right. The 50th Battalion ... failed to capture their objective and consequently our Battalion was exposed to a heavy enfilade fire and continuous sniping from enemy trench on our right. We established a block in Desire Trench a few yards west of Pys Road and dug a new trench parallel to and about 100 yards north of Desire Trench. This position was held by us until relieved at 5 am on the 20th November by the 102nd Battalion.’

The 75th Battalion had 41 men killed and Robert Boville’s name appears as the second name on their listing. The Circumstances of Death Register confirms that no one knew exactly what had happened him, and hence him being posted initially as missing in action, when it says ‘this soldier took part in the attack on Desire Trench, Courcelette, but the circumstances under which he met his death are not available.’ He has no grave and is listed on the Vimy Memorial.
140021 Private Matthew Boyd enlisted in the 75th Battalion, Canadian Infantry on the 23 July 1915 and said he had previously served in a militia, the 9th Mississauga Horse. He was a single man, Presbyterian and a labourer. His papers record his birthday as 29 April 1894 and say he was 5’ 9” tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He said he was originally from Taylorstown, Grange Corner and he nominated his mother as his next of kin.  She was Caroline Nicholl-Boyd of Taylorstown, later of Dunturky, Ballynure. Neither Mathew of his mother can be positively identified in the Irish census of 1901 or 1911, though in 1911 a 16-year-old Matthew Boyd was working as a farm servant at Ballyboley, an area close to Ballynure.

Matthew Boyd sailed from Montreal aboard the SS Scandinavian on the October 1915 and arrived in England on the 9th October.  He went to the 23rd Reserve Battalion and then to the 24th Battalion for service in France after the 8 March 1917. He was attached to the 5th Light Mortar Battery  on the 3 October 1917 and was wounded in action on the 7 November 1917.  He died of his wounds at 10 Casualty Clearing Station.

829213 Private Daniel Boyle, 44th Battalion, CEF, lived at 173 Chalmers Ave, Winnipeg and he described himself as a labourer.  He also said he was born on the 7 June 1894 and was 24 years 5 months and old when he joined the forces. He attestation paper says he was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 148 lbs, and he had blue eyes and brown hair. He was a Presbyterian.


Daniel Boyle said he was originally from Carnalbana, County Antrim.  The family do not appear to have completed census returns in 1901 or 1911 and so we have only such details as are provided by the soldier's own papers and his CWGC entry. The later says he was the son of W. J. and Katherine Boyle, of Drumcrow; this is near Carnalbana.  He listed his aunt as his next of kin and said she was Mrs Robert Young, Carnalbana, Broughshane. Earlier he had nominated his brother William as his next of kin, giving his address as c/o Mrs Esther Young, Co Antrim, Ireland. Robert, an agricultural labourer,  and Esther Young and all eight of their children were living in Carnalbana in 1911. Another Boyle brother, James, is referred to in his record as the blacksmith in Carnalbana.


Daniel Boyle enlisted in the 144th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles), CEF on the 30 November 1915 and left Canada from Halifax aboard the SS Olympic on the 18 September 1916.  He arrived in Liverpool on the 25 September, completed his training, and was transferred to the 44th Battalion at Seaford on the 13 January 1917.  He was at the main Canadian depot in France the next day and on the 9 February was taken on strength with the 44th Battalion in the field.  He served with them until he received shrapnel wounds to his abdomen on the 29 October 1917.  This probably happened in the aftermath of fighting at Decline Copse, a skirmish that was part of the Passchendaele action.  He was rushed to 44th Casualty Clearing Station and died there. Somewhat ironically the diary for the day reads:


"Relief complete" sent in at 2.40 a.m. No casualties on way out to camp at POTIJZE, I.9.a.25.15. Battalion left YPRES Station at 1.00 p.m. by train, arriving BRANDHOEK about 1.45 p.m. Marched to ERIE Camp, G.11.c.


Transport moved from POTIJZE to ERIE Camp by march route. No casualties.


He is buried in Nine Elms British Cemetery.  The cemetery was begun and used by the 3rd Australian and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations when they moved to Poperinghe (now Poperinge), from Brandhoek and Lijssenthoek respectively, in September 1917. Nearly all the burials in Plots I to IX came from these Casualty Clearing Stations, whilst they operated in this area during the 1917 Battle of Ypres, up until December 1917.

830050 Private John Brown enlisted in the 144th Battalion, CEF in Winnipeg on the 28 December 1915 and said he lived at 304 Laura Street in the city. He also indicated that he was almost 34 years old and a CNR (Canadian National Railway) employee.  His papers say he stood 5’ 9” tall, and that he had blue eyes and brown hair. He said he was born on the 14 May 1882, but local registration papers indicate he was actually born on the 2nd October 1881, the son of James and Jane Brown, nee Hollinger, of Aghavary, Ahoghill. Mr James Brown, Aghavary was John’s nominated next of kin. John was a Presbyterian but his name does not appear in listings of serving men for Ahoghill churches.

The 1901 census return shows the family living on a farm at Aghavary, Ballyscullion, quite close to Ahoghill. James Brown was a farmer and widower aged 50 years.  He listed seven children on the return: Rachel (19, linen weaver, born at Gillistown, Ahoghill on 20 January 1875), David (18, linen weaver), John (17, farmer, born 2nd October 1881), Maria (12 – born 10 Jan. 1887), Robert (10), George (9) and Joseph (7).

James was still in Aghavary in 1911.  He was supposedly 70 years old and Maria (20) and George (18) lived with him. His wife Jane, a 43 year old, had died on the 20 March 1895.

830415 Private Joseph Brown, 44th Battalion, Canadian Infantry [see below], was the brother of John. He too lived at 304 Laura Street. The two brothers also appear together on the 144th Battalion Nominal Roll, September 1916. Another brother, George, Aghavary, Ahoghill, is the named beneficiary of John’s will that is found among his papers.

The 144th Battalion left Halifax aboard the SS Olympic on the 18 September 1916 and John and Joseph disembarked in England on the 25th September. John went to the 18th Reserve Battalion to finish his training and then transferred to the 44th Battalion on the 16/17th February 1917.  He served without incident throughout the war and won the Military Medal for his bravery in the field (London Gazette, 30389, page 11975, 16 November 1917).

He was selected for return to England on the 2 April 1919 and then left Liverpool for Quebec aboard the Empress of Britain on the 28 May 1919. He reached his destination on the 4 June and was discharged from the army four days later.


Extract from 144th Battalion Nominal Roll, 18th September 1916

830415 Private Joseph Brown, 44th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, lived at 304 Laura Street, Winnipeg, and enlisted in the 144th (Winnipeg Rifles) Battalion, a unit which began recruiting in late 1915 in that city. After sailing to England in September 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion on January 12, 1917, as Brown's record indicates.


Joseph Brown said at his enlistment that he was born in Ahoghill on the 14 August 1892, and that he was a labourer.  He was then 25 years and 5 months old and single. He was 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall and had grey eyes and black hair.  He said his father was James Brown, also of Ahoghill, and in his will mentions his brother Robert Brown of Millquarter, Toomebridge. The family were Presbyterians.


The 1901 census return shows the family living on a farm at Aghavary, Ballyscullion, quite close to Ahoghill. James Brown was a farmer and widower aged 50 years.  He listed seven children on the return: Rachel (19, linen weaver), David (18, linen weaver), John (17, farmer), Maria (12), Robert (10), George (9) and Joseph (7).  James was still in Aghavary in 1911.  He was supposedly 70 years old and Maria (20) and George (18) lived with him.


Joseph enlisted in January 1916 and, basic training over, he left Halifax on the SS Olympic bound for Liverpool on the 18 September 1916. He arrived there on the 25 September.  He was transferred from the 144th (Winnipeg Rifles) Battalion and absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion at Seaford on the 12 January 1917 and then in February 1917 he transferred to the 44th (Manitoba) Battalion for transfer to France (The 44th Battalion recruited in and was mobilized at Winnipeg, Manitoba, but in August of 1918, the 44th (Manitoba) Battalion was renamed the 44th (New Brunswick) Battalion, CEF).  He was at the Canadian Base Depot on the 19 February and was taken on strength with his unit on the 22 February.


He was wounded by a shell on the 10 May 1917, receiving shrapnel strikes to his right buttock, back and left ear. He went via 6th CCS and 2nd Australian General Hospital to England on the St Denis and was admitted to Whitecross Military Hospital in Warrington on the 15 May. He was at a military convalescent hospital in Holywood, Co Down in July and at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Hillingdon House, Uxbridge in August.  He wasn't released to the 1st Canadian Command Depot at Shorncliffe until the 24 August and they sent him to the 18th Reserve Battalion at East Sandling on the 9 October.  He left them to return to the 44th Battalion on the 16 November, finally rejoining his unit in the field on the 23 November 1917.


His record tells us little of what happened thereafter, recording only that he died of shrapnel wounds to his left leg at 22 CCS on the 28 September 1918. He was buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, just south of Arras. From early April to early August 1918 this cemetery was not used but in September and October, the 22nd, 30th and 33rd Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS) came to Boisleux-au-Mont and extended it, hence Joseph's burial there.

3030887 Private Robert Brownlee, 31st Battalion, C E F, said he was born in Ballymena but that is at the moment the only definite evidence that he was. He and his wife Agnes lived in Sioux City, Iowa, USA, firstly at 1013 Grant Street and then 1306 Dace Street,  and it was from Sioux City that he set out to join the Canadian forces in 1917.


He was born on 31 September 1886 and he was a labourer,  He stood 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 150 lbs.  He had blue eyes and brown hair, and he was an Anglican.  He was 31 years and 1 month old when he enlisted in the 1st Depot Battalion of the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment at No 1 Central Ontario Regimental Depot in Toronto on the 30 October 1917.


He left Halifax a board the SS Scandinavian bound for Liverpool on the 3 February 1918 and arrived at his destination on the 16 February.  He went to the East Sandling camp, was sent to the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment, but was then transferred to the 102nd Battalion for overseas service at the start of June 1918. He went to France with the 102nd Battalion but Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp transferred him to the 31st Battalion in August 1918 and it was with them that he saw active service in France.  He served without incident for about nine months until granted a 14 day leave in the UK in March 1919.  Shortly thereafter he was returned to Canada on the SS Caronia from Liverpool. He was discharged from No 2 District Depot, Toronto on 24 May 1919.

18615 Sapper Thomas Pinkerton Bruce, though associated with Galahad, Alberta, enlisted at Valcartier Camp, Toronto on the 23 September 1914. He was said to be 5’ 6 ½ “ tall with green eyes and auburn hair.  He said he was born on the 30 March 1889 (registration of birth says 29 March 1889), that he was a Presbyterian, single and a labourer. He said his father was William Bruce, Duneane, Toome.

The 1911 Irish census records William Bruce, 64 and a farmer, at Duneane/Cloghogue, with his wife Sarah Ann, 51.  The couple said they had been married for 33 years and that they had had ten children.  Records confirm William had married Sarah Ann Stewart in 2nd Randalstown Presbyterian Church on the 15 April 1878. All their children were alive in 1911. They listed Maggie Jane (16) and Albert Edward (12) and granddaughter Maggie Dunseath (6) as being present on the day of the census.

The family were also at Duneane/Cloghogue in 1901. William was 53 and Sarah 43.  They listed five children: Thomas (12 – born 29/3/1889), Stewart (9 – born 31/10/91), Mary J (7 – born 20/9/94), Elizabeth (5 – born 3/5/96) and Albert (2 – born 19/11/98). Their other children who do not appear in census returns were William James (18/1/79), Ann (21/5/1880), Robert (8/2/82), John Stewart (14/12/83, and Francis (6/1/87).

Thomas left Canada aboard the SS Zealand in October 1914 and trained with the 9th Reserve Battalion before going to France and Flanders in April 1915 with the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry. He remained with then until the 13 March 1916 when he was posted on attachment to the 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company, Canadian Engineers.  He was permanently transferred to the unit in January 1917 and remained with them until he was returned to England in April 1919. He suffered no injuries during his service.

Thomas Bruce was demobilised on the 23 April 1919 and went back to Alberta.  He died on the 24 April 1958.

844127 Private John Burby was, according to his own testimony that was given when he enlisted in the 149th Battalion on the 11 March 1916 in Sarnia, Ontario, born in Ballymena.  He also said his next of kin was his brother Joseph, then living in Philadelphia, USA.


Burby gave his date of birth as 14 April 1896 and said he was a labourer.   He was then single, almost 20 years old and 5 feet 9 inches tall.  He had blue eyes, brown hair and he weighed 155 lbs.  He was a Presbyterian. 

 

John Burby never served in the forces.  He was 'declared illegally absent', a deserter, and struck off strength.


Burby is a rare name, especially around Ballymena.  Only one family of that name occurs in the census returns and they lived at Carclunty (now Carclinty, Dunminning, Cullybackey. William James Burby, 48 and a labourer, was the head of the family in 1911 and Maggie (40) was his wife. They shared their home with Joseph Spence, 18 and a stepson, and John (14), Matilda (13) and William (11).   M(ary) Ellan sic Davidson, his 62 year old widowed mother in law, lived with then too. They also appear in the 1901 return.


John's brother in Philadelphia appears to be his half brother.  His brother, Private William,  S/5140 of the 11th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was KIA on August 21st, 1916.  He is named on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme. He is remembered in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey.

2728022 Sapper Alexander Calderwood, Canadian Engineers,  was living at 4102 West Carroll Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA when he enlisted in the Canadian Engineers, but he was the son of Alexander Calderwood, a stone mason and bricklayer, who lived at Duneaney, Glarryford, and his wife Eliza.  Alexander Sen. was 43 in 1901, his wife 42.  They listed  six children on their census return. They were Matthew (16), Lizzie (12), William J (10), Sarah J (8), Alexander (6) and Agnes (3). The parents and Sarah J (17), Alexander (16) and Agnes (13)are listed in 1911, as is a new child, Martha Lowry Calderwood (8). The parents said they had had eight children, seven of whom were still alive in 1911


Alexander said he had been born on the 18 September 1894.  He was single, 24 years old, 6 feet tall, and he weighed 162 lbs. He had blue eyes and brown hair and he was a Presbyterian.


The war was almost over when he enlisted on 28 September 1918 in Toronto, but he did go to the Engineer Training Depot, Brockville, Ontario. However, he saw no active service and was discharged from the Canadian Army on the 10 December 1918.

2529345 Trooper John Calderwood, Canadian Mounted Rifles, lived at 537 Springfield Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA when he enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles on the 19 July 1917.  He was originally from County Antrim and his parents were Matthew and Rachael Calderwood, Glenbuck, Glarryford, and he is named on the tablet in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey. The 1911 census indicated that his father, aged 40,  was a shoemaker and butcher (he had been a farmer in the 1901 return), and that his mother Rachel (or Rachael) was then 43 years old and the mother of eight children, all of whom were alive in 1911.  John (17) was the eldest child listed on census day and there were five younger children, Sarah (15), Agnes (11), Annie (7), Alexander (6) and Margretta (4).


John Calderwood was born on the 4 March 1894 and was 23 years and 4 months old when he enlisted.  He was single, weighed 133 lbs and was 5 feet 7 ¼ inches tall.  He had grey eyes and brown hair.  He worked as a book keeper.


John Calderwood enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles and trained with them but there is no evidence that he ever went on active service.  He was at Canadian Army Mounted Corps (CAMC) Training Depot No 2 until transferred to the Canadian Garrison Regiment on the 1 August 1918. He was demobilised, struck off strength, on the 7 December 1918. His address at the time was 36 Gloucester Street, Toronto, Canada.

342380 Gunner Thomas Calderwood, 7th Battery, 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, lived at 433 West 24th Street, New York City at the time of his enlistment (later 271 West 141st Street and 160 Manhattan Avenue), as did his next of kin Alexander Calderwood, his father. He was, however, born in Co Antrim and he is remembered on the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 in the listing for Killymurris Presbyterian Church, Glarryford.


The family are listed in the 1901 census return and they were living in Killydonnelly, Glenbuck. Alexander, then 47 and a widowed farmer, listed seven children, John (16), Sarah J (14), William (12), Hannah (11), Thomas (8), Mary E (6) and Smyth (3).  They do not appear in the 1911 census returns and appear to have emigrated before then.


Thomas Calderwood was born on 12 July 1893 and he was 24 years and 7 months old when he enlisted in Toronto, Canada on the 11 February 1918.  He was 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall and he weighed 144 lbs.  He had blue eyes and brown hair. He was employed as a tin foil maker.


Thomas enlisted late in the war but went on active service. He was initially with the 71st Depot Artillery Brigade and left Halifax, Nova Scotia n the 9 April 1918 aboard SS Metagama, arriving in Liverpool on the 19 April.  He was taken on strength at Witley Camp and went overseas to France on the 17 August 1918.  He was at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on the 23 August and from there was posted to the 7th Battery, 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field artillery.  He served with them to the end of the war and beyond, being finally sent to England for return to Canada in March 1919.  He left Southampton aboard the SS Olympic in April and was discharged from the army in Montreal on 23 April 1919.

2528390 Private William Calderwood, 116th Battalion, enlisted in Toronto and initially gave his address as 2649 Orchard Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA, but he was the son of Alexander Calderwood, a stone mason and bricklayer, who lived at Glen View House, Duneaney, Glarryford, and his wife Eliza (Elizabeth). William was also the brother of 2728022 Sapper Alexander Calderwood, Canadian Engineers.


Alexander Sen. was 43 in 1901, his wife 42.  They listed  six children on their census return. They were Matthew (16), Lizzie (12), William J (10), Sarah J (8), Alexander (6) and Agnes (3). The parents and Sarah J (17), Alexander (16) and Agnes (13) are listed in 1911, as is a new child, Martha Lowry Calderwood (8). The parents said they had had eight children, seven of whom were still alive in 1911. 


William Calderwood was born on the 21 August 1890 and was 26 years and 10 months old when he joined the army.  He was single, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and he weighed about 163 lbs.  He had grey eyes and brown hair.  He worked as a bus conductor. He was a Presbyterian and he is remembered on the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 in the listing for Killymurris Presbyterian Church, Glarryford. 


William Calderwood trained in Canada from July to October 1917 and then sailed on the 20 October from Halifax to England aboard the SS Scandinavian. He reached Liverpool on the 1 November  and was taken on strength at Shorncliffe Camp next day.  He was transferred to the 116th Battalion at East Sandling for overseas service and was soon in France.  He was at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CCRC) on the 1 March 1917 and with his unit on the 23 March.  He served with them until the 12 August 1918.


He was wounded during the Allied counter attacks that followed the failure of the German Spring Offensive. These began with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August of 1918 and ended with the Armistice on 11 November 1918. This period of the War is often referred to as 'Canada's Hundred Days' due to the substantial role played by the Canadian Corps.  Calderwood was hit by shell shrapnel while at Roye (near Amiens) just four days after the attacks began and was initially posted as 'Missing in Action'.  It soon became clear he was wounded and a POW in Germany. 


He was repatriated at the end of the war and went immediately to hospital, notably to Lewisham Hospital, No 11 Canadian General Hospital, Orpington, Kent and 5th Canadian General Hospital, Westminster Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool.  He was returned to Montreal, Canada on the SS Megantic from Liverpool in June 1919, but was again hospitalised for a time at  St. Anne's Hospital, Quebec .  He was eventually discharged as medically unfit from the army at Montréal on the 10 December 1919.


The shell had exploded to Calderwood's right side.  He had minor wounds to his right thumb and upper right arm, but the real damage was to his right leg, notably the section beneath the knee.  He healed after several operations, the first two in Germany, but the records show the scale of the injury.  He was described as having leg scars, 2 x ¾ inches, 8 x ¾ inches, 6 x 1 ½, 3 ½ x ½ inches, he had had fractures of both leg bones, some calf muscles showed signs of atrophy, there was backward bowing of the knee and he walked with a limp. His recovery would take a long time and some damage would have been permanent.

160496 James Cameron, 50th Battalion, Canadian Infantry enlisted in Calgary in the 82nd Battalion on the 6 October 1915. He was the son of James and Sarah Cameron, originally from Ballymena,  and he gave his parents' address as 52 Brookhill Avenue, Cliftonville, Belfast.


The 1901 census return shows the family living in Antrim town. James, 38 and a power loom tenter, and his wife Sarah (38) had six children, Nellie (15), Jeannie (12), James (9),Margaret Service (7), Wilhelmina (4) and David Kennedy (1).  The 1911 return shows them in Belfast. James, 48 and a foreman power loom tenter, still lived with Sarah (48) and their six children. Ellen ('Nellie') was 25 and worked selling millinery, Jane (22) was a telephone operator, James (19) was a shipping clerk and Margaret (17), Wilhelmina (14) and David (11) were scholars.


James Cameron, single, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 155 lbs, had blue eyes and black hair.  He worked as an accountant.


He must have been among the first men to enlist in the 82nd Battalion. The 82nd Battalion was authorized on 10 July 1915 a embarked for Britain on 20 May 1916 where it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. On 18 July 1916 its personnel were absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion, CEF. The battalion was subsequently disbanded on 21 May 1917. Cameron's record corresponds.  He left Halifax aboard the  Empress of Britain with the unit on the 20 May and arrived in Liverpool on the 29 May.  He transferred to the 9th Reserve Battalion with the rest of the men and was then transferred to the 50th Battalion (Calgary) for overseas service. He was with the unit in France on the 7 September 1916. It fought as part of the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.


He was reported MIA (Missing in Action) on the 19 November 1916 and later that day as 'wounded'.  He passed through the hands Nos. 11 and 12 Canadian Field Ambulance and ended up at No 9 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS), but he had suffered no more than contusion, bruising to his back.  He was back at his unit o the 29 November.


Cameron was a good soldier and rose through the ranks, reaching the position of Sergeant on 31 March 1917.  He also won the Military Medal for gallantry. However, we know little of what happened to him thereafter.  He was wounded on the 5 June 1917 and died of his wounds at No 6 CCS. He was buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension, France.


The records of the 50th Battalion would suggest that the battalion was to be relieved from duty in the trenches and to go to their old quarters at Vancouver Dump, Chateau de la Haie.  They were going to stop at Souchez Dump for a meal and would then be given transport for the remainder of their journey. During the withdrawal, which started with small parties leaving the line from about 10.30 pm on the night of the 4 June, ' 3 ORs' were killed and '16 ORs' were wounded. James Cameron was probably one of these ORs (Other Ranks).

13225 Regimental Sergeant Major Thomas Cameron, Canadian Army Service Corps, was the son of Mr James Cameron, Ballymena and was a single man working as a 'motorman' or mechanic in Canada when WW1 began.  


Thomas Cameron had been born on the 30 September 1884. He was 5 feet 11 ¼ inches tall, weighed 165 lbs and he had grey eyes and black hair. He has been in South Africa and had served 18 months with the South African Constabulary prior to his arrival in Canada. He enlisted at Valcartier on the 23 September 1914 and was to serve until discharged medically unfit aged 33 and 10 months on the 3 July 1918.


He left Canada for overseas service with the 5th Bn Canadian Infantry and while with them was wounded in an attack at Festubert on the 24th May 1915.  A bullet passed through his right arm just above the wrist and fractured his radius.  He was moved by the usual routes to HS Dieppe and onward to England.  He was treated at the Southern General Hospital, Birmingham, Orchard Military Hospital, Dartford, Kent and the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bromley.  It was about this time, late 1915 when he was in hospital with influenza,  that he began his transfer from the 32nd reserve Battalion to the Canadian Army Service Corps.  He had also married by this time, his next of kin now being Mrs Alice Cameron, 9 North Road, Richmond , Surrey.


RSM Thomas Cameron and his wife returned to Canada and appear to have settled in Quebec.

461065 Sergeant Alexander Carlisle, enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the 28 June 1915, but he was originally from Tullynamullan, Kells. He was the son of David (52) and Lizzie Carlisle (45), farmers and grocers, and the 1901 census lists six children, Lizzie Graham (19), John (17), Rachel (16), Alexander (14), Matilda (8) and David (11); there was also a servant, Ellin (sic) Baeck (22). David and Elizabeth, 63 & 60, in the 1911 census, still lived with David (21), Tillie (18), and a servant called David McMullan (62).


 Alexander was born on 4th July 1887. He had moved to Canada before 1914 and, a single men,  was living in Winnipeg (He was demobilised to 1182 Garfield Street, Winnipeg, and is later associated with Elkdale, Manitoba) and working as a locomotive fireman.  He was 5' 9 ½", 175 lbs and of a fair complexion, and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was aged 28 and 11 months when he enlisted in June 1915, and training over, he arrived in England on the SS Metagama in September. He was soon in France and Belgium and was to serve with the 27th Battalion (He enlisted in the 61st) approximately 23/24 months on active service.  He was  promoted to Sergeant, won the Military Medal ('in the field', 13th May 1918) and was wounded three times. The first wound was a painful but slight GSW (gunshot wound) to the scalp, the second a slight shrapnel wound to his right arm and for this latter he was treated for 17 days at No 4 Stationary Hospital in Arques,  St Omer.  The third wound was serious.  He was serving in the Ypres area at Passchendaele when he was struck on the right side by shrapnel, the damage, as recorded in Birmingham War Hospital, continuing from his right shoulder to his hip. He recovered well, though he had impaired strength in right leg and arm thereafter, and he was discharged in Canada on the 20th August 1918. He died in Canada on 1st May 1939.

91422 Private John Patrick Casey was born in Ballymena on 10th September 1888 and he enlisted in the 31st Battery, 8th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery on the 26th June 1915, stating that he had previously served for over two years in the Missauga Horse, a militia unit. A single man, he named his aunt, Jane Casey, Castle Street (1901 Census says Coach Entry), Ballymena, as his next of kin. He was 5' 6" tall and had blue eyes and black hair, and he said he worked as a moving picture operator. John Patrick Casey never left Canada.  He was struck off strength at Niagara Camp on the 13th/14th August 1915, 'undesirable' being written on his file.
144948 Private James Clarke, probably from Ahoghill (a James Clarke is named in 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church lists, and a James Clarke, son of Henry and Martha, nee Small, of Ballyminstra townland, Ahoghill was born on the 8 October 1876. This is probably the man, though the link is tenuous.), lived with his wife Annie and three children in Toronto, at 343 Harvie Avenue when he enlisted on the 17th August 1915, and he worked as a hand riveter. He was then 39¾, (stated birthday 5 October 1897, an error given his stated age. 1915 enlistment - 39 or 40 = 1876/1875), 5' 2½" tall and he had blue eyes and dark hair; he enlisted in Smith Falls, Ontario.  He did his military training and sailed to England on the SS Californian in November 1915, but he never got to any active zone.  He was diagnosed with hearing problems in both ears and the West Cliff Canadian Eye and Ear Hospital recommended his discharge on medical grounds.  He returned to Canada on the SS Scandinavian in May 1916.
147061 Lance Corporal Daniel Close, 78th Battalion, enlisted in Winnipeg on the 1 July 1915, stating that he had previously served in the 100th Grenadiers, a militia unit.   He said at attestation that he was a Roman Catholic, a single man and a labourer.  The record shows that he was just 5’ 4 ½ “ tall and that he had hazel eyes and auburn hair.

Daniel Close said he was born on 20 May 1888 at Glenravel in County Antrim. Registration of birth documents say he was born on the 23 May 1886, the son of Alexander and Annie (nee McCann) Close, Legagrane, Dunaghy, Co Antrim - this embraces Glanravel - and that his father was a miner.

The 1901 Irish census transcript shows the family at Crumlin, Co Antrim.  This is an error and Constable McNabb’s ‘Enumerator’s Abstract’, part of the original form, records the place as ‘N T Crommelin’ (Newtowncrommelin) and refers to ‘Legagrane’, ‘Dunaghy’ and ‘Martinstown’, all adjacent townlands.  Some of these would have been associated with mining in 1901.

The 1901 census says Alex Close was 43 and an iron ore miner, his wife Annie 43.  They listed the following children as being present at the time of the census: Mary Gertrude, 20 and a barmaid, Anne Jane, 18 and a ‘monitoress’, Rosetta, 16 and a shop assistant, Daniel (14), Alexander Joseph (13), Ellen Sarah (10), Francis James (9), Maggie Theresa (7), Bridget Catherine (4) and Patrick Alphonsus sic (2, born 7 Nov. 1898).


The 1911 census records the family at Aughafatten, Longmore, an area closer to Broughshane. Alex, 56 was a farmer and his wife Annie was 57.  The couple said they had been married for 31 years and that 10 of their 11 children were still alive at the time of the census. They listed the following children that day – Dannie sic (24), Alex (23), Francis (19), Bridget Catherine (14) and Winnifred sic (9).

Daniel Close left Halifax aboard the Empress of Britain and arrived in Liverpool on the 30 May 1916.  He went overseas for service from Southampton and was in Le Havre on the 13 August 1916. He remained in France and Flanders until the 22 November that year.  He was struck by shrapnel, suffering damage to his left arm and scalp.  He was treated in England at the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester and at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom.

He was back in France after the 20 April 1917 and was to remain there until the 22 August 1918. He was again struck by shrapnel, this time on the left shoulder.  The wound wasn’t life threatening though bits of metal were embedded and had subsequently to be removed by surgery. He was treated at the 3rd Australian General Hospital, Abbeville, then moved to the County of Middlesex War Hospital, St Albans, and later to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. He was discharged from the latter on the 1 November 1918.

Daniel Close was discharged from the CEF on the 5 March 1919 and he opted to remain in the UK.

59175 Lance Corporal Thomas Hill Cochrane, 21st Bn. (East Ontario Regiment), came originally from the Craigs, Cullybackey and was the son of John and Margaret Cochrane, Craigs, Cullybackey. John Henry Cochrane had been born in 1852 at Woodgrange, Downpatrick, Co Down, and Margaret, nee Taylor, was born at Ballycastle in 1850. John in the 1901 census is described as a coachman and domestic servant; four children are listed: Annie (24), Minnie (23), Emma (13) and Thomas (9), though there were perhaps ten or eleven children in the completed family. 


Thomas Hill Cochrane had emigrated to Canada in 1910.  He was a factory hand in a rubber enterprise when he married Bertha McDonald of Hope, Ontario in December 1912.  The couple lived in Bowmanville, Ontario.


He had been born on 13th September 1891, and at the time of his enlistment on the 6th November 1914, he was said to stand 5' 7½" tall and to have had blue eyes and brown hair.


He arrived in England aboard the SS Metagama in May 1915, was promoted to Lance Corporal in June, and he sailed aboard St Seiriol from Folkestone in September 1915 to join the 21st Battalion.  He had a short military career and died of wounds to his chest which had been inflicted by a German sniper while Cochrane was trying to recover a wounded comrade. He died while being treated by No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance on the 11th November 1915. The diary for the day reads:


Enemy artillery moderate, only 3 shells being sent over our lines. Bombing and Rifle fire also quiet. Extract from our patrol report: We went out to the enemy wire and continued working where we left off previous night ... Casualties 1 killed and 2 badly wounded.


Transcribed War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF by Al Lloyd and John 'Sarge' Sergeant of the 21st Battalion Discussion group


Cochrane was one of the casualties and died later that day. The soldier who was killed instantly in the same incident was 60062 Private E. Wilkie.


His brother was Sergeant John Harvey Cochrane, 18891, 12th  Royal Irish Rifles, whose wife Jeannie lived at 32, Harperstown, Craigs, Cullybackey. He was KIA on March 24th, 1918 at St. Quentin, Somme - see Virtual Memorial entry.


Another brother was Lieutenant Hugh Henry Cochrane, Canadian forces.  He was born on 15th April 1879 and was married to Mary Florence Cochrane. The couple lived in Athabasca, Alberta and he served in the Royal North West Mounted Police.  He had previously spent fifteen years in the Scottish Yeomanry and had served in the South African Constabulary.


Bertha Cochrane remarried in April 1919 and became Mrs Bertha Sederquist, 972½ Queen's Street West, Toronto.


Cochrane Family Grave in Craigs Parish Church, Craigs, Cullybackey
141042 Acting Lance Corporal John Cohoon enlisted in the 75th Battalion in Toronto on the 26th July 1915, stating that he had previously served in the 9th Mississauga Horse, a militia. He gave his address as 539, Delaware Avenue, Toronto, later 192, Barnsdale Avenue, Longbranch, Ontario. His papers show that he was born on the 29 November 1892, that he was an Anglican, a motor mechanic and single. He was also shown to be 5’ 4 ½ “ tall with brown hair and eyes. He said he was born in Newtownards, Co Down but he gave his father William James’s address as 14, Waveney Avenue, Ballymena.

The family had been in Ballymena for some considerable time.  The 1901 Irish census records them living at Larne Street, Harryville. William James Cohoon, aged 32 and born in Armagh, was an iron turner.  His wife Mary was 30 years old. The couple recorded five children on the day of the census: John (9), Sarah (8), Mary (5), Alice (2) and William James, an infant.  Sarah Dorian, William’s 63-year-old mother-in-law, was also present. Only William’s mother-in-law, wife and son John had been born in Co Down.

Cohoon sailed from Montreal aboard the SS Scandinavian on the 1 October 1915, landed in England, transferred to the 23rd Reserve Battalion, and almost immediately on arrival began to have health problems.  Chronic bronchitis and problems with flat feet were exacerbated by military drill and exposure to inclement weather. The army eventually decided he was unfit for military service and arranged for his return to Canada. He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Sicilian after the 24 March 1916.
150052 Sergeant Andrew Conly, 79th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, enlisted on the 24 July 1915 at Brandon (some records say Winnipeg) and was later to serve with the 15th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.  He was at attestation 5’ 7” tall and he had hazel eyes and light brown hair.  He said he had been born on the 13 December 1890 and that he was working as a conductor. An early address given by him was 345, Elm Wood, Winnipeg. He gave his father’s details when asked to nominate his next of kin.  He was John Conly, Drumcrow, Co Antrim. Andrew Conly was a Presbyterian and his name appears on a list of those serving in the forces and members of Carnalbana Presbyterian Church.

John Conly, 69 and a farmer at Drumcrow, is listed in the 1911 Irish census.  He and his 54-year-old wife Margaret, nee McNeill, had by then been married for 38 years and said they had had eleven children. Nine were still alive. They listed those present on the day of the census as John (37), Susan (35), Andrew (20, born 14 December 1890), Mary (18), Janetta sic (16), and James (14). Martha Irwin, 20 and a teacher, boarded with them.

The family are also listed on the 1901 Irish census.  John (58) and Margaret or Maggie (44) listed John (26), Susannah J (24), Robert (22), Annie (17), Alexander (14), Maggie (12), Andrew (10), Mary (7), Jenetta sic (5) and James (3).

Andrew Conly trained in Canada and then sailed from Montreal aboard the SS Corsican on the 25 September 1915.  He arrived in England and transferred between units several times before training as a Lewis Gun gunner and going to the 14th Battalion.  He went overseas to France and Flanders on the 26 May 1916 and transferred to the 15th Battalion. He was to serve with them to the end of his military career.

He was wounded for the first time in the right shoulder on the 26 September 1916. This wasn’t too serious and, treated by Canadian Field Ambulance, he remained in France and was back with his unit after the 5 October 1916.

He was wounded a second time on the 17 November 1917, this time by shell gas.  He passed through 2 Canadian Field Ambulance and 22 Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to 18 General Hospital, Camiers on the 21 November. He wasn’t discharged to duty until the 21 January 1918.

Conly was wounded a third time on the 30 August 1918, this time by shrapnel which struck him on the right knee. Canadian Field Ambulance unit took him to No 3 Australian General Hospital, Abbeville.  He also spent some time at 5 Convalescent Depot, Cayeux before being fit for duty with his unit after the 27 October 1918.

Conly was returned to England after the 23 March 1919 for return to Canada and went home to be discharged in Toronto on 12 May 1919.

Conly was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the event recoded in the London Gazette, 31370, pg 6861, 3 June 1919.  The citation is published in the London Gazette, 31819, 11 March 1920 and reads as follows:

Extract from London Gazette, 31819, 11 March 1920
Preserved Training Trenches at Former Sewell Camp, later Camp Hughes, Manitoba, Canada.

440354 William Morrow Conly, 53rd Battalion enlisted at Sewell Camp (later named Camp Hughes), Manitoba on the 14 June 1915. He said at attestation that he was born on the 17 November 1893, and the registration of his birth agrees William Morrow Conly, the son of James and Mary, nee Morrow, Conly, was indeed born on the 17 November 1893. At the time of enlistment he was single and a farmer.  He was 5’ 9” tall and had blue-grey eyes and brown hair.  He also said he was a Presbyterian.

He is named on one record of service of those from Canalbana (Carnalbanagh) Presbyterian Church, Broughshane. He said his father was James Conly and the 1911 Irish census records James, 63 and a farmer, and his wife Mary (59) living at Drumcrow, Carnalbanagh. They had been married for 30 years and had had ten children. Nine were alive in 1911.  The couple listed Mary (34), Alexander (26), Lizzie (22) and William (17); Eileen Lamont, a 3-year-old niece, was also there at the time of the census.

The 1901 Irish census also shows them at Drumcrow. James was aged 50 and Mary was aged 48. Kathleen (24), Mary (22), John (20), Alexander (16), James (14), Lizzie (12) and Willie (7) were the children present on census day.

William left Halifax aboard the SS Empress of Britain on the 29 March 1916 and disembarked in Liverpool in early April. He went overseas to France on the 8 June 1916 and he was eventually to serve 26 months with the 25th, 28th and 46th Battalions.  He was wounded while serving with the 28th Battalion in September 1916.
 
He was at No 1 Australian General Hospital in Rouen on the 27 September suffering from shrapnel wounds to his chest and right knee. He was thereafter moved to the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester and was not released to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom until 17 November. He then transferred to the 46th Battalion in France and served without further serious injury – he did incur a dislocated left arm and was in various hospitals around Etaples and Cayeux from the 18 – 23 November 1918 – until returned to England for repatriation to Canada aboard the SS Lapland after the 1 March 1919. He was discharged from the army in Regina on the 26 March 1919.

2595825 Private John Craig, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) was born the son of Robert and Eliza Craig, Gartnacory, Carnlough and he was living with his sister Martha Wells at 242 West 110th Street, Pullman, Chicago, USA and working as a street car conductor when he enlisted in the Canadian army.


The 1901 census records Robert (51) and Eliza (41) and seven children: Joseph (19), Maggie (17), Henry (16), Martha (13), Robert (11), John (9) and Eliza (7); there is no record for 1911 and it is possible the entire family was in the USA by that date.  John was born on the 27th February 1893 and he was 26 years and 5 months old at the time of enlistment. He was 5' 9¼" tall and he brown eyes and light coloured hair. He was single. 


He arrived in England on the SS Metagama in July 1917 and went overseas with the PPCLI.  He was wounded on 27th August 1918, receiving a 'non-penetrating glance wound' to his right chest.  He was evacuated to England aboard the HS Carisbrooke Castle, made a full recovery, and he returned to France on the 1st September 1918. He was back in England  in late September and was returned to Canada. He left the army on the 17th February 1919 and had served just over a year and six months on active service in England and France. His demobilisation address was 4823 Palmer Street, Chicago, Illinois.

237361 Private John Craig, then living at 165 Carlton Street, Toronto, enlisted in the 204th Battalion and went to the 164th Battalion for active service.  He was, however, originally from Fernisky, Kells, his parents being Samuel and Jane Craig. His father (40) was an fireman and engine driver in 1901 and he and Jane (37) listed eight children: Lizzie (17), Martha (15), John (14), Minnie (12), Maggie (11), Jeanie (9), Robert (6) and William (2). The 1911 census lists Samuel (50) as a stoker, Jane (48), Lizzie (26), John (23 and a farmer), Mary (22) and Sarah M (5).


John was born on 10th June 1886 and he was a single labourer of 29 years and 9 months when he enlisted.  He was 5' 8 ½" tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair. He listed his mother as his next of kin but stated that his sister Minnie lived at 71 River Street, Toronto. 


He arrived in England on the SS Saxonia  in April 1917 and was posted to the 164th Battalion, but within two months he was in No 12 Canadian General Hospital being treated for asthma, something he had had since he was about twelve. He was deemed unfit for military service and returned to Halifax, Canada aboard the SS Llandovey Castle in May 1918. He was subsequently discharged on the 8th August 1919 from the forces to 7 Mark Street, Toronto. 


He died on the 30th October 1937. His brother William lived at 89 Mountcollyer Street, Belfast.

114556 Private Robert Craig, 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles (& Borden's Machine Gun Battery), attested in Saskatoon, Canada, but he was originally from Gracehill, Ballymena. The 1901 census shows him living with Joseph (74 and a farmer) and Elizabeth (64) and elements of their family, notably Margaret (26) and John (24).  Robert (11) and Elizabeth (18) were grandchildren. He named Elizabeth (Senior and designated 'mother') as his next of kin but elsewhere in his short military record he says his mother was Mrs Maggie Nicholl (Bicholl sic), Gracehill, Ballymena.


Robert was born on the 24th June 1890. He must have gone to Canada just before 1914 and he worked as a fireman. He was 24½ years old when he enlisted, and stood 5' 8 ¼ tall; he had blue eyes and fair hair, and he was single.


His military career was short.  He arrived in England in December 1915, and on the 10 June 1916 he transferred to Borden's Machine Gun Battery for overseas service.  He was with his unit after the 15th June and was killed in action while serving with them on the 27 September 1916.

2293619 Private Samuel Craig was called up in Winnipeg on the 8 November 1917 under the Military Service Act, 1917 and drafted to Lord Strathcona’s Horse.  He was then living at 300 Fountain Street, Winnipeg. The 5’ 7” tall labourer had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was a single labourer and was a Presbyterian. He nominated his father as his next of kin. He was William Craig, Ballykeel, Ballymena.

The 1911 Irish census lists William Craig, a 63-year-old farmer, and his 52-year-old wife Agnes (Nancy). The couple said they had been married for 30 years and that they had had seven children. William Craig, a widower, and Nancy Houston, both from Drumrammer, Ahoghill, had married on the 9 November 1880 in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church in Ballymena. All their offspring were alive in 1911.  They listed James (29 – born 15/11/1881), Samuel (24 – born 12/5/86), Lizzie (21 – born 7/1/89), Rosetta (18 – born 10/10/91), Mary (17 – born 9/8/94) and Robert (13 – born Robert Alex 22/11/97).  Only the latter two were born at Ballykeel. The others, included the unlisted John, born 21/1/84, were born at Drumrammer, Ahoghill.

William was said to be 50 in 1901, Nancy 40, and William’s brother James (68) lived with them.  They listed John (17), Samuel (14), Eliza (11), Etta (10), May (7) and Robert (3) as being present on the day of the census.

Samuel arrived in England aboard the SS Melita on the 28 April 1918 and was transferred on the 10 August 1918 to the Royal Canadian Dragoons for service in France. He was with them only a few weeks when he was wounded in the feet and right hand by shrapnel on the 2/3 October 1918. He was treated at No 3 Stationary Hospital, Rouen before being removed on the 5 October to England and the 2 Western General Hospital, Manchester. He went to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Cooden Camp, Bexhill on the 17 October and was discharged to duty on the 17 December 1918.  

He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Belgic and discharged on the 3 April 1919.  He said he was going to 669 Flora Avenue, Winnipeg.
33117076 Private Samuel Craig lived at 3 Wyatt Avenue, Toronto and was drafted under the Military Service Act 1917. He joined the CEF on the 8 January 1918 in at Oshawa, Ontario, near Toronto. Samuel, 5’ 9” tall was single, and a Presbyterian, and earned his living as a butter maker. He was said to have been born on the 9 October 1887 and to have hazel eyes and brown hair.  He named his mother as his next of kin and said she was Mrs Mary Jane Craig, Killybegs, Slatt, Ballymena.

Mary Jane Craig (51) was the wife of William Kernoghan Craig (51 and an agricultural labourer) and in 1911 the couple said they had been married for twenty-six years and that they had had nine children.  Seven were alive in 1911.  They were, as listed in the 1911 return, Elizabeth (21), John (18), Matilda (16), Joseph (14) and Margaret (10).

The 1901 return William Kernoghan and Mary Jane, both 41, listed Samuel (13), Lizzie (11 born 7/1/90), John (8), David (6 – born 2/11/94), Matilda (6 – born 2/11/94), Joseph (3) and Margaret, an infant.

Samuel Craig left Canada on the 21 February 1918 aboard the SS Megantic and was soon in England.  He was eventually transferred to the 54th Battalion on the 19 August 1918 and then to the 78th Battalion on the 26 August, and he was wounded while serving with the latter on the 2 October 1918.  The bullet wound to his left knee was logged by doctors as a ‘flesh wound’. He was treated at 20 General Hospital, Dannes Camiers and then moved to England on HS Ville de Liege.  He was treated at the Central Military Hospital, Fort Pitt, Chatham and then moved to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. After discharge he was to be returned to Canada and eventually left England aboard the SS Empress of Britain.  He was discharged in Toronto on the 1 April 1919.
42663 Driver/Gunner William Robert Craig enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery at Valcartier Camp on the 24 September 1914. The blue eyed, fair haired 5’ 8 ½ “ tall Anglican said he was single and a bookkeeper. He said he was born on the 20 October 1888 and that his home address was that of Mr R. Craig, 4, Factory Road, Randalstown.

He was initially attached to the 3rd Brigade Ammunition Column, Canadian Field Artillery and his name appears in the ‘Ammunition Column’ section of the Nominal Roll of the 3rd Canadian Field Artillery Brigade and Ammunition Column. He went overseas from Canada on the 7 October 1914 and was after arrival and training in England sent to France and Flanders after the 14 April 1915.  He was transferred to the 1st Artillery Brigade and served with them, probably mainly in the 1st Divisional Train and perhaps also with the 1st Brigade, 4th Battery, from April 1915 until January 1918.

He had a prolonged period of illness after mid-1918 and on the 6 January 1919 he was transferred to England for return to Canada. He eventually left Liverpool aboard the SS Megantic and arrived at Halifax on the 5 March 1919. He was demobilised on the 31st March and said he was going onward to 66, Lakeview Avenue, Toronto.
512274 Private John Alexander Crawford lived at 217 Shaw Street, Toronto and enlisted in the CEF in the city on the 29 February 1916.  He said he had been born on the 12 November 1890, that he was single, a Presbyterian and a ‘Lathe Hand’. He is described as being 5’ 6 ½ “ and as having grey eyes and black hair. He also said he had served in the militia with the 48th Highlanders of Canada for 2 ½ years. He said his mother Annie, Lisrodden, Portglenone, Co Antrim was his next of kin.

Henry Crawford, Lisrodden had married Annie Dunlop, Craigs in Cullybackey United Free Church on the 21 January 1888 and the family appear in the census records of 1911 and 1901. In 1911 Henry was said to be 64 and a stonemason (He was described as a grocer when John’s birth was registered in 1890.) and Annie was 55 years old. The couple said they had had four children and two were still alive in 1911.  They recoded 15-year-old Robert H D Crawford, a grocer’s assistant.

Henry was said to be 45 and a bricklayer in 1901 and Annie was 38.  John Alexander was 10 and Robert Henry Dunlop was 4.

John Alexander Crawford served in the Canadian Army Service Corps.  He left Canada aboard the SS Metagama and arrived in England on the 5 May 1916. He went straight to the CASC Training Depot, Shorncliffe and remained there until he went overseas to France and Flanders on the 21/22nd December 1916. He was posted to the 1st Divisional Supply Column on the 31st December 1916 but sent on attachment to 3 Canadian Field Ambulance from the 3 March 1917. He was in April 1918 posted to the Canadian Corps Troops, Mechanical Transport Company.  He continued to serve without injury until returned to England in March 1919.  He was eventually discharged in England on the 23 May 1919.

A 1923 address for him was 91 Upper Newtownards Road, Bloomfield, Belfast. The discharge in England and the Belfast address are explained by the fact that John Alexander Crawford, then 64 Rosapenna Street, Belfast and a commercial traveller, married Matilda Houston of 6 Derryvale Terrace, Knock, Belfast in St Columba’s Church of Ireland on the 19 August 1920.  His father Henry was there described as a ‘contractor’.

His brother was 512273 RHD Crawford, CASC - see below.

335429 Private Robert Crawford, who served in Canada and England for a short time in the 64th Canadian Field Artillery and then the 2nd Tank Battalion, was the son of Thomas and Agnes Crawford, Tullymore, Broughshane . 


The farming family are found in the census returns of 1901 and 1911. In 1901 Thomas Crawford (48) and his wife Agnes (46) listed seven children: James (18), Robert (14), Stewart (12), Margaret J (10), William (9), Samuel (7) and Mary E (5).  In 1911 Thomas was 58, his wife 57 and five of the family are listed: Robert (24), Margaret J W (20), William (19), Samuel (17) and Mary E S (15).  They also said they had had eight children, all of whom were alive. The remaining family member was 681631 Private Thomas Crawford, 15th Battalion, CEF who was killed in action in an attack on the Drocourt Queant Line on 2nd September 1918.


Robert lived at 1499 Hurlbut Avenue (now Street?), Detroit, Michigan, USA but enlisted in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on 4 May 1918.  He had been born on the 7th November 1886 and described himself as a farmer.  He was 5' 10" tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He left St Johns, New Brunswick aboard Minnedosa on the 4 October 1918 and arrived in England on the 18th October.  He was demobilized in London on the 14 January 1919 and never reached any theatre of war.

512273 Private Robert Henry Dunlop Crawford, Canadian Army Service Corps, was born at Lisrodden, Portglenone, and he was the son of Henry Crawford, a 45 year old bricklayer, and his wife Annie (38).  The couple had four children, two of whom survived.  John Alexander was 10 in 1901, and Robert Henry Dunlop was then 4. 


Robert Henry Dunlop Crawford, born 3rd May 1896,  moved to Canada and he was living at 217 Shaw Street, Toronto when he enlisted in 1916 (he later moved to 112 Silverbirch Avenue, Toronto) . He was a 19 ¾  year old lathe hand (fitter).  He stood 5' 7 ¼" tall and he had light blue eyes and fair hair.


He left Canada to go to England aboard the SS Metagama and arrived on the 5th May 1916.  He was in the CASC and served in various Divisional Supply Columns, acquiring a Good Conduct Badge on the 29 February 1918. He was subject to a Field General Court Martial in 1919 for returning late from leave and for altering his pass to hide the crime.  He was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No1 and fined two day's pay; this was later commuted to 14 days Field Punishment No 2. He returned to Canada on the RMS Scotian and was demobilized on 16th May 1919.

681631 Private Thomas Crawford, 15th Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment),  was the son of Thomas and Agnes Crawford, Tullymore, Broughshane . The farming family are found in the census returns of 1901 and 1911, though Thomas (jnr.) does not appear in either.


In 1901 Thomas Crawford (48) and his wife Agnes (46) listed seven children: James (18), Robert (14), Stewart (12), Margaret J (10), William (9), Samuel (7) and Mary E (5).  In 1911 Thomas was 58, his wife 57 and five of the family are listed: Robert (24), Margaret J W (20), William (19), Samuel (17) and Mary E S (15).  They also said they had had eight children, all of whom were alive.


Thomas was born on the 20 February 1884 and was at enlistment living at 218 George Street, Toronto, and he worked as a machinist.  He was then 32½ years old and  5' 9¼ " tall. He had blue eyes and light brown hair.  He was a Presbyterian and had 'Erin go Bragh' [Ireland for Ever] and a harp tattooed on his left arm. This slogan had been prominent at the Ulster Unionist Convention, Botanic Gardens, Belfast in 1892.


Crawford joined the 170th Battalion and came to England aboard the SS Mauretania with them in October 1916, but soon left them to join the Machine Gun Depot at Crowborough.  He was then assigned to the 15th Battalion for overseas service. He was wounded near Hill 70 by a shell in August 1917 and the damage to his left thigh took him to No 30 General Hospital, Calais and then the Canadian Military Hospital, Eastbourne.  He recovered and was returned to the 15th Battalion in France.  He was killed in action in an attack on the Drocourt Queant Line on 2nd September 1918, a fact recorded on the family tombstone in Broughshane. 


His military record also records that he had family, possibly a brother, in the USA.  S M Crawford lived at 1499 Hurlbut Avenue (Street?), Detroit, Michigan.

2128980 Robert Cruikshank may have been called up under the terms of the Military Service Act, 1917 and his details are inscribed on the relevant form. One copy of the form is, however, marked ‘Voluntary’ and so he may actually have volunteered for service. He went to the 1st Depot Battalion of the Manitoba Regiment, appropriate since he gave his address as 113, Dennis Street, Brandon, Manitoba. He was 5’ 5 ½ “ tall and he had blue eyes and  brown hair. He was single and a ‘car inspector’, probably a railway/tram employee. He said he was from Co Antrim and gave his parents names as Patrick and Annie Cruikshank, from Aughafatten.  He was a Presbyterian and is named in Buckna Presbyterian Church Roll of Honour.

He said he was born on the 18 September 1891. His parents, Patrick and Annie,  had married on the 14 December 1887.  Patrick (snr) said he was the son of John Cruikshank, a farmer from Carnstrone, Broughshane (at the foot of Slemish, the mountain on which St Patrick tended animals during his slavery), and Annie, daughter of Robert McCullough, was from Upper Buckna.

The 1911 Irish census records them living at Kilnacolpagh (Slemish, Antrim).  The couple, 45 and 40 years old respectively,  said they had been married for 23 years and that they had had 11 children, 9 of whom were still alive in 1911.  On the day of the census they listed Rose (22), Robert (20), Mary (16), John (14), Elizabeth (12), Susan (10) and William (8). At least one more son was born after the census.  The boy was called Patrick and the registration of his birth says he was born on the 27 June 1911 (the census took place on the 2 April 1911). He, his parents and his wife are named on a headstone in Buckna New Graveyard. It reads:

1955   
Cruikshank
Erected by Patrick Cruikshank
In loving memory of his father Patrick Cruikshank died 20th August 1945.
And his mother Annie Cruikshank, died 5th March 1955
Also the above named Patrick died 19th March 1972
Also his wife Thomasina died 15th February 1977.

Robert Cruikshank trained in Canada from the 5 January to the 12 February 1918 and then sailed for the UK aboard the SS Megantic.  He arrived in Liverpool and soon went to the 11th Reserve Battalion to finish training. He transferred to the 16th Battalion for service in Europe and was to be in France from the 20 June to 13 September 1918, about 2½ months. His short tenure in Europe was occasioned by his wounding at Arras, France on the 2 September 1918.

Cruikshank was struck by a bullet.  It made a non-penetrating wound but left him with a 12” linear groove cut across his right chest and breastbone area. Canadian Field Ambulance moved him to No 8 Stationary Hospital, Wimereux and he was then transferred to England aboard the HS Cambria.  He spent time at Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot and then at No 4 Canadian General Hospital, Basingstoke before being sent to No 5 General Hospital (Kirkdale), Liverpool. His treatment in England lasted about six months altogether.

He was returned ‘medically unfit’ to Canada aboard the SS Araguaya after the 10 March 1919. After a period of ‘Landing Leave’ he was sent to Manitoba Military Hospital and underwent nine weeks of assessment before being released. He needed no further treatment.

Robert Cruikshank died on the 7 September 1954.

2138287 Private David Cupples, 31st  Battalion, enlisted in Vancouver, British Columbia on the 14 January 1918, but he was the son of David Cupples (Sen.), Kells, Ballymena. His father, 45 years old in the 1901 census, was a linen beetler by trade, and he was married to Jane (42).  Eight children are named in 1901: Sam (19), Robert (17), Jeannie (13), David (11), Thomas (9), James (7), Francis (5) and Howard (3). The 1911 census says eleven children were born, of whom eight were then alive. Thomas (17 & a grocer) James (17 & a beetler), Francis (14), Howard (12) and Samuel Wilson (8) are named with their parents.


David, born 8th January 1888, was 30 years old on the 14 January 1918, . He was single and stood 5' 6 ½ " tall, and he had blue eyes and light brown hair.  He said he was a seaman and on one record mentions the SS Princess Sophia, a vessel belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway (this vessel sank on 25 October 1918, after grounding on Vanderbilt Reef in Lynn Canal near Juneau, Alaska. All aboard were lost, for a total death toll of 343).


David left Canada from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard HMT Scotian on the 16th April 1918 and landed in Liverpool on the 28th April.  He went straight to the 1st Canadian Reserve Battalion at Seaford for quarantine (New arrivals were quarantined to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases like measles, mumps, etc.) and then transferred in September to the 29th Battalion for overseas service.  He was in France on the 6th September, transferred to the 31st Battalion on the 21st September, and then went on duty. A shell exploded close to him on the 11th October and he sustained severe injuries to his left side.  He died of his wounds while with No 9 Canadian Field Ambulance. He is buried in Queant Communal Cemetery Extension.  The village is 25 kilometres south-east of Arras.  It was just behind the Hindenburg Line, at the South end of the Drocourt-Queant Line, an area that had not captured by British troops until the 2nd September 1918.

799797 Sapper Thomas Cupples, 2nd Battalion, Canadian Railway Transport, enlisted on the 17th December 1915 in Toronto, but he was from Lisnevenagh, Randalstown.


The 1901 census shows Jeremiah Cupples, 37 years old and a blacksmith, living with his wife Margaret (36) and nine children: Samuel J, 17 and a blacksmith's apprentice, John C (14), Mary J (12), William (10), Thomas (8), Jeremiah (6), Elizabeth Mc (3), Robert (1) and Maggie (infant). Elements of the family are again listed In 1911: Jeremiah and Margaret, Mary J, a domestic servant, William, a blacksmith, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Mc, Maggie, Robert (Bertie) and Aggie (8).  The family say ten children were born and ten were still alive in 1911.


Thomas, destined to serve in England and France, was born on 5th April 1895, and was single and a butcher in 1915.  He gave his address as 123, University Avenue, Toronto, and later named John Whitmore, Pinegrove, Woodbridge, Ontario as a friend.  He was then 20 years and 8 months old and was just 5' 5½ " tall; he had light hazel eyes and light brown hair.


Thomas had been in the militia, went to the 123rd Royal Grenadiers, but was then transferred to the 127th Battalion, CEF, this unit to be renamed the 2nd Bn, Canadian Railway Transport on the 10th February 1917.


He sailed on the 22nd August 1916 aboard the SS Olympic to England, landed on the 30th August 1916, and went onward to France after the usual delays, landing at Le Havre on the 13 January 1917.  He served there until his return to Canada in 1919. 


He was a bit of a character: he received 7 days Field Punishment No 2 for urinating in an outhouse in February 1917, a further two days of the same punishment for disobeying a 'lights out' order in September 1917, and, somewhat leniently,  another two days of the same punishment for 'disobeying an order in the field' in December 1917.  He spent most of 1918 in various hospitals being treated for non-combat problems, and he was returned to Canada on the 25th February 1919 from Liverpool. He disembarked from SS Megantic in Halifax on the 5th March 1919 and was demobilized on the 31st of the same month.

2379239 Lance Corporal John Davis, 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, lived at 617 Union Bank [Building], Winnipeg,  but he was originally from Ballynulto, Broughshane, the son of Archibald (Archie) Davis and his wife Margaret. Margaret (50) is shown in the 1901 census with seven of her family, namely James (26 and a watchmaker), Sarah (23), William (19), Archie (17), Martha (15), John (10) and Mary (7). The 1911 census lists Archie (61) and Margaret A (61) and three others, John (19), Isabella (22 and her daughter in law from Co Down) and Anna Margaret (infant granddaughter). Margaret said in 1911 that she had been married for 41 years and had had nine children, eight of whom were still alive.


John Davis was just over 30 years old at enlistment on 7th January 1918 and was therefore born around November 1878. He was single, 5' 10½ " tall and he had brown eyes and dark coloured hair. He said he had previously had military training with the UVF; he does not appear in the 1913 UVF list but his brother Archie does. John named his father at Ballynulto as his next of kin but gave all he owned to his brother Archie; he lived at 1711 ½  Howard Avenue [elsewhere 321 Broadway North], Seattle, Washington, USA. 


John really had no military career.  He was brought into St Boniface Hospital as an emergency case on the 14 April 1918 and underwent immediate surgery for a gangrenous appendix.  It was removed and poison was drained but complications developed and further surgery could not save him.  He died on the night of the 30/31st July 1918. His record is annotated 'appendicitis and suppurative peritonitis'.

670053 Private Robert Dempsey lived at 4 St Vincent Street, Toronto and enlisted in the 166th Battalion of the CEF, stating that he had already served three years in the Queen’s Own Rifles, a militia unit. He was then 26 years old, single and a clerk (Book Keeper), and he was said to be 5’ 10 ½ “ tall with grey eyes and brown hair.  He was a Methodist and said he had been born on the 6 March 1890 (local records say 6 March 1891). His father was Robert Dempsey, Carnlough, Co Antrim.

Robert Dempsie (sic), Ballynure, married Matilda Smith, Ballyboley, Larne on the 20 October 1886 and in the 1911 Irish census record the couple are recoded as living at Harbour Road, Ardclinis, near Waterfoot, Carnlough. Robert Dempsey (50) and his wife Matilda (45) said they had been married for 24 years and that they had had twelve children. Ten were still alive in 1911.  They listed as present on the day of the census Isabella (23), Hugh Smith (21), Thomas (14), James (12), Sarah (10), Matilda Jane (8) Mary Anna (6) and Ruth (4).

Robert was 40 in 1901, his wife Matilda 35, and they were living at Ardclinis. Isabella was 13 – born 26/11/1887 at Ballyboley), Hugh Smith (11), Robert (10 – born 6/2/1891), Maggie Wilson (6 – born 24/6/1894), Thomas 4 – born 5/9/1896), James (2 – born 11/8/1898) and Sarah (infant) were listed on census day. Robert Dempsey had gone from being a miner (Matilda’s father Hugh had been the manager of local iron mines at the time of his daughter’s wedding) to being an estate bailiff over the period. Matilda was to die young, aged only 45 on the 12 January 1912.

Robert Dempsey left Canada aboard the SS Cameronia in October 1916 and arrived in Liverpool on the 28th.  He went to France in November 1917 and was with his unit in the field, the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry, on the 4th December. He sustained injury to his leg and fingers while serving with them in the area around Albert and Amiens on the 8th August 1918. His main injury was a badly fractured femur.

33 Ambulance Train took him to 1st South African General Hospital, Abbeville.  They treated him and arranged for his transport to England aboard HS Pieter de Coninck and he went to Edmonton Military Hospital, Silver Street, Edmonton; it is now the North Middlesex Hospital. He also received treatment at Ontario Military Hospital, known as No 16 Canadian General Hospital after September 1917. He went to Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton, Derbyshire after the 13 March 1919 to and, amongst others, finally to No 5 Canadian General Hospital, Kirkdale, Liverpool before return to Canada.

Robert Dempsey's leg had continued to give mobility problems, as did his foot, and he was deemed ‘medically unfit’. He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Essequibo and went for a time to St Andrew’s Hospital before being discharged from the CEF on the 11 October 1919.

He died on the 10th May 1964 at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto.
1081414 Alexander Donnelly enlisted on 20 June 1916 at Sudbury, Ontario.  He was single and a labourer. His attestation papers further say the 5’ 8 ½ “ tall Roman Catholic had blue eyes and brown hair. He said he was born on the 20 October 1888 and that his mother, Mrs Arthur Donnelly, was from Glenarm, Co Antrim.

The family appear in the Irish census returns of 1901 and 1911.  In 1901 Arthur Donnelly, 45 and a labourer in a whiting mill (elsewhere he described himself as a quarryman and was therefore employed in the lime quarry at Glenarm grinding chalk) and his wife Liza was 38. The couple listed five children present at the time of the census.  Alex was 13 (actually born 26/10/1888), William was 10 (born 20/1/1892), Mary Ann was 7 (born 16/4/1894), Nellie was 5 (born 12/3/1896) and Liza was 3 (born 15/5/1898). John, another brother who also later served in the CEF - see below -, was not present but is listed at his aunt’s house.  Ellen Conway was 66 years old and shared the home with her son and daughter, Arthur (37) and Ellen (28). John Donnelly was said to be 10 years old (born 23/5/1890).

Lizzie Donnelly was 48 and living on Mark Street, Glenarm in 1911.  She said she had been married for 27 years and had had nine children, six of whom were alive at the time of the census.  She listed Alex, 22 and a baker, William, 19 and a labourer, and Lizzie (12). Arthur, 60 and a gardener, was working for Alexander McKay and his two daughters at Bay, Glencloy.  He was one of three servants of this Scottish family. John Donnelly was at Deerpark Farms in 1911 and the 20 year old was an agricultural labourer working for Ellen Conway (75 and his aunt), her son Arthur (45) and her daughter Ellen (35).

Alexander Donnelly left Halifax aboard the SS Northland in September 1916 and transferred to the 1st Construction Battalion, later redesignated 1st Canadian Railway Troops, and was to serve with them in France and Belgium after 26 October 1916. He was to suffer no injury during the war and was not returned to Canada until March 1919.  He was discharged from the CEF in Toronto on the 21 March 1919.
754245 John Donnelly enlisted in the 119th Battalion, CEF on the 5 January 1916 at Bruce Mines, Ontario, and he became a soldier of ‘B’ Company.  He was single and a labourer. His attestation papers further say the 5’ 7” tall Roman Catholic had brown eyes and dark brown hair. He said he was born on the 23 May 1890 and that his father Arthur, nominated as his next of kin, was from Glenarm, Co Antrim. Elsewhere his mother is named as Elizabeth.

The family appear in the Irish census returns of 1901 and 1911.  In 1901 Arthur Donnelly, 45 and a labourer in a whiting mill (elsewhere he described himself as a quarryman and was therefore employed in the lime quarry at Glenarm grinding chalk) and his wife Liza was 38. The couple listed five children present at the time of the census.  Alex was 13 (born 26/10/1888), William was 10 (born 20/1/1892), Mary Ann was 7 (born 16/4/1894), Nellie was 5 (born 12/3/1896) and Liza was 3 (born 15/5/1898. John was not present but is listed at his aunt’s house.  Ellen Conway was 66 years old and shared the home with her son and daughter, Arthur (37) and Ellen (28). John Donnelly was said to be 10 years old (born 23/5/1890, as he said).

Lizzie Donnelly was 48 and living on Mark Street, Glenarm in 1911.  She said she had been married for 27 years and had had nine children, six of whom were alive at the time of the census.  She listed Alex, 22 and a baker, William, 19 and a labourer, and Lizzie (12). Arthur, 60 and a gardener, was working for Alexander McKay and his two daughters at Bay, Glencloy.  He was one of three servants of this Scottish family. John was at Deerpark Farms in 1911 and the 20 year old was an agricultural labourer working for Ellen Conway (75 and his aunt), her son Arthur (45) and her daughter Ellen (35).

Donnelly left Halifax aboard the SS Metagama on the 8 August 1916 and disembarked in Liverpool on the 19th August.  He was transferred to Canadian Railway Troops on the 15 March 1918 and eventually went to 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops on the 30 March and was with the unit in France and Flanders on the 4 April. He took ill and was returned to England for treatment.  He appears to have remained there until discharged from the CEF in England on the 5 April 1919.

77704 CQMS Joseph Doughan, MM, 15th Battalion, CEF, was born in October 1888 at Newferry, Toomebridge and was a single labourer aged just over 21 years old when he enlisted in Victoria, B.C. on the 9 November 1914. He was 5' 6 ½ " tall and had blue-grey eyes and fair hair. He named his mother Maggie at Newferry, Toomebridge as his next of kin.


Doughan  (Joseph and not G. as mistakenly recorded on his press photograph) had served in the 102nd Bn RMR, militia,  before the war and was enrolled in the 30th Bn after enlisting for war service.  He sailed from Canada with the 30th Bn on the 23rd February 1915 but was to spend all but six months of his four year and nine month service with the 15th Battalion; the 15th Battalion was one of three battalions raised for service during World War I by the 48th Highlanders of Canada . He was taken on strength with them in May 1915 and, clearly a good soldier, moved rapidly up the ranks to become Acting Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) in February 1918 when CQMS Campbell was granted leave in Canada. Shortly afterwards his receipt of a Military medal was recorded in the London Gazette on the 12 March 1918. The record of his deed in 1917 is recorded below.


Operations for the Capture of Passchendaele Ridge:


During preparations for the above engagement, Sgt. Doughan was detailed to take charge of a party for work with the RFA on the 5th November 1917. The party was heavily shelled while proceeding to their work but owing to the cool courage and skill of Sgt. Doughan in leading his men through a difficult and dangerous situation, he undoubtedly saved many casualties. Sgt. Doughan has been with the Battalion for 28 months and has done excellent service at the following engagements:


Zillebeke, near Ypres, June 1916

Mouquet Farm, Somme, September 1916

Vimy Ridge, April 1917

Hill 70, north of Lens, August 1917. 


Lieut. Col. commanding 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders of Canada.


Joseph Doughan was granted permission to marry on the 9th August 1917 and he married Maggie, Margaret J Graffin, of Newferry, Toomebridge.  He was transferred to the 12th Reserve Battalion and then discharged in Winnipeg on the 5th May 1919. The couple lived in Rossland, British Columbia, Canada after the family, now including a child, moved there in October 1926.




Lieutenant Andrew Warwick Duncan (MC), 38th Bn. Canadian Infantry (East Ontario Regiment),  was KIA on 9th April 1917. 


Born on the 6th May 1890, he was the son of Archibald and Margaret Duncan, Carnearney, Connor. The 1901 census return records Archibald,  51 and a farmer, his 44 year old wife Maggie, and six children. They were George (24), Francis (22) James (17), John (15), Andrew (10) and Stewart C (8).  The 1911 return lists widower Archibald (62), George (32), Stewart Craig (20) and Mary, a daughter-in-law (40). Four of the family were in Canada (Stewart Craig in Vancouver, James W in Vancouver, Francis in Toronto and Andrew) when WW1 began, Andrew giving his address as Swastika, Ontario (Swastika was a remote mining town and Andrew was involved in that business; elsewhere he gave a postal address of 206, Grenadier Road, Toronto, Ontario); there are also references to Mrs J Duncan, sister-in-law, at 518 - 15th Avenue East, Vancouver, BC, and to Frank Warwick Duncan, 619 Avenue Road, Toronto.


Andrew Duncan, 6' 2" tall, was single and working as a broker when he enlisted in Haileybury, Ontario in January 1916. He had previously served in the 97th Algonquin Rifles, a militia unit, and was accepted for a commission in the 159th Battalion, CEF.  He left Canada on the 31st October 1916 and arrived in England on November 11th. He transferred to the 38th Battalion, CEF in December 1916 and was with them in the field before the year's end. His military record is sketchy but it appears that he was KIA  at Vimy Ridge just two months after attending a Platoon Commander's Course at 4th Division School. 


The 38th Battalion was part of the Canadian 4th Division whose principal objective was Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the whole of Vimy Ridge. Its summit allowed a full view of German positions on the Douai Plain; it also overlooked German positions on the Ridge itself. The Germans had fortified Hill 145, and there were dug-outs under its rear slope. The brigades of the 4th Division were hampered also by fire from the Pimple, the other highpoint. 


Lt Duncan was killed early on the first day of the battle at Vimy Ridge, the 9th April 1917, as the official record of the battle (note the time) shows:

War Diary


Duncan's record notes the award of a MC for 'gallantry in the field' (17th April 1917) and the award appears in the London Gazette - see https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30023/supplement/3689


He is buried in Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-au-Bois, Pas de Calais and also commemorated in Connor Presbyterian Church. Two of his brothers, James and Stewart also served in the CEF.

108340 Private James Duncan, 242nd Battalion, CEF (this later became part of the Canadian Forestry Corps and James was initially with the 22nd Company.) - was born at Connor, Co Antrim on the 25th June 1883 - see above.  He was the son of Archibald Duncan and brother of Andrew Warwick Duncan, MC, above. He was 33 years old and stood 6' 6" tall, and he had blue eyes and light brown hair.  He enlisted in Vancouver on the 28th August 1916 and gave his address as 25 - 8th Avenue West (later addresses 518-15th Ave East, Vancouver & 754-19th Ave East, Vancouver) and he named his wife Jane as his next of kin.  He said he was a teamster.


James (25) had married Jane Wilson Reid (32) in Sydney, Australia on the 18th June 1909. He said he was a farmer and that his mother's maiden name was Margaret Warwick. Jane said her father, a farmer from the same area of Co Antrim (Dunadry?), was Hugh James Reid, her mother Ellen Mann. A son, Archibald Duncan, was born on the 9th September 1910, and the family were now living at 648, Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC.  James was then a policeman.


James served in the CEF for a total of 2 years and 9 months - chronologically, 3 months in Canada, 3 months in England (UK), 15 months in France and finally 12 months in England.  


He had left Halifax, Nova Scotia on HMT Mauretania on the 23rd November 1916 and landed in Liverpool on the 30th November.  He was at Le Havre on the 4th February 1917 and was appointed Acting Lance Corporal, a position he relinquished at his own request on 10 October 1917.  He developed severe eczema problems and was in hospital after March 1918, eventually being returned to England aboard HS Grantully Castle on the 25th May 1918.  He returned to the Canadian Forestry Corps in November 1918.  He was returned to England in May 1919, boarded HMT Saturnia in Glasgow and disembarked in Montreal on the 28th June 1919. He was discharged from the CEF on the 4th July 1919.


He died on the 31st December 1954 and his record says 'no dependants'; Jane, known as Jean, had died earlier, her tombstone in White Rock, a seaside town 30 miles south of Vancouver, is annotated 1877-1946.

523 Sapper Stewart Craig Duncan,  was the brother of Andrew and James Duncan (above), and he listed James as his next of kin, giving James's address in February 1915 as 518-15th Avenue East, Vancouver. 


Stewart Duncan enlisted in February 1915 in Ottawa and stated he was born on 12th August 1897.  He was a locomotive fireman and single.  He stood 6' 3" tall and had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was to serve 57 months in the CEF, mostly with 6th Field Company, 2nd Division Canadian Engineers, joining them in England after disembarking from the SS Northland. He had been with them 7 months in Canada and spent 5 Months in England and 32 months in France with them before transferring for 10 months to the Anti-Aircraft Search Light Company. A final 3 months in England ended his service and he was transferred aboard HMT Saturnia to Montreal, Canada between 25th July and 4th August 1919. He was discharged from the CEF on 7th August 1919.


Stewart seems to have lived with his brother, using both 754-19th Ave East, Vancouver and White Rock, Surrey, Vancouver as his addresses.

331748 Driver Samuel Edgar lived at 426 Hastings Street East, Vancouver and he enlisted in the 68th Overseas Battery of Canadian Field Artillery, CEF on the 1 April 1916 at Vancouver.  He was 5’ 9 ½ “ tall and he had grey eyes and light brown hair. He was a single Presbyterian and said he had been born on the 30 August 1892 at Staffordstown, Randalstown, and elsewhere in Tamnaderry townland, Staffordstown. He was an ‘auto driver’ or chauffeur.

Samuel said his father was John Edgar.  John Edgar appears in the 1901 Irish census as a 54-year-old farmer and widower of Tamnaderry, Randalstown.  On the day of the census he listed six offspring - William (26), Dorothea (23 – born 12/5/1876), Maggie L (Elizabeth - aged 20 - born 21/1/1879), James (14 – 8/7/1886), Minnie (11 – 16/6/1888) and Samuel (9 – 30 August 1890).

John Edgar had married Mary Richardson in 2nd Randalstown Presbyterian Church on the 10 October 1873 but she died at Tamnaderry on the 2nd June 1900. He married again, this time to Dorothy Winning in Randalstown Old Congregational on the 9 July 1906. The 1911 Irish census records him, a 64-year-old farmer and his 60-year-old wife Dorothy at Tamnaderry.

Samuel Edgar left Canada in September 1916 aboard the SS Northland and arrived in Liverpool, England on the 22nd.  He finished his training in and then went to France and Flanders with the 54th Battery, CFA and appears to have been posted to the 4th Divisional Ammunition Column.  He was later posted to the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column on the 23 March 1917 and remained with them to the war’s end.  He was uninjured throughout his service but he did suffer from impetigo and scabies.

He was returned to England in March 1919 and discharged in Toronto, Canada on the 14th May 1919. He said he was going onward to 246 Hastings Street, Vancouver.

Samuel Edgar died in Shaughnessy Military Hospital on 20th July 1972.

Original Title: "3rd Section - 4th Division Ammunition Column", 68th Field Battery, C.F.A. - Vancouver, B.C. 1916, Photographer Stuart Thomson, (1881-1960) and courtesy of City of Vancouver Archives

Filename: 13bfcf41-bcff-49a0-8370-86e2e8118973-A17583.jpg   
Copyright status:  Public domain
166515 Samuel Edgar enlisted in the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, CEF in Toronto on the 12 October 1915 and ended his military career serving with the 5th Canadian Engineers.  He said he was born on the 26 October 1890 (local records say 21 November 1889), that he was a single man and a Presbyterian, and that he earned his living in bridge building and construction. His records further show that he was 6’ tall with blue eyes and brown hair.  Samuel named his mother as his next of kin. She was Mrs Matilda Edgar, Randalstown.

Henry Edgar had married Matilda Chesney, both of Derrygowan, Randalstown, and their twenty seven year marriage had produced eight children by the time of the 1911 Irish census; sadly, only five were alive at that time. Henry, 58 and a farmer of Magheralane, Randalstown, and his wife Matilda (53) listed Samuel (22), John (19), James (17), Matilda (14) and Kirker (11) as present on census day. John and James were apprentice carpenters.

The 1901 census shows the family at Magheralane.  Henry (45) and Matilda (40) listed Sarah Eliza (19), Margaret (16), Robert (14), Samuel (12), John (9), James (7), Matilda (4) and Kirker (2).

Samuel spent two years and ten months with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, the Pioneer Battalion of the 2nd Division. Pioneers were combat engineers organised like the infantry and used at the front.  They constructed defensive positions, command posts and dugouts and prepared barbed wire defences. They also engaged in building, construction and maintenance of roads and tracks. They could also, and did quite often, fight as infantry. The 2nd Pioneers were engaged from their arrival on the front in 1916 in every action undertaken by the 2nd Division, up to and including the Hundred Days campaign in late 1918.

Samuel Edgar arrived in England on the 14 December 1915 and went to France and Flanders in March 1916. He served without incident with the 2nd Pioneers and was then transferred to the 5th Canadian Engineers in June 1918. He would serve with the latter for some ten months, some of it apparently working in the ‘Camouflage Factory’ at Abbeville.  

He was returned to England in April 1919 and went to Canada aboard the SS Olympic in May.  He returned to British Columbia and died in Shaughnessy Military Hospital, Vancouver on the 18 February 1970.

Pioneers were combat trained to infantry standards and also undertook lesser engineering tasks.

These men are British troops and wore 'Pick and Rifle' collar dogs (just visible on the collar of the soldier standing in front of the steel sheeting) in addition to any relevant infantry badges. Pioneers were combat trained to infantry standards but also trained to undertake lesser engineering tasks. 
  

Photograph courtesy of National Library of Scotland, available at https://digital.nls.uk/74548006. The original is by John Warwick Brooke, British official war photographer. The original reads: 'BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. A halt for dinner.' It is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.
400418 Private Andrew Esler enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Vernon, BC on the 8 August 1915, and one file is marked No 1 Section, Canadian Field Ambulance. The 5’ 6” tall fireman was single and was described as having blue eyes and light coloured hair. He said he was born on the 4 June 1892 and that his father was John Esler, Castlegore, Moorfields, Ballymena. 

John Esler married Agnes Ann Bell, both of Glenwhirry and 21 and 19 respectively, on the 4 December 1872. The 1901 Irish census then records John (48) and Agnes (48) at Whappstown (also Whaupstown), Connor and nine children: John (27 – born 6/10/1873), Lizzie (26), David (22), Agnes (14 – born 4/7/1886), Mary (12 – born 3/6/1888), Andrew (10), Sarah (9) Martha (6) and Maggie, an infant, born 14/12/1900.

The 1911 Irish census return shows John (58) and Agnes (57) and seven offspring at Whappstown, Moorfields. John (37), Lizzie (35), Agnes (24), Sarah (18), Martha (16), Samuel (12), and Maggie (10) are noted.

Andrew went to England and transferred to the 17th Battalion, Canadian Infantry before going to France and Flanders with the 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry on the 17 August 1916. He was wounded in September 1917 while serving with them in the area around Lens. A shell exploded and he was burned in a dugout.  He also received slight shrapnel injuries to his face and chin, and bruising to his right arm.

He passed along the usual medical route and was treated initially at 18 General Hospital, Camiers, spending about two weeks there. He was then moved to the UK aboard the HS St Denis and eventually ended up in Mercer’s Auxiliary Hospital, Dublin on the 1 October 1917. He was there for about three weeks and may then have spent some time at a convalescent facility at Holywood, Belfast before being moved to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bromley, Kent on the 12 December 1917 at his own request. He was moved on the 11 January 1918 to King’s Canadian Red Cross Convalescent Hospital, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill, Middlesex and he was discharged on the 6 March 1918. He sent to the Canadian Forestry Corps.

Andrew Esler left Liverpool for Canada aboard the SS Celtic after the 15 May 1919 and he was discharged from the CEF on the 21 May 1919.

Andrew Esler’s service and wounding while serving with the 16th Bn, CEF is noted in the record of Glenwherry Presbyterian Church.

The family headstone in  Glenwherry Presbyterian Churchyard reads:

1917

Erected By John Esler Whaupstown,
In Memory Of His Beloved Wife, Agnes Esler, Who Died 5th November 1917, Aged 64 Years.
Also His Daughter, Maggie, Who Died 23rd February 1898, Aged 1 Year And 5 Months.
Also The Above-Named John Esler, Who Died 24th March 1930, Aged 80 Years.
And Of Their Family
Maggie Esler, Died 10th May 1935.
John Esler, Died 17th June 1941.
David Esler, Died 1st January 1946, Aged 65 Years.
Lizzie Esler, Died 22nd Dec. 1948, Aged 73 Years.
Agnes Esler, Whaupstown, Died 30th April 1963.
Martha Esler, Died 3rd November 1969.
Sarah Esler, Died 3rd February 1975

487279 Pioneer James Esler, Base Company, 1st Pioneer Battalion, said he was born in Ballymena (He may not have been from the town itself) on his enlistment papers of 7th December 1915, though he was then living with his wife Esther at 648, Dallas Road, Victoria, BC; his later addresses were 1006, Fairfield Road, Victoria and 2637, Quadra Street, Victoria.


Esler, born 8th October 1886, was 5' 9" tall, and he had blue eyes ad brown hair.  He said he was a carpenter, though elsewhere in his record he states he had worked as a driver for the Victoria Fire Department; he had served also in the 5th Regiment militia.


James Esler has little of a military record.  He arrived in England on the 10 January 1916, transferred to the overseas battalion and reached Boulogne on the 9th March 1916. He was sent to the 1st Canadian Division Convalescent Company on the 22nd March, unfit for duty owing to severe problems relating to varicose veins.  He went back to Canadian Base Depot, Le Havre in August, was given a 'C' classification, and he was returned to England.  He was allocated duties as a masseur for a time but soon returned aboard SS Scotian to Canada. He was discharged medically unfit from the CEF on 10th April 1918.

279265 Sergeant John Esler, originally from Ballymena (probably from the Whappstown area) joined the 218th Bn, CEF in Edmonton, Alberta on the 13th March 1916 but went to the 8th Canadian Railway Troops when the 218th Bn and the 211th Bn were amalgamated to form the new unit. Ten CRT battalions were eventually formed and these men were responsible for the laying, repair, maintenance and operation of railway lines in France and Belgium. They were a vital part of the operations that made the fighting possible, making sure that soldiers got the reinforcements, equipment, ammunition, food and the other supplies that they needed; the wounded were evacuated on their tracks. Altogether, the Canadian Railway Troops laid 100% of the narrow gauge and 60% of the regular gauge tracks on the western front. They were officially non-combatants.


John Esler was born on the 3rd September 1873 and was 42 years old on enlistment on 13th March 1916.  He was 5' 10 ½ " tall and he had grey eyes and black hair. He was married to Jean Alexandra Esler and the couple lived at 9829 - 88th Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta.  John said he was an insurance agent working for Crown Life, though at one point in his record he is referred to as an accountant.


He joined the 218th Battalion, the Edmonton Irish, and left Halifax, Nova Scotia on 16 February 1917 aboard SS Southland for Liverpool, arriving there on the 27th February.  He was transferred to the 8th Canadian Railway Troops and went to their depot at Purfleet, Essex before travelling to France in March 1917. He served with 8th CRT throughout the war, only leaving Liverpool aboard HMT Celtic for Canada on the 10th March 1919.  He was discharged from service on the 23rd March 1919 and remained in Canada until his death on the 24th April 1938.

808754 Private Charles George Ferguson [elsewhere 808454] enlisted in the 137th Battalion, CEF at High River, Alberta on the 21 February 1916.  He said he was born on the 8 February 1892 and that he was a single man and a farmer. He was said to be 5’ 9 ½ “ tall with blue eyes and brown hair.  He was a Presbyterian and said he had been born at Neilsbrook, Randalstown. His father, named as his next of kin, was in fact the Reverend James Edmund Ferguson, minister of 1st Randalstown Presbyterian Church.

The 1901 and 1911 Irish census returns record the family at Feehogue townland. The Reverend James Edmund Ferguson (59) and his wife Rachel G Ferguson, 47, nee Glover and born in Co Londonderry, listed six children – Jane M (17), Emily R (16), James M (14), William (13), Charles George (9) and Morley H (6).

James E was 67 and a widower in 1911; his 50-year-old wife had died on the 13 January 1904 from breast cancer and heart failure. He listed those present on the day of the census as Emily R (26), James M K (24 and a medical student), Charles G (19) and Morley H (16).

Charles George Ferguson sailed from Halifax aboard the SS Olympic on the 22 August 1916, arrived in England on the 30th August, and went to the 21st Reserve Battalion to finish his training. He was, however, never to go to any fighting zone.

He suffered with illness for almost six months after January 1917.  He was initially treated for pleura-pneumonia and a collapsed right lung, but doctors soon suspected there were more serious problems.  Testing resulted in him being diagnosed with ‘TB of the kidneys’. Tuberculosis of the kidney and urinary tract is, like other forms of the disease, caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. By far the most common causative organism, however, is the human tubercle bacillus.  The army knew he was unfit for military service and decided he should be returned to Canada for treatment.

Ferguson left the UK on the 11 June 1917 aboard the SS Araguaya and was in Canada after the 22 June 1917. He was treated as a patient and outpatient at the Military Hospital, Calgary, Frank Sanatorium, and at Edmonton Hospital.  His treatment continued for a long time and he was not discharged from the CEF until the 24 May 1918.  He indicated he was going to live at 1110 - 5th Street West, Calgary.

Charles George Ferguson died on the 29 January 1954.

829240 Private Samuel Hanna Finlay,  8th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regt.),  was killed by shellfire near St Emile (near Hill 70?) on 15th February 1918.  He was the son of William and Mary Jane Finlay, 142, Queen St., Ballymena, though at the time of his enlistment he gave his address as Lombard Hotel, Winnipeg. He said he was a farm labourer.


Samuel, born on the 2nd October 1889, was just over 26 years old when on enlistment.  He was 5' 7 ½ " tall and had blue eyes and brown hair. He was one of a large family, the 1911 census stating that the parents had then been married for 27 years and that they had ten children, nine of whom were still alive. That census record shows the family in Queen Street, Harryville.  William was 49 and a sawyer; wife Mary Jane was 46. Six of the family were also listed: Maggie (18 and a dressmaker), William (16 and a post boy), Hugh Arthur (14 and an office boy), Mary (11), Agnes (9) and David (6). In the 1901 census the family were living at Ballee.  William was again a sawyer, James was 16 and a shoemaker, John was 15 and a telegram boy, Samuel was 11; Maggie (9), William (6), Hugh Arthur (4) and Mary (1).


He joined the 114th Battalion, CEF and left Halifax, NS with them aboard the SS Olympic on the 18th September 1916. He landed in Liverpool on the 25th September.  He was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion in January 1917 and thereafter posted to the 8th Battalion for overseas service. The 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles), CEF, fought as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division. [The 90th Regiment (Winnipeg Rifles) contributed to the 8th Battalion, CEF on its formation in September 1914, and later recruited for the 44th, 90th, 144th, 190th and 203rd Battalions, CEF, which provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The Rifles also contributed two companies as reinforcements to the 27th Battalion, CEF. The 90th 'Winnipeg Rifles' should not to be confused with the 90th Battalion, CEF.]


Samuel was at the Canadian Base Depot, France on the 8th February and with his unit in the field after 12th March 1917.  He fell ill with influenza for a time and developed appendicitis in May, this necessitating his return to England for a month.  He was back with the 8th Battalion after the 12th September, got a Good Conduct Badge in December and was killed in action on the 15th February 1918. He is buried in grave A. 2., Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension and commemorated in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena. His named is mistakenly 'Findlay' in some records.

404342 Private George Francey, 14th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regt.), enlisted in Toronto in the 23rd Battalion on the 12th April 1915.  He had been born on the 1st August 1889 and was a single man, a labourer.  He stood 5' 10" tall and he had brown eyes and black hair. He was, moreover, the son of John and Jane Francey of Kells, Co Antrim. 


The family are listed on the 1901 and 1911 census returns.  All those of working age listed were on both occasions employed in the woollen and cotton mills around the village. John Francey was 53 in 1901, his wife Jane 52. Six children are listed in 1901: William (28), Lizzie (25), Hannah (23), Sarah (23) John (19) and George (10). Two other individuals were also present, grandson John (3) and a 55 year old sister-in-law, Eliza May Johnston.  The 1911 census returns records John (66), Jane (65), Lizzie (33), John (26), George (23), grandson John (13) and Eliza May Johnston (70). The census also records that the Francey's had been married for forty years and that seven of their eight children were still alive in 1911.


George's military file records little.  He sailed from Montreal aboard the SS Hesperian on the 17th August 1915, transferred to the 14th Battalion and was soon at the Canadian Base Depot (CBD) in France. He was with his unit after October 1915. All we know is that he was killed in action between 12th and 13th June 1916.  He is buried Bedford House Cemetery in the Somme area and commemorated Connor Presbyterian Church.


The vessel that brought Francey from Montreal is itself interesting. It was torpedoed shortly after Francey's voyage by Schwieger and submarine U20 on the 4th September 1915, and it sank while under tow to Ireland on the 6th September.  Schwieger had earlier sunk RMS Lusitania.

30307 Pte Thomas Francey, No 3 Company, 1st Divisional Train, Canadian Army Service Corps, was born on the 6th June 1892 and enlisted in Valcartier, Canada on the 24th September 1914, but he was a native of Ballee, Ballymena.  His parents were James and Sarah Francey.  James and his wife were 32 years old and James was a railway porter at the time of the 1901 census.  They listed five children: Thomas (8), Duffin (7), James (5), Annie (3) and infant Agnes. In 1911 James was still a railway porter and listed five children: Thomas was 18 and an apprentice carpenter, Duffin was 17 and a railway clerk, James was 15 and a linen weaver, Ruth was 6 and Norman was 3.  He said he had been married for 19 years and that he had had nine children, eight of whom were still alive.


Thomas Francey was 22 ¼ years old on enlistment and stood just 5' 6" tall.  He had blue eyes and brown hair.  He said he was single and a teamster.  He served for 32 months in the CASC as a H T (Horse Transport) Driver in the 3 Company of the 1st Division Train, though he says elsewhere in his military record that he was a carpenter.  He was injured or developed knee problems in late 1917 and had to be returned to England for treatment at 9th Canadian General Hospital, at Monk Horton Convalescent Hospital, and at Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton, not being discharged from the latter until 19th December 1917.  He went to the CASC Reserve and Duty Depot at Shorncliffe but other medical problems kept him from returning to France.  He was even placed on restricted pay for five months from the 14th January 1918.  The decision was eventually made to return him to Canada and he boarded HMT Saturnia in Glasgow for that purpose on the 25th July 1919.  He was back in Canada on the 4th August 1919 and was demobilised on 7th August, stating that he was going to 14, Burlington Street, West Hamilton, Ontario.

418938 Private William Alexander Fulton,  42nd Bn. Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regt.), enlisted on the 21st May 1915 in Montreal, Canada, but he was a Co Antrim man. He was then 34 years and 3 months old, a single man who was working as a book keeper. He said he had been born in Belfast and his birthday is recorded as 24th February 1871, but this is obviously wrong, 1881 being correct. He was 6' tall and had blue eyes and dark brown hair. He gave Letitia Fulton, 34, University Avenue, Belfast, as his next of kin, and at other times mentions his niece Miss Jennie Jackson, 12, Oregon Street, Crumlin Road, Belfast, Anthony Jackson, Carleton, Egremont, Cumbria (later 7, Elm Street, Ipswich, Suffolk). His will, however, states that his mother Margaret lived at 30, Casement Street, Ballymena.


The 1901 census also records the family in Ballymena.  They were in Paradise Avenue, Harryville. Alexander Fulton, his father, was a 60 year old gardener and his wife Margaret was 50 years old. William was 21 and described as a clerk.  The 1911 census put them in nearby Casement Street. Margaret was recorded as a 70 year old widow, William Alexander was 31, and William's niece, 8 year old Jeannie Jackson, lived with them.


The 42nd Battalion left Montreal for Plymouth, England aboard SS Hesperian on 10 June 1915 and reached England on the 19th June. They were designated the Quebec Regiment, part of the 7th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, and went to Boulogne, France on the 9th October 1915.  They were not to leave France until the 7 February 1919 and were not back in Canada until the HMT Adriatic docked on 1st March.


William A. Fulton has almost no military record as he died of wounds from an accidental discharge of his own rifle on 4th February 1917. He has been assigned to police duties at the St Eloy (Eloi) posts and there had been some kind of incident involving a contradictory statement and Fulton's arrest of 417968 Pte Sam Leogonsker sic (actually Semen Liagushkin), 3rd Pioneer Battalion, but this seemed settled and Fulton was on leave from the 9th-24th January 1917.  His unit was around the time of his death alternating in the front line with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI).  The Quebec Regiment were in the front line on the 28th January and were relieved by the PPCLI on the 2nd February, Fulton's unit then going to the Divisional Reserve at Bois des Alleux Camp for a rest.  They remained there until the 7th February.


A Court of Enquiry was held at Bois des Alleux.  Sergeant G R Thompson said as follows: 'Pte Fulton W. A. met his death by a wound self-inflicted and accidental.'


His will gave his effects to his 'dear mother' and his niece Jeanne Fulton at 30, Casement Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, France and commemorated Harryville Presbyterian Church.

334539 Driver George Galbraith lived at 52, Windemere Avenue, Highland Park, Michigan, USA, and he enlisted in the 63rd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery at London, Ontario on the 7 November 1917.  He said he was born on the 11 November 1889 - this is confirmed by documents showing his birth registration - that he was single and a carpenter. He was 5’ 7” tall and had blue eyes and red hair.

George Galbraith was a Presbyterian born in Co Antrim and he is named on the list of Clough Presbyterian Church, his place of birth being given a Carnlea townland and his unit stated to be Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column.

He was the son of Alexander Galbraith and Elizabeth, nee Cubitt. They were farmers and records show they had married on 26 February 1881. The 1911 Irish census records Alexander (62) and Elizabeth (53) at Carnlea and says accurately that they had been married for 30 years. They had had 7 children, all of whom were still alive in 1911. Four children were present at the time of the census: Bob (Robert) was 19, Alexander was 16, James was 14 and Elizabeth was 12.

The 1901 census records Alexander (40) and Elizabeth (36) living in Carnlea and lists all seven of their children. Annie was 15, Martha was 14, George was 11 (birth registration says born 11 Nov 1889), Bob was 9 (birth registration born 4 Jan 1892), Alexander was 6 (birth registration 26 Jan 1895), James was 3 (birth registration born 2 Oct 1896) and Lizzie was 2 (birth registration born 10 Oct 1898).

He enlisted in the 63rd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery on the 7 November 1917 and trained in Canada for a time before leaving Halifax on the 10 February 1918 bound for Glasgow aboard the SS Laplander.  He landed in the UK on the 28th February and went to Witley Camp.  He finished his training and was with the Canadians in the field on the 20 May 1918.  He was sent to the 4th Division Ammunition Column and worked as a Driver.  His transfer to the DAC was probably because he had poor eyesight. He served without incident in France from May 1918 to April 1919 and was returned to Halifax, Canada aboard the SS Aquitania from Southampton. He was demobilised on the 27 May 1919.

George’s younger brother Robert (Bob) had emigrated to New Zealand and was 15160, Private, 2nd Bn, Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F.  He died of wounds in 13th General Hospital Boulogne of wounds received on his first day in trenches, the 15th November 1916; he passed away 8th December 1916. Clough Presbyterian Church also lists George’s younger bother James Galbraith, a soldier who served with the Royal Scots and who was taken prisoner during the war.

The family headstone in Clough Cemetery reads as follows:

Erected by Elizabeth Galbraith

In memory of her husband Alexander Galbraith, Carnlea, died 12th Nov 1928, aged 79 years
Also their son Robert Galbraith died 8th Dec 1916 at the General Hospital, Boulogne of wounds received in the Great War, aged 25 years
Also Alexander Galbraith, died 11th Feb 1945, aged 50 years
Also the above named Elizabeth Galbraith, died 8th Sept 1950, aged 92 years
Also Mary wife of the above Alexander, died 14th July 1976, aged 82 years

'Them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him'

Galbraith Headstone, Clough Cemetery
312864 Gunner Ernest Fitzpatrick Gerard Getty, 5 Willow Avenue, Toronto enlisted in the Toronto Depot Battalion, 9th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery on the 22 November 1915 and the transferred to the 41st Battery on the 11 December 1915 – one file dates his service with the latter from the 15 December 1915. He said correctly that he was born on the 3 November 1891, that he was clerk, and that he was a single man and a Presbyterian. He is incorrectly recorded on one West Church Presbyterian memorial roll as being in the Royal Field Artillery. He also said he had previously served three months in the Army Service Corps. He was recorded as being 5’ 8 ¼ “ tall and having light blue eyes and brown hair. He nominated his mother as his next of kin.  She was Mrs Elizabeth Getty, Ballymena, Co Antrim.

James Gordon Getty married Elizabeth Gamble on the 3 November 1890 and the 1901 Irish census records the family at Mill Street, Ballymena. James Gordon Getty (the name is incorrectly transcribed as Gelty), 48 and a general draper, and his wife Elizabeth, aged 40, and five children were present on census day. The children were James Gordon, 18 and a civil engineer, Annie Young (16), Zara Martin (15), Adela (14) and Ernest (11). Agnes, 35 and a sister, lived with them, as did a servant.

Elizabeth was still at Mill Street, Ballymena in 1911 and said that five of the six children born of a nineteen-year long marriage were still alive at that date.  Elizabeth, a 53 year old widow and costumier, listed Gordon, 27 and an architect and surveyor, Annie (25), Zara (23) and Adela (21 and a book keeper), and Agnes, 54 and her sister in law.

Ernest Getty left St John aboard the SS Metagama and arrived in England on the 14 February 1916. He went to France on the 14 July 1916 and eventually served in the 8th Army Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.  He endured periods of sickness but suffered no injury during his war service in France and Belgium. He was returned to England in March 1919 and then to Canada aboard the SS Mauretania in May that year.

Ernest Fitzpatrick Gerard Getty died in Toronto on the 15 March 1953.

The family headstone in Ballymena reads:
In loving memory of J G Getty died 25th Dec 1905,
Also his son John Frederic, died 9th Jan 1889,
And his son Gordon, died 8th Feb 1922

Also his wife Elizabeth died 23rd Jan 1937
 "Until the day break."
 And his sister Agnes, died 6th Dec 1931 ...

862345 Sergeant John Gibson, 1 Bn, CEF was born on the 19th September 1887 and stood 6' 1" tall; he had hazel eyes and dark brown hair, and he was a policeman.  He joined the 180th Battalion, CEF in Toronto, Canada on the 15th February 1916, initially giving his mother as his next of kin, but his files were later modified to show that he lived with his wife, Edna May Gibson, at 70, Landsdowne Avenue, Toronto.


John Gibson came originally from Broughshane Street, Ballymena.  The 1901 census tells us that James B Gibson, 41 and Belfast born, was a spirit merchant, and that he lived with his wife Martha (41) and three children, John (14), Jane S (8) and Sarah (7). Annie Fay, a 21 year old domestic servant, lived with them.  The 1911 census records the family still in Broughshane Street. James B is a 53 year old publican, his wife Martha is 53 and 18 year old Sarah lives with them.  James states he has been married 32 years and that he has three children , all still alive. The family also appear in various Ballymena Town Directories, that of 1910 saying that James Gibson is a spirit merchant on Ballymoney Street and James B a publican on Broughshane Street.


John Gibson served a total of 3 years, 9 months and 2 days in the CEF.  He left Canada aboard the SS Olympic on the 13 November 1916 and reached England on the 21st November. He transferred to the 3rd Reserve Battalion on the 6 January 1917 and the transferred again to the 1st Battalion on the 20th April 1917.  He was in France next day.  


Gibson received a gunshot wound to the chest on the 3rd May 1917 and went to No 22 General Hospital, Dannes-Camiers before being returned to England.  He went to the Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow (reorganized as 5 C.G.H. September 1917), then to Hillingdon House Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Uxbridge in September, to Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom in November and finally back to the Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow in December.  He was back at No 2 Canadian Command Depot in March 1918 and transferred to 4th Reserve Battalion in April 1918. His record then shows that he went to Kimmel Park for return to Canada and that he returned there aboard SS Lapland in April.  He was discharged from the CEF on the 12 April 1919 and went home to his wife in Toronto.

745998 Acting Lance Corporal James Giffin, South Oshawa, Ontario (east of Toronto) joined the 116th Battalion, CEF on the 13th January 1916. He was a single man working as a moulder at the time of his enlistment, and he stood 5' 8" tall, had blue eyes and dark brown hair. He had been born in Ballymena on the 9th January 1893 and listed his mother as his next of kin.  She was Mrs Elizabeth Giffin, 2, Rosebury Terrace, Broughshane Road, Ballymena; Frank (Francis) Giffin was his father.


Giffin left Halifax aboard the SS Olympic on 23rd July 1916 and landed in Liverpool on the 31st July. He went overseas to Boulogne, France on the 11 February 1917.  Just a few months later, on the 16th August 1917, he sustained a gunshot wound to his left arm while on duty.  This was accidental.  While acting as a marker on a rifle range he was one of four soldiers in the butts struck by fragments of a bullet that ricocheted from the target frame. He went to 8th Canadian Field Ambulance, 6th Casualty Clearing Station and No 22 General Hospital, Dannes-Camiers, No 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples and No 5 Convalescent Depot, Cayeux, being finally discharged only on the 8th October 1917.  He rejoined his unit in the field on 15th October.


On 14th September 1918 he contracted flu and was admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne and later remained at No.10 Convalescent Camp, Ecault until 5th October 1918.


Giffin returned to England on 12th February 1919 and passed through the camps at Whitley and Bramshott before being 'discharged in [the] British Isles' on 24th March 1919.


Private James Giffin had been made an Acting Corporal (Bugle Band) on the 1st July 1916, and he was discharged as an A/Lance Corporal in 1919. He had also, somewhat amusingly, been fined £1-12-0 in March 1917 for 'mutilating government property (cutting great coat)'.

301419 Sergeant Robert Gillespie, 37th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery enlisted in Winnipeg on the 24th August 1915 and served in the CEF for 2 years and 7 months.  He had been born on the 13 March 1879 and said he was a former clerk turned farmer.  He was single and  just 5' 5 ½ " tall; he had grey eyes and light coloured hair.  He was a Ballymena man and listed as his next of kin his mother, Mrs Eliza Ann Gillespie, Mill Street, Ballymena.


The 1901 census return records Mrs Elizabeth A Gillespie, a 50 Year old widow born in Co Tyrone, as a housekeeper. She was living with her 28 year old daughter Leonore (sic) J, a saleswoman, and Annie T Irvine (20), a boarder and milliner. The 1911 return says 69year old Elizabeth A was now running a grocery business. Leonord (sic) Jane (41) and Alfred James (30), her children, lived with her.  She also stated she had had nine children, seven of whom were still alive.


Robert Gillespie left St John, New Brunswick on the 26th February 1916 aboard RMS Missanabie bound for Plymouth, England.  He reached there on the 12th March and spent four months there before going to France on the 13th July 1916. There is no information about his military service in the record, only that he reported ill with  'PUO' [fever] on the 26th June 1918, and that he was looked after by 10th and 5th Canadian Field Ambulance before being discharged to duty on the 1st July.  He returned to the UK on the 20th February 1919 and was back in Canada on 19th March.  He was discharged from the CEF on 15th April 1919, stating he was going to Viceroy, Saskatoon.  Later correspondence shows him living in California, USA.


Like many other ocean liners, the RMS Missanabie that had brought Gillespie to England spent the WW1 transporting troops, and she was eventually torpedoed 52 miles off Daunt's Rock, Co Cork, Ireland by U-87 on the 9 September 1918 with the loss of 45 lives.

11232 Private Charles Gordon, 4th Battalion, CEF, was born on the 18th February 1891, the son of a farming family from Ballymarlow (sometimes Ballymarlagh), Ballymena. William Gordon (35) and his wife Martha (32) listed five children on the 1901 census return: Ellen (12), Robert (11), Charles (9), James (5) and William (2).  In 1911 they stated they were 46 and 44 respectively, and they listed six children: Robert (21), Charles (18), James (16),  William (13), Sarah (10) and Minnie (7). They said they had been married 24 years and that their seven children were all still alive.


Charles Gordon enlisted on the 22nd August 1914 in Valcartier, Canada.  He was then 23 years old, stood 5' 9" tall, and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He said he was a single man and a painter by trade.  He also indicated that he served in the 36th Regiment (militia from area north of Toronto).


He left Canada with the 4th Battalion, CEF on the SS Tyrolia from Quebec in autumn 1914, the regiment disembarking on 14 October 1914 with a strength of 44 officers and 1121 other ranks. They went to France on 11 February 1915 as a component of the Canadian Division (later 1st Canadian Division), serving in the 1st Infantry Brigade. 


There is little detail in his military record but it does tell us a lot.  He was injured on the 26th April 1915, sustaining damage to his ankles.  He had been running with a message somewhere near the Yser Canal when he jumped into a trench and landed badly on uneven ground.  83rd CFA dispatched him via Boulogne aboard HS Carisbrooke to England and he arrived by train at the Duchess of Connaught's Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow on the 29th April.  He had fractured bones and after treatment spent about twenty days at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bromley before being moved to Monks Horton Convalescent Hospital on the 23rd May 1915.  He was not discharged to his unit until 11th August 1915. He later had other health problems and was in hospital in England in June/July 1916.


Charles Gordon returned to France in 1916 and was killed in action on the 8th October 1916.  He was killed near Courcelette, his unit taking part in one of the attacks on Regina Trench. Regina Trench  was dug along the north-facing slope of a ridge running from NW of the village of Le Sars, SW  to Stuff Redoubt, close to the German positions at Thiepval on the Somme. It was attacked several times by the Canadians during the Battle of the Ancre Heights. The 5th Canadian Brigade briefly controlled a section of the trench on 1 October but was repulsed by counter-attacks. An attack on 8 October, by the 1st Canadian Division and the 3rd Canadian Division on Regina Trench also failed, and here Gordon was killed.


However, local successes did not bring overall success. On 21 October, the 4th Canadian Division attacked again, this time the western portion of Regina Trench, as other units attacked the part further west. The Canadians the objective, as the II Corps divisions captured Stuff Trench in thirty minutes, giving control of the Thiepval Ridge. Three counter-attacks were repulsed by the Canadians. The east end of the trench was captured by the 4th Canadian Division during the night of 10/11 November.

The Gordon family probably did not rejoice to hear of the victory and more bad news was soon to arrive.

799154 Private James Gordon, 15th Battalion, CEF was the younger brother, born on the 4th August 1894, of Charles Gordon (above) and that he was a single man, a labourer, living at Mark Street, Toronto. He was 5' 9" tall and had blue eyes and brown hair, and he was 21 ¼ years old when he enlisted in the 134th Battalion on 15th January 1915; he said he then had been serving in the 75th Battalion for four months.


James Gordon left Halifax, NS with the 134th Battalion on the 8 August 1916 aboard the SS Scotian, and he landed in Liverpool on the 19th August. He transferred to the 15th Battalion and went over to France with them on the 10th/11th October 1916.  He was ill with tonsillitis from 27th January 1917 to the 4th February, but the returned to his unit.  He suffered gunshot wounds to his buttock and abdomen and died while with 3 Canadian Field Ambulance on the 2nd March 1917.


Two short reports of the day appear in the 15th Battalion War Diary for the 2nd March 1917. The first says: 


The day passed quietly .... At 5.00 pm relief by 9th East Surreys commenced ... no casualties ... Battalion moved into Brigade Support at Calonne. ... the men rested, prior to moving back the next night.


Elsewhere, however, it records a report that day from No 2 Observation Post. It says, and this is probably when James was hit:


1.53 AM: Barrage began. An enemy machine-gun in action opposite Centre Company.


2.07 am: Situation appears favourable and five minutes after enemy machine guns, trench mortars and artillery in action, and ground flares were put out from enemy lines.


2.21 am: Hostile barrage slight but steady from this time on to about 2.42 am when only single shells were being fired.


2.42 am: Action dying down. Our machine guns and trench mortars still in action.


He is buried in Fosse No. 10 Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France and commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.

6218 Corporal Robert Gordon, 1st Battalion, Canadian Infantry, enlisted in the CEF on the 22nd September 1914 in Valcartier, Canada.  He had been born on the 28th March 1890 and was 24 ½ years old when he joined up, also stating that he had previously served for two years in the Royal Irish Rifles. He was just 5' 5 ½ " tall and had blue eyes and fair hair. He was single and a labourer.


Robert Gordon was the son of Wilson and Agnes Gordon, Straid, Gracehill. Wilson Gordon was a 35 year old agricultural labourer in 1901, his wife a 34 year old linen weaver.  They listed six children in the 1901 census: John, 14 and a agricultural labourer, Agnes (13), Robert (11), James (9), Jeannie (6) and Wilson (3).  In the 1911 census Wilson (46) listed four children: Robert, 21 and an agricultural labourer, Jane (17), Wilson (13) and Timothy (6).  He said he had been married 26 years and that six of their nine children were still alive.


The 1st battalion sailed from Quebec aboard the SS Laurentic on 4th October 1914, and Robert Gordon was rapidly promoted, to Lance Corporal on the 19th April 1915 and to Corporal on the 24th April. However, the next entry on his record says he was killed in action on 15th June 1916.


The War Diary of the 1st Battalion details the circumstances thus:


AM, June 15, 1915


Battalion preparing for action.


1.30 PM, June 15, 1915: Battalion marched via north side of canal to front trenches east of Givenchy and took up positions preparatory to advance against enemy's trench.


3.00 pm, June 15, 1915, Givenchy: Battalion in position.


6.00 pm, June 15, 1915, Givenchy: Advance against German front began. Forward Company reached German second line trench but owing to exposure of flanks were obliged to fall back before a violent counter-attack to original front line British trench. This movement was completed by 9.30 pm. Battalion remained in front line trench (British)


1.00 am, June 15, 1915, Givenchy: Battalion was withdrawn to Oxford Terrace from Hatfield Road eastwards and employed in carrying out wounded and burying dead.  When all the wounded were evacuated with the assistance of the 3rd Canadian Bn and all dead buried, the battalion was withdrawn.


The report of the battle says the action left 10 officers killed, 8 wounded and 2 missing.  381 soldiers, other ranks, were killed, 218 wounded and 82 left missing. Robert Gordon was initially reported missing in action but was later assumed to have been killed. 


The ship that brought Gordon to England was equally unlucky.  SS Laurentic was a British ocean liner of the White Star Line built by Harland and Wolff. As she was in Montréal when the Great War began, Laurentic became a troop transport for the CEF. After conversion to armed merchant cruiser service in 1915, she struck two mines off Lough Swilly, Ireland on 25 January 1917 and sank within an hour. Only 121 of the 475 aboard survived. The ship was carrying about 43 tons of gold ingots and Royal Navy divers recovered all but about 1% of the ingots.

862164 Private William Gordon, 4th Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regt.), enlisted in Toronto on 7th February 1916 in the 180th Bn, CEF. He was born on the 8th August 1893 and was at that time 32 years and 5 months old.  He was a single man, a carpenter,  and stood 5' 9 ½ " tall.  He had brown eyes and brown hair.  He gave his address as 829, Carlaw Avenue, Toronto. He was, however, from Killybegs, Slatt, Ballymena, the son of Smyth and Nancy Gordon.


The 1901 census return shows Smyth, 56 years old and a farmer who was originally from Dunnygarron, Cullybackey, and Nancy (50) and seven children: Smyth (26 and a cloth tenter, Samuel (24), Willie (18), Lizzie J (16 and a linen weaver), Thomas (14), Sarah (13) and David (10).  The 1911 return says Smyth is 64, his wife 58, and they list six children: Samuel (34), Willie (28), Lizzie  (26), Thomas (24 and a clerk), Sara (23) and David (21). The couple said they had been married for 38 years and 8 of their 9 children were still alive.


William left Canada on 13th November 1916 aboard the SS Olympic and arrived in England on the night of the 12/13 November.  He transferred to the 3rd Reserve Battalion on the 6th January 1917 and then to the 4th Battalion on the 16th January.  He went as a reinforcement to Canadian Base Depot (CBD), France in March 1917 and was with his unit from the 25th March.  He was ill for a short time but rejoined his unit on the 31st March 1917.  He was killed on the 4th May 1917, allegedly by a shell at 10.30 am as he stood in his own line at Vimy Ridge on 3rd/4th May 1917. Nothing much was happening at the time and he appears to have been one of those who were randomly killed on a daily basis by shells, bullets, accidents, illness, etc. The absence of intense battle is certainly noted in the war diary of the unit, reference being made only to gas shells.


William Gordon is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

82112 Sergeant Samuel Gore, Canadian Army Pay Corps, has a very different military record.  He enlisted in the 32nd Reserve Battalion, CEF at Shorncliffe Camp, England on 23rd May 1916. The 32nd Battalion, CEF, was originally an infantry battalion authorized on 3 November 1914 and sent to the UK on 23 February 1915. However, it became the 32nd Reserve Battalion, CEF on 18 April 1915 and on 4 January 1917 its personnel were moved to the 15th Reserve Battalion. The battalion disbanded on 1 September 1917. 


Samuel Gore was born on the 28th August 1890 and he was a single man and a bank clerk.  He was 29 years old on enlistment, just 5' 5" tall, and he had grey eyes and dark brown hair.  He named his brother as his next of kin; he was Robert K Gore, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, Enniskillen. 


Samuel Gore was originally from Ballymena. The 1901 census shows the family living in Waveney Road. William Gore, 47 years old and a widower, said he was a master flax dresser, and he lived with his eight children: Matilda C, 22 and a school teacher, Robert K, 19 and a solicitor's clerk, James, 17 and a draper's assistant, Ellen (16), Samuel (14), Alfred F (13), Mabel E (6) and Harold (5).


The first family was scattered by time of the 1911 census.  William, now 57 and still a flax dresser, lived at Mervue, Duncairn, and he had had a new wife for some nine years.  She was Elizabeth (37), born in Malta and a JP. Harold (15) still lived with him, but four new children born in Co. Down are listed: Mary (8), Noel (6), Walter Wasmore (4) and John (1). 


Samuel, now 24, appears to have been a cashier in a brewery and was boarding in Gallows Hill, Dundalk, and Mabel Edith (16) was probably boarding in Merrion Street, Dublin. The rest cannot be found.


 By 1916 Samuel Gore was either living in England or he went there to enlist.  His record shows he moved around and between units from time to time but in his own words said as follows: I 'enlisted in May 1916 and [was] sent to London Pay Office [the] same month and [I] was there until August 1918.'


The Canadian Army Pay Corps had been established in 1907 and during the First World War, each unit of the CEF overseas in October 1914 had on its establishment a Paymaster and a Pay Sergeant who were members of the units with which they served. The CAPC provided initially a Chief Paymaster, Command Paymaster, and Paymaster, for Canadian Troops in France, with six field cashiers. In 1917, all unit Paymasters and Pay Sergeants were transferred to the CAPC. Moreover, the establishment of the office of the Chief Paymaster grew to a strength of approximately 2,000 all ranks and civilians during the war, and Gore, one of these, gave his entire service in England. However, as a Canadian soldier, he exercised his right to go to Canada aboard the SS Belgic on the 13th August 1919 and he was discharged from the CEF in Vancouver, B. C. on the 28th September 1919.

1037112  Acting Company Sergeant Major Matthew Graham, 238th Battalion, CEF said on enlistment that he was from Glen Valley, British Columbia (later 550, Broadway West, Vancouver, BC) and he said 'sawmills' when asked his occupation; his records refer to him at various times as lumberjack, linesman and electrician.  He said he had also been in the Irish Guards at a time.  He said he was born on the 27th January 1881 (correct), but he gave his age as 30 years when he enlisted in July 1916!  He was 6' 0" tall and had blue eyes and brown hair. He was married to Annie, and at one point said he had five children: Annie (10), Margaret (8), Matilda, Matthew and Charles James.


Matthew Graham also said he was born in Ahoghill, Co. Antrim and that his father Matthew Graham lived at Granagh, Rasharkin. Indeed, the 1901 census records Matthew, 52 and an agricultural labourer, living with his wife Margaret (53) and his son John, 22 and also an agricultural labourer.  In the 1911 census return only 68 year old Matthew, still a labourer, is recorded, and he is a widower.


Matthew Graham had sailed aboard the SS Scandinavian from Halifax, NS to Liverpool between 11th and 22nd September 1916. The battalion was carried by three trains to Witley Camp, Surrey, where training and organization were continued. He was appointed A/CSM at Whitley Camp but reverted to Private at his own request after he was released from isolation hospital (20/12/1916  - 11/1/1917), Castle Douglas, Scotland.


Graham's presence in Castle Douglas tells us quite a lot about him.  Scotland and England had been divided into three Forestry Districts, No. 2 District (later re-designated No. 52 District) being assigned to the 238th Battalion, the Headquarters of which were moved on 6th December 1916 to Orton Park, near Carlisle. In this District, operations were then being carried out at Dalston, near Carlisle; at Riddings Junction, on the Netherby Estate; at Castle Douglas, in Scotland; and at Whittingham, 35 miles north-west of Newcastle. Graham appears to have been one of the 4 officers and 156 other ranks who went initially to Castle Douglas, Scotland.


He was re-appointed A/CSM on the 7th March 1917, taken on strength from No 2 District, and he was with 17th Company at Carlisle on 1st May 1917.  He went back to being a Private on the 19th October and spent periods with the 51st District, and with the 109th Company of 55th District at Kincardine on Forth, Scotland, before being made Acting CSM (with pay) at Stirling.  He stayed there for a time but was, however, sent back to his base depot in late 1918 and was returned to Canada on the 23rd September 1918. He landed at Quebec on the 8th October 1918, his record showing that he was travelling onward to his wife at 2049, Semlin Drive Grandview, Vancouver.  He had been discharged on medical grounds after being found 'unfit for general service', the key problem being arthritis of the knee.


Matthew Graham had served in the CEF for two years, four months and eleven days, two years and thirty days of it with the Canadian Forestry Corps in England and Scotland. The rest of the time was spent in Canada. He appears to have died at Langley, BC on 26th August 1963.

152774 Private Norman Graham [Norman Graham is listed as Nathaniel Graham on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site and appears under this name in Irish census records of 1901 & 1911. On his original Attestation Paper the name Nathaniel is scored out and he is referred to elsewhere on the paper and in his record as Norman], 13th Battalion, CEF enlisted in the 79th Battalion, CEF in Brandon, Manitoba. He listed his mother as his next of kin and named her as Agnes Graham,  but elsewhere his record refers to his wife Annie Graham, Teenis, Ballynacaird, Broughshane; his father is elsewhere named as David and he may have been deceased before the end of the war. The family are in a different place, said to live in Ballyligpatrick and this location appears on census returns; the CWGC names his parents as David and Agnes Graham, Blackstown, Ballyligpatrick, Broughshane.  Annie Graham (nee Annie Moore, later became  Annie Allen), Teenis, Ballynacaird is Nathaniel's wife.


He was a single man and said he had been born on the 18th July 1891.  He was at time of enlistment a fireman, 23 years and 5 months old and he was 5' 8 ½" tall; his eyes were grey and his hair brown. He stated that he had served in the 99th Manitoba Rangers for eight months.


The 1901 census says David Graham, 44 and a farmer, lived in Ballyligpatrick with his wife Agnes (41), his sister Lizzie (42) and eight children: Robert (19), Annie (17), John (15), William (13), Nathaniel (10), Mary (6), Agnes (4) and David (2). The 1911 return records David (55), Agnes (52), Annie (27), John (25), Nathaniel (20), Mary (16), Aggie (Agnes) (14), Margretta (9), David (12) and Martha (5). David said he had been married for thirty years and ten of his eleven children were still alive.


Graham's unit sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard RMS Lapland on the 24th April 1916 and reached England on the 5th May.  He was at the Canadian Base Depot in France on the 6th July and with his unit, now 13th Battalion,  on the 16th July.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 8th December 1916 and to Corporal on the 10th January 1917, but he reverted to Private at his own request on the 16th February 1917. He was attached to 3rd Brigade Baths from 24th April 1917.


Norman Graham took ill at the end of January 1919 and was attended to by 55 CCS.  They got him to the 7th General Hospital, Wimereux on the 2nd February, and he was later moved to the 8th Stationary Hospital, Wimereux.  There he died of Broncho-pneumonia on the 12 February 1919, a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War 1, somewhere between 20 and 40 million people, more than died in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.

237820 Private William Grant enlisted in the 204th Battalion, CEF at Toronto on the 15 May 1916 and said he lived at 7, Rose Avenue, Toronto.  His papers indicate he was 5’ 3 ¾ “ in height and that he had blue eyes and fair hair. He also said he was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 29 September 1886 and that he was single and worked as a wool finisher. He also said his father, a widower, was William Grant, 12 Prospect Place, Ballymena - local records show his mother Jane had died of stomach cancer on the 28 November 1914.

William Grant, Snr. married Jane Colwell in Cloughwater Presbyterian Church on the 5 January 1882 and the couple had been married for 29 years by the time on the 1901 census.  They were living at 12 Prospect Place, Ballymena and William, a dealer in drapery, was 52 years old; his wife Jane was 49. They listed six children - Agnes (18), William (16), Margaret (14), Ellen (12), John (10), and Thomas (5).

They were living at Clonavon, Ballymena in 1911 - It seems, unless his family had moved back to Prospect Place, that William was unaware that his parents had moved! William Snr, 63 and a retired labourer, still lived with his wife Jane and the couple listed four children, though they said they had had six children during their marriage – Margaret, born in Scotland, was 24, Nellie (Ellen) was 22, John was 20, and Thomas was 15.

William Grant left Canada aboard the SS Saxonia on the 26 March 1917 and arrived in England on the 7th April.  He transferred from the 204th Battalion to the 2nd Reserve Battalion, then to the 125th Battalion, and finally to the 38th Battalion for service in France and Flanders. He was to spend about 14 months with the latter, and he was in France after the 27 March 1918.

His military career was largely uneventful, though he was slightly wounded in the neck and back by shrapnel on the 29 September 1918. No. 23 Casualty Clearing Station sent him to hospital aboard Army Train 14 and he was treated at 26 General Hospital, Etaples after the 30 September 1918. However, he was discharged to the depot at Boulogne on the 30th October and was soon back with his unit. He remained with them until he was returned to England for repatriation on the 5 May 1919. He boarded the SS Olympic at Southampton on the 6 June 1919 and was at Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 12th June.

He appears to have married during the war and various addresses around Toronto are given for him and Isabella Campbell Grant.

In the event of my death I give my personal property and effects to my brother, Robert Gregg, Bleacher's Row, Lisnafillan, Co Antrim, Ireland.
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

135064 Driver James Gregg, 11th Field Company, Canadian Engineers, enlisted in Toronto on the 27 July 1915 and he said he was a single man and a labourer. He was 5’ 9” tall and had grey eyes and brown hair. He said he was born in Ballymena, his birthday the 10 February 1888, and he listed as his next of kin Mr T Morrison, 18 (or 16) Alexander Street, Ballymena.  He was his stepfather. His will also lists his brother Robert, Bleacher’s Row, Lisnafillon, Ballymena, and he had a least one other sister called Elizabeth, born 12 June 1879 at Tullygrawley.

He was, according to local birth registration records, born on 28 February 1887 at Alexander Street, Ballymena. James Gregg’s parents appear to be Andrew and Rose Gregg, nee Irvine, Erwin or Irwin - all spellings used – who married on the 20 October 1875 in Craigs Parish Church, Cullybackey. Both then had lived at Tullygrawley, Cullybackey.

Gregg enlisted in the 74th Battalion, a battalion authorized on 10 July 1915 that embarked for Great Britain on 29 March 1916 where it provided reinforcements to the Canadian Corps in the field. Gregg sailed with them from Halifax on the 29 March aboard the SS Empress of Britain and shortly after arrival at Bramshott Camp, England transferred on the 8 July 1916 to the 87th Battalion. He transferred again in August 1916, this time to the 11 Field Company, 4th Division Canadian Engineers.  He went to France with them and served without incident as a driver until the end of the war.

He left Liverpool aboard the RMS Adriatic in August 1919 and was discharged from the army.  He had been granted permission to marry in early 1919 and his wife was for a time living at 21, Greenvale Street, Ballymena.  Their later address was 44, Morse Street, Toronto.
681765 Sergeant Robert George Hamill, MM,  enlisted in the 170th Battalion, CEF and said he lived at 15 Givens Street, Toronto.  His papers say he was 5’ 10” tall and that he had blue eyes and fair hair. He said he had been born on the 20 May 1892 and that he was a single man and a teamster.  He nominated his mother as his next of kin. She was Mrs Agnes Hamill, Grange Corner, Toome.

The 1901 and 1911 Irish census returns record the family. They were at ‘Grange Park’, according to the official document, and Nancy (Agnes) Hamill was a 47-year-old farmer. She recorded six of her children as being present on the day of the census. They were Adam (17), William John (12), Samuel (10), Robert George (8), Alexander (5) and Shepherd (2)

The 1911 documents record John, a 55-year-old labourer, and his wife Nancy (57) at Taylorstown, Grange Corner. The couple said they had been married for 28 years and that seven of the eight children born of the marriage were still alive. They listed William John (22), Alexander (14) and Shepherd (11).  Other members of the family were listed on 1911 returns and they are named individually on the record of other families who had employed them as agricultural labourers.

Two of those named on the 1901 record appear on this website. Alexander Hamill and his brother Shepherd joined the Royal Irish Rifles and both died.  3795 Private Shepherd Hamill, aged 19 and of the 11th RIR, died of heart failure in the Military Hospital, Belfast on the 3 September 1915. 3736 Private Alexander Hamill, aged 21 and of the 20th Battalion, RIR, died of pneumonia in the Military Hospital, Belfast on the 21 April 1916. Both are buried in the family plot at Grange Presbyterian Church.

Robert George Hamill left Canada from Halifax on the 25 October 1916 aboard either the SS Mauretania or the SS Lapland – both ships were part of the convoy – and he arrived in Liverpool on the 31st October.  He trained and then transferred to the 75th Battalion on the 5 December, thereafter going to France immediately. He was with his unit in the field on the 30th December 1916. 

He served without incident until poisoned by a gas shell near Lens on the 26 January 1918. 12 Canadian Field Ambulance and 18 Casualty Clearing Station dealt with him until he could be removed to 83 General Hospital at Boulogne on the 30 January. He spent about two months there and then HS Pieter de Connick took him to England. He was at 2/1 Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham in March 1918.  He remained there until he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epson on the 2 April; he was there until the end of May 1918.

The decision was made to return him to Canada and he left England aboard the SS Empress of Britain from Liverpool on the 1 January 1919.  He reached Canada on the 20th January and was discharged from the CEF in Toronto on the 15 February 1919.  At discharge he said he was going to 15 Yorkville Avenue; he later appears to have moved to 67a Edwin Avenue, Toronto.

Sergeant Robert George Hamill had been a gallant and able soldier.  He won the Military Medal for bravery in the field, the award recorded in the London Gazette, Issue 30243, page 8647, 21 August 1917.


Robert George Hamill's Military Medal  award
 Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 August 1917, Issue 30243, page 8647

829666 Alexander Hamilton enlisted in the 144th Battalion, CEF on 7th December 1915 in Winnipeg.  He said he was born on the 15th April 1888 and that he was single.  He was then 27 years and 8 months old.  He was 5' 10" tall and had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was a plasterer by trade and gave his address as 262, Fountain Street, Winnipeg. He named his father as his next of kin and said he was Hill Hamilton, 11, Clonavon Terrace, Ballymena.


The 1901 census return shows Hill Hamilton, a 53 year old stonemason, living in Warden Street, Ballymena with his wife Mary Ann (54) and his six children: Jane, 26 and a dressmaker, Hill (24), Alex (22) and John (16), all plasterers, Mary (19) and David (13). They were in 11, Clonavon Terrace when the 1911 census was taken.  Hill, 68 and still a stonemason, Mary Ann (67), Jane (34), Alex (31), Mary (28), John (25) and David, a 22 year old carpenter (mistakenly transcribed as 'Laird' Hamilton) shared the house. Hill senior said all of his six children born during his 36 year marriage were still alive. Hill, his other son, was then 31 and married to Jane (28) and the couple had just had a baby, Marion Elanor (sic).  They lived in Mount Street, Ballymena.


Alexander Hamilton left Halifax, N.S. aboard the SS Olympic on the 18th September 1916 and arrived in Liverpool on the 25th September.  He went to camp and was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion on the 12th December. On the 1st February he transferred to the 52nd Battalion and was in France the next day.  He didn't reach his unit in the field until the 24th April 1917.  His records thereafter show only a few periods of leave and a Good Conduct Award.  He returned to England on the 10th February 1919, boarded the SS Olympic in Southampton on the 17th March and returned to Canada.  He was discharged from the CEF on the 31st March 1919 and returned to Winnipeg.  He appears to have died there on 20th July 1963.

9202 Private John Steen Hamilton, who  died on Sunday,  8 October 1916 while serving with 'C' Company, 3rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry,  was born on the 29th August 1892 and was the son of John Steen Hamilton, a hotel servant, and Margaret Hamilton (nee McCullough), Princes Street, Ballymena.

The 1901 census shows 37-year-old John Steen Hamilton (Snr) living in Galgorm Street, Ballymena and he was a widower and a hotel servant.  He listed his children present on the day of the census as Francis (15), Eddith (sic) (10), John (8), Daniel (6) and Albert (4). It seems likely that his wife Maggie or Margaret, aged 31, had died in her bed on the 1 June 1900 from the effects of alcohol.

The 1911 census records 48-year-old John Steen Hamilton was living at Shankill, Belfast with his second wife, 40-year-old Isabella, and he was working as a shopkeeper. He said Isabella was his wife of 2 years but that he had had 8 children, all of whom were still alive.   He listed John Steen (18), Daniel (16), Albert (14) and a boarder called Hugh Anderson, a 28-year-old miller.  

John Steen Hamilton lived at various addresses in Toronto, all associated with his brother Francis A Hamilton. John was a salesman and single when he enlisted at Valcartier Camp on the 22 September 1914.  He was said to be 5’ 7” tall and had dark brown eyes and hair, and he was an Anglican.

Hamilton was wounded twice, the second time fatally. He was on the first occasion struck on the forehead by a bullet during a charge at Ypres on the 13 June 1916.  He was unconscious for an hour.  A bullet had ploughed a 2” lateral track but it was only a flesh wound.  He was treated in the 14 General Hospital at Boulogne and then moved to 3 Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.  He recovered well and was sent to the King’s Canadian Convalescent Red Cross Hospital, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill, Middlesex.  He also spent a period at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Epson before being returned to duty on the 12 August 1916.  He was with his unit in the field on the 24 September 1916 but his tenure was short. He was killed on the 8 October 1916. The Circumstances of Death Register says he was killed in action ‘during an attack in the vicinity of Courcelette’ and that he ‘was hit in the stomach by shrapnel from an enemy shell and died within a few minutes of being hit’.

That brief entry does little to show the true horror of the maelstrom in which Hamilton perished. The War Diary of the 3rd Battalion is more informative about Operation 94. It says the attacking troops left Death Valley at 7.40 pm and had completed relief of the 1st Battalion, Canadian Infantry at 11.30 pm on the 7 October. 14 Officers and 481 men made up an attacking force that to move forward in 4 waves of 2 Platoons per Company. ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies formed the first wave.  

The report says (adapted), ‘ten minutes after zero time the first objective was taken after some resistance and the second objective was in our hands a few minutes after ... The first two hours [thereafter] ... was relatively quiet. The enemy then started heavy shelling and bombing attacks (grenade attacks). By 11 am all the officers of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies had been killed or wounded, and most of ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies were casualties.

The Germans were seen massing large bodies of troops in the valley in front of our position, and started to heavily bomb our block (i.e. the obstruction Canadian troops had put in a captured line) ...  By this time our supply of bombs and SAA (small arms ammunition) were running short.  The men made a heroic stand in their second objective but were forced to fall back to their first objective about 1.30 pm. By this time only Major Haddon and Lt Chatterton were left of the 14 officers who went into the assault.  These officers did wonderful work in reorganisation ... but the enemy far outnumbered our men, and being fresh and well supplied ... were able to press on ....

Meanwhile a stubborn stand was being made in the trenches. Our supply of bombs being exhausted some of the men on the right were forced out of their trench and fell back into shell holes ... Lt Chatterton rallied these men and started a bayonet charge, but was severely wounded through the shoulder ...

It was now 3.00pm and things were getting rather desperate. Our bombs and SAA were completely exhausted, all the Lewis guns but one had been destroyed, and this one was without ammunition. A retirement was inevitable. The men were fighting with their fists. Lt Chatterton was killed by a sniper ... Corporal Walsh of ‘A’ Company ... tried to cover our retirement, but was killed a few minutes later, and the remnants of the Battalion were forced back to their jumping off trench ... the enemy did not come on. Of the 14 Officers and 481 ORs ... only 1 Officer and about 85 ORs were left.’

John Steen Hamilton is buried in Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, as is 26 year old Willoughby E Chatterton..

Extract from the War Diary of the 13th Battalion.
It notes casualties by date and Wm Hamilton appears as wounded on the 5th September 1916.

427486 William Hamilton enlisted in the 46th Battalion, CEF at Estevan, Saskatchewan and was later to serve in Europe with the 13th Battalion, CEF. Hamilton was single and stood 5’ 7” tall, and he had blue eyes and red hair.  He worked as an engine wiper/fireman on the railway, and he gave his then address as 143, Percy Street, East Brandon, Manitoba (A later address was 244 Franklin Street, Brandon). He also said he was born on the 21 April 1893 at Loughconnelly/Loughconnolly, Broughshane, Ballymena. He was a Presbyterian and his name appears on a memorial roll for Buckna Presbyterian Church.

Robert Hamilton of Loughconnolly married Martha Hamilton of Aughafatten on the 3 September 1878 in Glenarm Presbyterian Church and they were eventually to have ten children. One had died by 1911.

The 1901 Irish census records Robert Hamilton, 50 and a farmer at Loughconnelly, Broughshane, and his wife Martha (43) and nine children. Sarah (20 – born 25 June 1879), David (18 – born 16 April 1881), Robert (16 – born 3 June 1883), Hill (14 – born 18 May 1885), Martha (12 – born 14 October 1887), James (10), William (8 – born 25 April 1892), Agnes (6 – born 25 April 1894) and John (4 – born 26 May 1898) were listed. Another child, Lizzie (10), had been born by the time of the 1911 census. Robert was then said to be 64 and his wife 57.

Hamilton left Canada from Halifax aboard the SS Lapland on the October 1915, disembarked at Devonport on the 30th October, and completed his training thereafter.  He was designated for service in France and Flanders on the 16/17 June 1916 and transferred to the 13th Battalion for that purpose. He was with the unit in France on the 19th June.

William Hamilton was wounded while fighting on the Somme in September 1916.  His medical record says this happened on the 8th September but it is inaccurate. The war Diary of the 13th Battalion for that date says the unit was in camp after an exceptionally strenuous tour in the trenches and elsewhere gives details for what unfolded. On 3 September the unit was asked ‘to send forward two Companies to Posieres (sic –actually Pozieres)’ to support Australian units attacking Mouquet Farm; No 1 and No 2 Companies responded. No3 Company later joined them and soon the whole 13th Battalion was fighting in the line after having relieved Australian colleagues.  It goes on to say that ‘during the whole of Sunday night, the men were heavily shelled’ and the shelling continued on the following days, and the 13th Battalion also suffered ‘a heavy counterattack’. The War Diary lists the men killed, injured and missing by date.  427486 William Hamilton is recorded as wounded on the 5th September.

Hamilton was evacuated to England and was at the Stoke-on-Trent War Hospital, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire on the 14 September; he was suffering from shrapnel injuries that affected his chest, thigh and leg. He went to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom on the 28 October but was in the Horton (County of London) War Hospital in December. (Horton Asylum, opened in 1902 on 88 acres of the Horton estate, was in 1915 taken over by the Army Council.  It became the Horton (County of London) War Hospital, a general hospital for servicemen from all parts of the Empire wounded during WW1.) He was not returned to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom until 31 January 1917 and he remained there until the 26 March 1917. The principal problem was apparently his leg, his wound healing slowly and incompletely.  

He was deemed unfit for further military service and arrangements were made to return him to Canada.  He sailed from Liverpool in May 1917 aboard the SS Olympic and thereafter he went to the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital for a time. He was discharged from the CEF on 9 August 1917.

A23033 Richard Hanna, 44th Battalion, CEF, enlisted on the 12th April 1915 at Portage La Prairie, Winnipeg; he was sent to C Company.  He said he was born on the 30th July 1893 and that he was a locomotive fireman.  He was single, 5' 8" tall and he had blue eyes and fair hair.  He was then about 22 years old and said he had served for eight months in the 99th Manitoba Rangers, a  militia unit.  He named his mother as his next of kin, Mrs Sarah Hanna, Shankbridge, Kells.


The 1901 census return shows George B Hanna, 61 and a dyer/finisher, living with his wife Sarah (47) and five children at Kildrum, Kells: Sophia (17), Elizabeth (16), George (13), Sarah (11) and Richard (7). George Boyle Hanna, 76 and still a finisher & dyer, was still living in Kildrum at the time of the census in 1911.  Sarah H was 56, John was 31 and Sarah was 21.  George's brother William (70) is listed, as is Martha Knox, a 32 year old domestic servant.  George said he had been married for 40 years and that 10 of his 11 children were still alive.


Richard's regiment sailed for England on the 23rd October 1915, but Richard was not with them.  He was discharged medically unfit on the 15th June 1915, his record marked 'not likely to become an efficient soldier'.

135920 Private John Harris enlisted at Toronto in the 74th Battalion on the 19 July 1915. He said he was single and a Presbyterian and that he worked as a driver.  His papers also record that he was 6’ 1 ½ “ tall and that he had grey eyes and black hair.  He said that he was born on the 20 January 1893 and his mother, nominated as his next of kin, was Rachel/Rachael Harris, Ballynafie/Ballynafeigh, Portglenone – this townland lies between Cullybackey and Portglenone, Co Antrim. Registration of birth papers show that John Harris was actually born on the 3 February 1893, the son of James, a stonemason, and Rachel, nee Chesney, of Lisnahunshin, Portglenone.

James Harris, 43 at the time of the 1901 census, was a stonemason living at Tullynahinnion, Portglenone with his wife Rachel (41). They recorded ten children: Thomas was 20 and a mason, Eliza Jane was 15 and a linen weaver, James was 13, William was 10, John was 8, Robert was 6, David was 4, Alex was 3, Mary was 2, and Hugh was an infant.

The family were still at Tullynahinnion at the time of the 1911 census. The parents, then 53 and 51 respectively, said they had been married for 31 years and that they had had 12 children, 11 of whom were still alive. They listed seven of those named in 1901 and Samuel Harris, an infant grandson. John Harris is not listed.  He appears on the 1911 census as an 18-year-old farm labourer working for George Chesney at Ballynafie, Portglenone.

John Harris sailed for England from Montreal aboard the SS Scandinavian on the 23 March 1916. He subsequently transferred to the 1st Battalion, Canadian Infantry and went to France on the 24 March 1916. He received slight shrapnel damage to his right hand on the 13 June 1916 and Canadian Field Ambulance had him at the 13th General Hospital, Boulogne on the 14th. He was moved to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital and to various Canadian rest and convalescent centres around Boulogne before he was discharged to duty on the 30 June 1916. He was back with his unit on the 23 July 1916.

He also had an infected right hand in 1918 and spent a period, 12th to 28th July, receiving treatment at Boulogne.

He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Olympic in April 1919 and discharged from the army. He said on discharge that he was going to Todmorden, a small settlement located in the Don River valley in Toronto, Ontario. 314, Pape Avenue, Toronto also appears as his address at one point.
778556 Thomas Harris enlisted Todmorden in the 127th Battalion (York Rangers), CEF and said he had previously served in a local militia, the 12th York Rangers. He was then living at 811 Broadview Avenue, Toronto.  He said he was born on the 14 September 1880 and that he was a bricklayer. His papers say he was 5’ 10” tall and had hazel eyes and brown hair, and that he was a Presbyterian.  He nominated his son, Isaac Stewart Harris as his next of kin, and elsewhere in his record we learn that Isaac Stewart Harris was born, and the local register of births agrees, on 17 June 1904.  His brother was James Edgar Harris and he had been born, Thomas said, on the 23 March 1907. The children lived with their grandfather James Harris and his wife Rachel, this because, as stated on his attestation papers, he was ‘widowed’. This may not be correct. Elsewhere his papers indicate he ‘separated from wife 1913’. The couple, Thomas Harris, a stonemason and son of James, also a stonemason, of Tullynahinnion had married Mary, daughter of Isaac Stewart, a farmer from nearby Maboy, in Rasharkin Presbyterian Church on the 4 September 1903.

James Harris Snr, 43 at the time of the 1901 census, was a stonemason living at Tullynahinnion, Portglenone with his wife Rachel (41, nee Chesney). They recorded ten children: Thomas was 20 and a mason, Eliza Jane was 15 and a linen weaver, James was 13, William was 10, John was 8, Robert was 6, David was 4, Alex was 3, Mary was 2, and Hugh was an infant.

The family were still at Tullynahinnion at the time of the 1911 census. The parents, then 53 and 51 respectively, said they had been married for 31 years and that they had had 12 children, 11 of whom were still alive. They listed seven of those named in 1901 and Samuel Harris, an infant grandson. John Harris, listed in 1901, is not listed.  He appears on the 1911 census as an 18-year-old farm labourer working for George Chesney at Ballynafie, Portglenone.  James and Rachel were by the time of the Great War living at Ballynafie/Ballynafeigh too, as indicated by addresses listed on Thomas’s record. It is also clear that 135921 Sergeant William Harris and 135920 Private John Harris, both of the CEF, were brothers of Thomas – See adjacent records.

Thomas trained in Canada and then disembarked from the SS Olympic in England on the 30 August 1916.  He transferred to No 1 Construction Battalion (known as the 1st Canadian Railway Troops after the 9 February 1917).  He went to France and Flanders with them on the 6 October 1916 and stayed with them until 25 June 1918.  He was treated at 43 CCS and then 9 General Hospital but was thereafter returned to England aboard HS Essequibo suffering from ‘trench fever’.  He was treated at 4th Canadian General Hospital, Basingstoke from 3/4th July until 7 August 1918 and then at Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bexhill until 30 August.

Thomas Harris hadn’t been wounded but exposure to the harsh conditions of war on the Western Front had left him with medical problems such as headaches, backache and pains in the legs.  Army doctors judged him unfit for war service (C1 classification) and recommended his return to Canada. He was discharged from the CEF in January 1919.
135921 Sergeant William Harris, 8th Field Company, 3rd Division Canadian Engineers, was the brother of John (above – see for Irish census family detail) and enlisted in Toronto in the 74th Battalion on the same day, 19 July 1915. He listed his mother Rachel at Tullynahinnion, later at Ballynafie, as his next of kin and gave his address as 33 Westwood Avenue, Todmorden, Toronto, and this was to be the address to which he said he was going on discharge. He also listed 314 Pape Avenue, Toronto as his address at one point, as had his brother. He said he was born on the 19 November 1890 (local records agree), that he was single, a Presbyterian and a farrier/blacksmith. He was 6’ tall and had brown eyes and black hair.

He left Montreal on the SS Scandinavian in November 1915 with the 74th Battalion, later transferred to the 36th Battalion and finally went to the 8th Field Company, 3rd Division Canadian Engineers on the 25 March 1916. He went to France and, illness excepted, served without injury throughout the war. He was returned to Canada aboard the SS Royal George from Liverpool.  He was discharged in Canada on the 18 June 1919.

A/21026 Private Arthur Holmes, MM, 16th battalion (Manitoba Regt.), CEF, enlisted in the 43rd Battalion on the 18th February 1915 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 24 years old labourer was single, 6' tall, and he had brown eyes and brown hair. Holmes had only begun a new life in Canada just before the war and he was originally from Co Antrim, the son of David and Jane Holmes.  The family lived at Hugomont Villas, Ballymena at the time of his enlistment.


The 1901 census records the family living at Ballyclug/Crebilly.  David, 38 and a gardener, and Jane (38) listed seven children on the day the census was taken: William George (13), Arthur (11), Jane (9), Mary & Lizzie (6), David (3) and Martha (0).  In 1911 they were at the Moat Road. David was 55 and a gardener, Jane 54.  William George (24) and Arthur (22) were labourers, Jane (20) was a linen weaver, Mary & Lizzie (Elizzie sic) (16) were dressmakers, David (18) and Martha (10).  David said he had been married 26 years and that 8 of his 9 children were still alive.


Some local reports say he had been previously wounded by shells. His record certainly shows that he suffered a concussion from a shell.  He was in No 3 Canadian Hospital, Boulogne being treated for shell contusion from the 7th - 11th September 1916, was at No 7 Convalescent Depot from 11th September to 8th November, and then at No 3 Large Rest Camp from the 8th - 17th November 1916. 


On April 9, 1917, during the famous attack at Vimy Ridge, Arthur won the Military Medal while serving as a company stretcher bearer.  The particular act of bravery which brought the award was described as follows: 


'This man went forward as a company stretcher bearer. He displayed conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in dressing wounded men under shell fire. This work was so remarkably done that the most serious cases did not require a second dressing at the aid post.'


Just a few days after his exploits, Arthur Holmes was killed in action on the 30th April 1917 whilst tending more wounded men. The Holmes family later received a letter from Captain J. P. S. Cathcart, Medical Officer to the unit.   It stated: 


Dear Mr. Holmes, you have no doubt before this received notice of your son Arthur?s death. He was killed during the operations of April 28th while at his duty tending to the wounded. We had his body removed and buried along with some of his comrades in the left of a small village. His grave is marked and I think as soon as they receive the particulars the Record Office will inform you of the map location ...


Arthur was without doubt the best boy in my medical section. It may be of interest to you to know that he was recommended for a decoration for his wonderful work under heavy fire in the battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9th. Unfortunately he was killed before he received it. We all feel his loss keenly and I myself feel as if his position cannot be filled. I extend to you my heartfelt sympathy in your sad bereavement and also that of my section.


A letter from a soldier friend stated that Private Holmes had been killed in action by shell fire.


We did all we could for him but he only lived a few minutes. It is very sad news but it is my duty to inform you of his death. We all feel the loss of him very much and God help you to bear the sad news.


He is buried Orchard Dump Cemetery, Vimy Ridge. He is commemorated on the family headstone in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road, Ballymena. His brother Private David Holmes was also killed on active service at the front with the Ulster Division. 


The family were apparently living at 28, William Street, Ballymena at the end of the war.

256999 Private Archibald Thompson Hood came from Oxbow, Saskatchewan and his service with the 1st Depot Battalion, CEF is reckoned from the 10th January 1918.  He had been born on the 1st January 1895 an was the 21 years and 11 months old at the time of enlistment.  He was single, 5' 10" tall, and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He said he was a railroad foreman. Archie Hood was from Co. Antrim and said his father was James Hood, Racavan, Broughshane.


The 1901 census records James Hood as living in Ballygelly, Broughshane.  He was a 60 years old labourer and widower. He lived with Mary Anne O'Neill, his 80 year old mother-in-law, and Minnie O'Neill, a 16 year old niece.  Samuel (18), Clarke (9) and Archie (7) Hood also shared the home. The 1911 census records only James (74), Clarke (18) and Archie (16), the latter two being labourers. Archie tells us in his will that there were others in the family, a Jane Hood, also Oxbow, Saskatchewan, and George, the next entry, was a brother.


Archie left Canada on the 24th March 1918 and his ship, SS Missanabie, reached England on the 3rd April. He went to camp and was transferred to the 15th Battalion on the 4th April, then the 5th Battalion, Bramshott on the 19th August 1918.  He was in France the next day and joined his unit, the 52nd Battalion, in the field on the 5th September 1918.  The war ended on the 11th November 1918 and Archie was returned to England on the 10th February 1919.  He later boarded the SS Olympic in Southampton and was discharged at Port Arthur, Canada. Archie said he was returning to Oxbow, Saskatchewan.

1069215 Private George Hood enlisted in the 249th Overseas Battalion, CEF on the 6th December 1916 and said that he lived at Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  He named his sister Jane, elsewhere Jeanne, Hood, Oxbow, Saskatchewan as his next of kin, but he named his father as James Hood, Racavan, Broughshane. As stated in the previous entry, he was a brother of 256999 Private Archie Hood. The 1901 census records James Hood as living in Ballygelly, Broughshane.  He was a 60 years old labourer and widower. He lived with Mary Anne O'Neill, his 80 year old mother-in-law, and Minnie O'Neill, a 16 year old niece.  Samuel (18), Clarke (9) and Archie (7) Hood also shared the home. The 1911 census records only James (74), Clarke (18) and Archie (16), the latter two being labourers.


George was born on the 13th August 1879 and was 36 years old at the time of enlistment.  He was single, 5' 10" tall, and he was a section foreman on the Canadian Pacific Railway. He had blue eyes and dark brown hair.


He did not leave Canada until the 24th March 1918 and the SS Scandinavian did not dock until 3rd April. He transferred to the 10th Reserve Battalion on arrival and then went to the 20th Reserve Battalion on the 22nd April.  He was sent to the 42nd Battalion; The 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF, fought as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.  George was with the unit after the 31st August 1918 and remained with them until his return to England on 7th February 1919. He returned to Canada and was discharged from the CEF in Regina on 11th March 1919.


George Hood died on the 25th April 1960 in Montreal.

404859 Lance Corporal George Hood, 20th Battalion (Central Ontario Regiment), said he was born in Belfast, Ireland, and he nominated John Hood, 74, Moscow Avenue, Toronto, (72, & 74, Moscow Ave addresses appear in the brothers' papers, as does the later 78, Eastbourne Avenue, Coleman PO, Toronto. See 405307 Samuel Hood, MM below), as his next of kin.


There is no 'perfect fit' for him in the 1901 or 1911 census returns, but there is a fit that seems likely. The 1901 Census records Samuel Hood, 62 and a auctioneer and valuer, living in Mill Street, Ballymena (The Ulster Street Directory, 1907 gives him addresses in Mill Street and Galgorm Road. That of 1910 gives the address as 15, Mill Street) with his wife, 58 year old Charlotte, who was born in Queen's County (modern Laois), and their children: Thomas C C, 38 and an auctioneer, Annie (25), Eveline Ruth (21) and Samuel W (19). Living with them were their nephews and nieces: John (12), Mary (14), Maggie (10) George (8) and Samuel (5).  It is not quite the right age for 405307 Samuel Hood, but it is not unusual for the age stated on a return to be wrong.


The Hood family were still in Mill Street for the 1911 census. Samuel was 72, Charlotte (68), Annie (35), Eveline Ruth (33) and Samuel Wesley (31).  Mary Black, 32 and a servant, lived with them.  Samuel said he had been married for forty years and that he had had ten children of whom six were still alive. The three nephews, George, John and Samuel, were in Toronto by 1911.


George Hood said on the 8th April 1915 at enlistment in Toronto that he was born on the 21st September 1892. He was a single man and a printer.  He was just 5' 6" tall and he had grey eyes and light brown hair. 


George Hood sailed from Montreal aboard SS Metagama on the 16 October 1915 and arrived in England with the 35th Battalion on the 25th October, the same voyage made by his brother Samuel. He transferred from the 35th Battalion to the 20th Battalion and was taken on strength with them in the field on 9th March 1916.


His record like that of his brother Samuel says he was disciplined on the 14th May 1916 for being in 'Reninghelst without a pass' and for having 'improper dress'; the 20th Battalion brothers had clearly decided to have some time together!


George, unlike Samuel,  did not win any medals for valour, but he had a tough time in the 20th Battalion. About a month after his 'day off', at Zillebeke, Belgium on the 13th June 1916, he received a gunshot or shrapnel wound to his left leg about 4 inches above his ankle.  He went to No 8 Stationary Hospital, Wimereux, and then onward on the 17th June to the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, probably being transported on HS Newhaven. He went from there to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom and was not discharged from there until the 17th August 1916.  He remained getting fit in England for some time afterwards and did not rejoin his battalion until the 9th March 1917.  He spent the 9th - 14th  May 1917 in the care of No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance, this time be treated for 'general contusions' caused by having been 'buried' by a shell. Three months later, on the 20th August 1917, he received a gunshot wound to the left hand.  He was returned to England aboard HS Princess Elizabeth, and he went to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. Thereafter he went to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom, not being finally discharged until the 14th November 1917.  He spent some time at No1 Canadian Command Depot, Sling and in the 5th Reserve Battalion before being reassigned to the 20th Battalion.  He was not back with them in the field until the 15th February 1918.


George Hood was again hit. He was treated at the ADS but this time he died of his groin wounds on the 11th October 1918 while in the care of No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance. He is buried in Irish Ramillies British Cemetery, Ramillies,  a village approximately 3 kilometres north-east of Cambrai.

405307 Private Samuel Hood, MM,  20th Battalion, CEF, said he was born in Ballymena on the 13th January 1893, but there are no further references to the area.  He nominated John Hood, 72, Moscow Avenue, Toronto, later 78, Eastbourne Avenue, Coleman PO, Toronto, as his next of kin.  


The 1901 Census records Samuel Hood, 62 and a auctioneer and valuer, living in Mill Street, Ballymena (The Ulster Street Directory, 1907 gives him addresses in Mill Street and Galgorm Road. That of 1910 gives the address as 15, Mill Street) with his wife, 58 year old Charlotte, who was born in Queen's County (modern Laois), and their children: Thomas C C, 38 and an auctioneer, Annie (25), Eveline Ruth (21) and Samuel W (19). Living with them were their nephews and nieces: John (12), Mary (14), Maggie (10) George (8) and Samuel (5).  It is not quite the right age for 405307 Samuel Hood, but it is unusual for the age stated on a return to be wrong.


The Hood family were still in Mill Street for the 1911 census. Samuel was 72, Charlotte (68), Annie (35), Eveline Ruth (33) and Samuel Wesley (31).  Mary Black, 32 and a servant, lived with them.  Samuel said he had been married for forty years and that he had had ten children of whom six were still alive. The three nephews, George, John and Samuel, were in Toronto by 1911.


Samuel Hood was single and a printer, and he apparently worked for Beck's Cigar Co. (Beck was born in Baden, Ontario, the son of German immigrants. He worked in his father's foundry for a time, and later established a cigar-box manufacturing company in Cambridge, Ontario with his brother William. In 1885 he moved the company to London, Ontario, where it prospered and made Beck  a wealthy and civic leader.) He was about 22 years old at the time of his enlistment in Toronto in the CEF on the 7th August 1915 (service reckoned from 19/8/1915).  He was just 5' 6" tall and he had brown eyes and hair.


Samuel Hood sailed from Montreal aboard SS Metagama with the 35th Battalion on the 25th October and on the 16 October 1915 arrived in England.  He went to the 20th Battalion, 2nd Canadian Division, went to France on 9th March 1916 and was with his unit from the 24th onwards.  His record tells us just three things: he was on one occasion disciplined for being in 'Reninghelst without a pass' and for having 'improper dress', he was awarded the Military Medal on the 9th December 1916, and, he died of wounds at No 3 CCS on the 26th September 1916.


The action in which he died is recorded in the battalion diary.


20th Bn               Operational Order No 33 September 25th 1916


In conjunction with operation of 2nd Brigade, the 20th Battalion, 4th Brigade, will move to TARA VALLEY commencing at 6.00pm today in parties of Companies & Units in the following order: No 1,2,3 & 4 Companies, with their attached Units; No 4 Company being clear of the BRICKFIELDS by 6.12pm.


Brigade is providing scouts on the ALBERT- BAUPAUME ROAD to conduct parties to their bivouac.


Great coats will be worn bandolier fashion and packs will be piled by companies & Units and covered by tarpaulins.

All men in Companies and Units who have returned from hospital and are not equipped will be left as a guard near kite x. Lieutenant Carbert will be in charge of this party.


(Captain Charles Molyneaux Carbert, MC, aged 22, 20th Bn. attached Royal Flying Corps, died on the 1/02/1917. He was the son of Dr. and Mrs. G. B. Carbert, of Campbellville, Ontario. He is buried in Moorseele Military Cemetery.)


Samuel Hood was killed after midnight or the next day as operations consequent upon these orders were carried out. He is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery, France.

645820 Private (for a time Acting/Staff Sergeant) Thomas Houston enlisted in the 158th Bn, Canadian Infantry, and stated that he and his wife Sarah lived at 305 - 46th Avenue East, South Vancouver, BC, but he had been born at Gracehill, near Ballymena, Co Antrim, his mother being Mrs Sarah Houston. Thomas and Sarah had two children, a boy called Thomas Spencer and a girl called Jeanie. 


He was born on the 15th July 1875 and was 5' 9" tall, with blue eyes and black hair, an he was a shoemaker by trade, though he had worked as a real estate broker at one time. At enlistment in February 1916 he said he had served ten months in the Canadian Army Service Corps as a reservist.


He left Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 14th November 1916 aboard the SS Olympic and arrived in England on the 22nd November.  He was to spend the rest of his military service, November 1916 to August 1919 there. He seems to have been attached to the Canadian Army Medical Corps and referred to himself as an orthopaedic shoemaker. Thomas has a substantial medical file in his record that explains why he was never fit for front line service and why he was ultimately discharged as 'medically unfit' (his age of 44 years was also an issue) and returned to Canada.


Thomas Houston was probably the brother of NZ soldier 28883 Private David Houston, 2nd Bn Canterbury Regiment. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Houston of Carmacmoin, Gracehill, Ahoghill.

237767 Private John Ireland, was the son of James and Sarah Ireland, Ballygarvey, Ballymena.  James, 41 years old in 1901 and a mill carter/general labourer,  and Sarah (40) had had all of their eight children by that time.  Robert was 17 years old and a labourer, John (15) and George (13) were machine hacklers in a woollen mill, and Jane (11), Mary (9), James (7), Maggie (4) and Hugh (2) were scholars. In 1911 Robert and Jane were not listed but the rest of the family are. John has become a carpenter in the woollen mill, George is a labourer, Mary is a weaver, James a spinner and Maggie a winder in the woollen mill, probably Raceview Mill, Broughshane, and Hugh is still a scholar.


John moved to Canada some time after the 1911 census and gave his address as 5, Condor Avenue, Toronto when he enlisted in the 204th Battalion, CEF on the 8th May 1916.  Born on 1st March 1885, he was then just over 30 years old and was earning his living as a carpenter. He was 5' 3 ½ " tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair.


He left Canada aboard the SS Saxonia on the 26 March 1917 and landed in England on the 7 April 1917.  He went to East Sandling and the 2nd Canadian Reserve Battalion.  He was transferred to the 125th Battalion and later the 8th Canadian Reserve Battalion at Witley Camp before going overseas to the 54th Battalion.  He was taken on strength with them on the 16 April 1918, but he was transferred to the 50th Battalion on 15 August 1918.  He stayed with them and seems to have enjoyed an very ordinary military career with them (He only ever suffered from sinusitis and measles) until his transfer to the 54th Battalion on the 9 September 1918. He was returned to Canada aboard HMTS Mauretania on the 31 May 1919.  He went back to 5, Condor Avenue, Toronto and lived the rest of his life in Canada.  He died at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto on the 15 October 1962.


His brother was 17923 Corporal George Ireland, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, a former member of the Larne UVF, who was killed in action on the 1st July 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme and 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church.

190204 Private Robert McCartney Irvine, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, enlisted in the 91st Battalion, CEF in St Thomas, Ontario on the 3 April 1916.  He was a military veteran and said he had served previously for two years in the Royal Navy and the 'Military Veterans Battalion'. He was, however, originally from the Hillmount area of Craigs, Cullybackey.


The 1901 Census shows the family living in Dunminning. Samuel, 50 years old and  the night-watchman in the local bleach works, lived with his wife Anne (Annie), aged 43, and Martha, an 87 year old widow, and his sister Ellen, aged 52. The family of Samuel is recorded as follows: William John (13), Robert McCartney (10), Samuel (8), James Greer (5) and Thomas (1). The 1911 returns records Samuel  and Annie were living with Robert (20), Samuel (18) James (16), all labourers, and Thomas, 11 years old and deaf. The form records that Samuel and Annie had then been married for 31 years and that six of their nine children were still alive.


Robert said he was 25 years old on enlistment, stating that he was born on 7 May 1890.  He was 5' 11" tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair.  He was an Anglican. He gave his address as 54, Boylston Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts (later records refer to 49a Lynden Avenue, Somerville, Massachusetts as his discharge address and to 8 Olive Avenue, Mass.) The former Royal Navy sailor said he was then employed as a tailor.


He sailed on the 29 June 1916 from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England aboard the SS Olympic, arriving there on the 6 July.  He went to the 36th Battalion at West Sandling on the 15 July 1916 and then transferred to the 1st Battalion, (Western Ontario Regiment) on the 21 September 1916.  He was with his unit in the field after the 9th October. He served as a Lewis gunner and while at Cambrai on the 23 December 1916 received a gunshot wound in the jaw. He went to No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, France before being returned aboard HS Carisbrooke Castle to 1st Western General Hospital, Fazakerley, Liverpool.  He was released to Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom, and he was not discharged to service until 26 March 1917. He went to the 4th Reserve Battalion, Bramshott for a time and was not back in the field in France with the 1st Battalion until 15 August 1917.


Irvine was again wounded in October 1918.  While serving in the area around Vimy Ridge he was struck by shell shrapnel on the right leg, a metal shattering bone some 8 inches above his ankle.  He was treated at 56th General Hospital, Etaples, Herne Bay Military Hospital in Kent, 11 General Hospital (Moore Barracks), Shorncliffe and Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom. His wound healed, but he underwent a medical around this time and it was decided to return him to Canada for discharge as he was deemed medically unfit for military service.  He had long-term problems stemming from the leg wound and he was partially deaf from exposure to shell explosions ('concussion deafness').  He landed in Quebec on the 3 June 1919 from SS Megantic and returned to the USA.  He died there on 20 March 1967.

150964 Private Andrew Jackson enlisted in Brandon, Manitoba but was the son of James and Isabella Jackson, Cullybackey, near Ballymena.  Andrew said he had been born in Gracehill, Ballymena but the 1901 census shows James, aged 52 and a linen finisher, living in Cullybackey, with his wife Isabella (50) and three children: Andrew (16 and a clerk), Sara (14 and a schoolteacher) and George (11). James and Isabella were still there in 1911, James then working as a butler.  The children are not listed.  The couple said they had been married for twenty seven years and that their three children were all alive.


Andrew was working as a driver at the time of his enlistment in the 79th Battalion CEF on the 18 August 1916. He was 5' 7 ½ " tall and had blue eyes and fair hair. He said he lived at 34b, Cork Ave, W. Kildonan, Winnipeg.


His unit sailed from Halifax aboard the SS Lapland on the 24 April 1916 and landed in England on the 5 May.  He was transferred to the 1st Bn Canadian Mounted Rifles at East Sandling and was in the field with them by the 9 June 1916.  He received a slight wound on his left leg on the 30 September 1916 and did not return to his unit until 4 November.  The remainder of his military career seems to have been quite uneventful, the only course mentioned being for cookery, and he returned to England on the 13 February 1919.  He returned to Canada aboard the RMS Olympic on the 17 March 1919 and went back to Winnipeg.

84629 Sergeant George Jackson, MM, enlisted in Winnipeg early in the war. He was the son of James and Isabella Jackson, Cullybackey, near Ballymena, and like his brother Andrew (See previous entry), said he had been born on the 15 November 1889 in Gracehill, Ballymena. 


He was a carpenter by trade and was about 25 when he enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery in November 1914. He was 5' 9" tall and he had blue eyes and brown hair. He gave his step-brother as his next of kin, Mr A. Anderson, 415, Alfred Avenue, Winnipeg; elsewhere his record shows some of his earnings were also being sent to his mother Isabella in Cullybackey.


He landed in Plymouth, England from the SS Metagama on the 18 May 1915 and was to serve with the 17th Battery of the 5th Artillery Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.  He moved to Havre, France on the 19 January 1916 and enjoyed a successful military career thereafter.  He had been promoted to Sergeant by December 1917 and also won the Military Medal for bravery (London Gazette 30573, 1918). He returned to England in April 1919 and was returned to Canada, possibly on the SS Minnekahda.  He was discharged and went to stay with his step-brother in Winnipeg. He died on the 24 August 1957.


67th Battalion Western Scots, C.E.F.

Original photograph by Major James Skitt Matthews, (1878-1970). Taken from City of Vancouver Archives (Reference code- AM54-S4-2-: CVA 371-758). Copyright: Public Domain
1970 William Johnson enlisted in the CEF Winnipeg on the 11 November 1914. He was 5’ 7 ½ “ tall and he had brown eyes and auburn hair.  He said he was a Presbyterian and single, and that he worked as a teamster.  He said his father was James Johnson, Coriff, Broughshane, Co Antrim. (‘Coriff’ cannot be found or identified)

The Johnson family cannot be identified in the 1901 or 1911 Irish census returns, though William can be.  In 1911 he was a ‘boarder’ in the Bready (Brady) household.  The family lived a 32 Mervue Street, Belfast. Joseph was 43, as was his wife Margaret. Richard (13), Robert J (10), William (8) and Sarah J (6) are their listed children.  William Johnson who lived with them was 24 and a carter.  Mrs Margaret Brady, 32 Mervue Street, Belfast is also named as a recipient of some of William’s wages.

William sailed to the UK after the 18 April 1915 and subsequently went to France and Flanders after 14 September. He was a driver serving in the Canadian Army Service Corps and was then in the 4th Company, 2nd Divisional Train. He developed appendicitis in September 1916 while serving in the Somme area and was treated at the 2nd Australian General Hospital, Wimereux before being shipped back to England aboard HS St Patrick. He was admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital in Bristol for a period before being sent to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bearwood, Wokingham, Berkshire.

William Johnson returned to the 2nd Divisional Train for the rest of the war, though he probably went to 7th Company.  He was returned to England in April 1919 and then went onward to Canada aboard the SS Minnekahda in May. He was discharged from the CEF on the 28 May 1919. He died on the 27 October 1957.
148411 Acting Sergeant David Johnston had enlisted in the 78th Battalion, CEF at Winnipeg on the 15 November 1915.  He said he was living at Pippestone, Manitoba and that he was a single man, a Presbyterian and a farmer. His attestation papers show that he was 5’ 11” tall and that he had blue eyes and brown hair. He said he had been born on the 11 January 1892 and he named his mother as his next of kin.  She was Mary Jane Johnston, Gillistown, (sometimes incorrectly Gilliestown) Toomebridge.

Registration of birth records show that he was actually born at Millquarter, Ballyscullion, Toome/Toomebridge on the 2 February 1892 and that he was the son of Robert George and Mary Jane (nee Nicholl) Johnston. The couple were farmers.

The 1901 Irish census records 52-year-old Mary J Johnston at Gillistown and she was a widow.  Records show that her husband had died of a badly fractured leg in the presence of his son James on the 17 December 1898. This injury was a consequence of an accident incurred while ploughing. She listed six offspring present on the day of the census.  They were Margaret (28), James (23), Thomas (18 and a carpenter), William J (16), Mary (12) and David (9).

The 1911 census records her still at Gillistown and the 62-year-old farmer, who said she had had eight children of whom seven were still alive, recorded only her son David, then 19.  She had a boarder, a 33-year-old teacher called Margaret Kane.

David Johnston trained in Canada, sailed from Halifax aboard the Empress of Britain after the 20 May 1916, and he eventually disembarked in Liverpool. He finished his training and went to France on the 13 August 1916.  He was serving on the Arras Front when he was struck on the head/skull by shrapnel on the 11 April 1917. This left him with a wound that was 1 ½ long x ½ wide x ½ deep.  He was at the No 1 Convalescent Depot on the 11 April and was not moved to No 3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne until the 1 May.  He had reached the Lord Derby War Hospital, Warrington by the 18 May and he remained there until transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom on the 19 June 1917. He was discharged from it on the 28 June 1917 but he was subsequently admitted to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Hastings on the 15 July 1917 and he remained there to the 1 August. Thereafter he returned to duty.

David Johnston still had problems with his health, and though his record had been marked ‘no resulting disability’, he did not return to the war zone. He was attached to the Depot Company of the Manitoba Reserve Battalion for a time, later the 52nd District, Canadian Forestry Corps at Carlisle, but doctors eventually decided he should be returned to Canada.  He was discharged 'medically unfit' in Canada on the 18 February 1919.

207435 Lance Corporal John Johnston, who gave his address as Cecil Hotel, Calgary, enlisted in Toronto in the 97th Battalion, CEF, on the 4 January 1916, but he was a native of County Antrim and he said he was the son of Thomas Johnston, Castlegore, Moorfields, Ballymena.

The 1911 Irish census records the family at Castlegore, a townland just off the Larne Road at the Speerstown Road junction. Thomas, a farmer and aged 50, was married to Maggie, aged 49.  The couple said they had been married for 30 years and that they had had 9 children, 7 of whom were still alive in 1911.  They listed Hessie (or Jessie) (27), Catherine (15), George (13) and Ruth (10) as being present at the time of the census.

The 1901 census return records the family living at Cross, somewhat closer to Ballymena. Thomas was said to be 48, Maggie (37), Hessie (17), Robert (15), John (12), Maggie (10), Catherine (6) and George (3).

John Johnston said he was born on the 5 February 1889 - the registration of John’s birth confirms that he was indeed born on the 5 February 1889 and states that his mother’s maiden name was Hanna -, and that he was a labourer.  He was 5’ 11” tall and he had blue eyes and red hair.  He was a Presbyterian, and his name appears in the Connor Presbyterian Church listing in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Roll of Honour 1914-1919.

He left Canada aboard the SS Metagama in August 1916 and arrived in Liverpool on the 22nd August.  He went to Crowborough Depot for training and then transferred to the 67th (Western Scots) Battalion for service in France. The 67th Battalion was an infantry battalion which was converted to a pioneer battalion on 15 May 1916. It served as part of the 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until 28 April 1917, when its personnel were absorbed into other units.  Johnston’s record says his unit was named the 4th Pioneer Battalion, then the 5th Pioneer Battalion after the 7 November 1916 (the Connor Presbyterian Church listing says he served with the ‘5th Canadians’).

Johnston was wounded by shrapnel, sustaining damage to his right leg on the 27 September 1918, and he was at one point considered ‘seriously ill’.  His record refers to three wound scars and medical notes refer to a 4” wound on his right shin, fractured bones, and a 6” wound on the lower calf. He was transferred on Army Train 30 to 20 General Hospital, Dannes-Camiers on the 30 September and then onward to England aboard the H S Denis on the 14 October 1918. He was to be treated at Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bexhill, 13 Canadian General Hospital, Hastings, 11 Canadian General Hospital, Shorncliffe, Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epson and the 5 Canadian General Hospital, Kirkdale, Liverpool. He was transferred to Canada in July 1919 and was treated in St Andrew’s Hospital, Toronto.  He was discharged as ‘medically unfit’ in Toronto on the 15 December 1919.

John Johnston died on the 8 June 1963.

430847 Private Robert Johnston enlisted in the CEF on the 31 March 1915 and said he had previously served in a militia unit, the 88th (Victoria Fusiliers) Battalion.  He said he had been born on the 17 September 1893, that he was single and that he worked as a teamster.  He was a Presbyterian and was described as being 5’ 5” tall and having blue eyes and brown hair. He said he lived at 617, Market Street, Victoria, BC and that his mother was M J Smith, Crosshill, Moorfields. She cannot be located on any relevant Irish census.

He transferred on the 31 March 1915 to the 48th Battalion, Canadian Infantry and left Montreal in July 1915. The unit was converted to pioneers and redesignated the 3rd Canadian Pioneer Battalion, CEF on 6 January 1916, though some members went elsewhere. Johnston’s file is stamped 2nd Canadian Pioneers.

He disembarked in Plymouth and would have had further training.  However, he never served outside England as his short military career was blighted by illness. He was deemed ‘medically unfit’, posted to the 25th Reserve Battalion, Bramshott Camp on the 29 December 1916 and ordered to be returned to Canada. He left Liverpool aboard the SS Missanabie and was in Canada by January 1917. 

250095 & 250142 Private William Keenan

250095 Private William Keenan, lived at 54, Sparkhill Ave, Toronto, and he enlisted in the 208th Battalion in Toronto in March 1917. He was, however, originally from Cullybackey and the family apparently attended the United Free Church of Scotland in the village. The 1911 Irish census return  records James Keenan, 42 and a producer/merchant of eggs, potatoes and butter, and his wife Annie, 39 and from Co Londonderry, and six of their family of seven children: William (15), Annie (13), Mary (10), Isabella (8), Frederick (6) and Margretta Hamell (3). James, Annie, William, Annie and Mary are also recorded in the 1901 census returns.

250095 William Keenan said he was born on the 10 February 1896, that he was single, and that he was a telephone employee. He named his mother Annie as his next of kin and gave her address as 54, Sparkhill Ave, Toronto. He was then 21 years and 1 month old and he stood 5' 6" tall and he had grey-blue eyes and fair hair.


250095 William Keenan was in the forces only briefly.  He had officially enlisted on the 28th March and been accepted, but he failed a medical in April 1917  and was dismissed 'medically unfit'; this related to a somewhat deformed rib cage and spine. His 'Proceedings on Discharge' form is dated the 23rd April 1917.


250142 Private William Keenan again enlisted in the 208th Battalion on the 24th April 1917 and gave the same details as  250095 Private William Keenan. This time things progressed normally and he left Halifax aboard HMT Justicia on the 3 May 1917, arriving in Liverpool, England on the 14th May. He went from the 208th Battalion to the 8th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe and then onwards to the 58th Battalion at Sandling. He went to France on the 16th February 1918 and was with his unit in the field on the 23rd.  He remained with the 58th Battalion and was killed in action on the 28th August 1918. The record of the circumstances of his death states the he was 'killed in the attack at Artillery Hill, North East of Boiry', this indicating that he was killed during the action known as the Battle of Scarpe, 26th -30th August 1918.  This was part of a very large attack on the Hindenburg Line. 


Other addresses  given for the family are  James and Annie Keenan, 637, Christie Street, Toronto, Ontario, and Mrs Annie Keenan, Lorne Park, Peel County, Ontario.

279048 or 466547 Private John Kennedy was a butcher, a married man living at 11817, 89th Street (elsewhere Gerald St), Edmonton, Canada with his wife Elizabeth Jane.  This Ballymena man was just 5' 4¼" tall, and he had grey eyes and dark brown hair.


There are two attestation papers in his file but no military record. Those for 466547 are dated the 15th July 1915 and state he was 44 years and one month old. 'Proceedings on Discharge' documents show 466547 was discharged as 'medically unfit' on the 31st January 1916 from the 63rd Overseas Battalion.


279048 John Kennedy attested on the 26th February 1916 and was assigned to the 218th Overseas Battalion.  However, 'Proceedings on Discharge' documents show 279048 was discharged as 'over age' on the 9th February 1917. His medical history records state he was 54 years old  and that he was born in 1863.

316923 Gunner John Kernohan, 48th Battery, 12th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, lived at 537 Logan Avenue, Toronto (Elsewhere 143 Riverside Avenue) and was a single man and a clerk when he enlisted in January 1916.  Born on the 12th September 1886, he was 27 years and 4 months old at attestation, and he was said to 5' 7 ½" inches tall with grey eyes and fair hair.


He was the son of John Kernohan of Cullybackey.  The 1901 census return shows John, 48 and a fireman, living with his wife Annie (37) and nine children: Agnes was 18 and worked in the linen industry, Samuel was 16 and a beetler, Mary was 14, John was 12, Lizzie was 10, Sarah was 8, William was 6, Alexander was 4 and Henry was 1 year old.  There is  no record for the family in the 1911 census, though John Kernohan's  service with the CFA  is recorded on the list of those from Cullybackey United Reformed Church who served in WW1.


John trained at Petawawa Camp,  Ontario and sailed from Halifax, N.S. for England on the SS Cameronia on the 11th September 1916.  He arrived in Liverpool on the 22nd September.  He transferred from the 16th Bde to the 15th Bde at Witley Camp and went to France on the 20th March 1917 with the 81st Battery, CFA.  He seems to have been in France for about 25 months.  His service was, war excepted,  uneventful and he was discharged from the army in September 1919.  His record does however note that he married Lily on the 19th April 1919.   Her address was Portsmouth Road, Milford, Surrey, and we can assume he met her when he was stationed at Milford Camp, the artillery section of Witley Camp.


John Kernohan died on the 19th April 1947.

452004 Private Harry Kerr, 58th Bn, CEF, previously in the Governor General's Body Guard, a local militia, enlisted in Toronto  on the 24th July 1915.  He was a single man, a conductor, who had been born on 14th October 1890.  He is described as being 5' 7 ½ " tall and having grey eyes and red hair.  Harry (Henry) Kerr had been born in Ireland, and he said his father was Henry Kerr, a widower, and he listed his sister Annie M Kerr as his next of kin.


The 1901 census return shows Henry Kerr, 39 and a farmer, and his wife Margaret (35) living in Millquarter, Ballyscullion with four children: Harry (10), Anna M (8), Maggie (6) and Robert J (3).  The 1911 census return shows the family had moved to the Dunminning area of Craigs, Cullybackey.  Henry, 49 and still a farmer, was a widower, and he said he had been married for 21 years and that he had eight children: Harry (20), Annie Mary (18), Maggie (16), Robert James (13), Agnes (11), William (9), Samuel Barris (7) and Alexander Gordon (5).


Harry Kerr embarked for England from Halifax on the 22nd November 1915 aboard the SS Saxonia and arrived there on the 2nd December.  He went overseas to France on the 20th February 1916 with the 58th Battalion, CEF. 'The Fighting 58th' fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. He appears to have been in 5 Platoon, B Company. He was deemed 'Missing' and then 'Killed in Action' on the 20 September 1916.


His death occurred during the Battle of Flers/Courcelette (15-22 Sept. 1916), part of the Battle of the Somme. The Anglo-French attack of 15th September began the third phase of the Somme Offensive, but by its end on 22th September, a decisive victory had not been achieved. Kerr was killed near Courcelette during the fighting on the 20th.


Harry Kerr's body was found later and he was buried in Courcelette British Cemetery.

446988 Private Alexander Kielt enlisted on the 25 May 1915 in Calgary in the 55th Battalion, CEF. He said he was born on the 6 January 1884 at Draperstown, Co Londonderry and that he was a single labourer.  He was, according to his attestation documents, 5’ 8” tall, and he had blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was a Roman Catholic. He listed as his next of kin Mrs Mary Kielt, his mother, of 33 Railway Street Place, Harryville, Ballymena; elsewhere his father is said to be Francis Kielt.

The 1901 Irish census records the family. Francis was 50 and a businessman/publican (The 1910 Ulster Towns Directory records him as a spirit dealer in Bridge Street, Ballymena)  and his wife Mary, an Australian by birth, was 45 years old. They listed four children as present on the day of the census. Francis was 18 and a clerk, Alexander was 16 and a clerk in the Antrim Iron Ore office, Annie was 14 and a businesswoman milliner, and Mary Joseph was 6 years old.

The 1911 census says the couple had been married for 28 years and that that they had had five children, four of whom were still alive. Mary was 55 and working as a winder in a factory, Annie was 24 and a machinery saleswoman, and Mary Josephine was 16 and a weaver.

Alexander Kielt disembarked from the SS Baltic on the 1 April 1916 and was eventually transferred to the 71st Battalion in June 1916. He also served in the 51st Bn, later renamed the Garrison Duty Battalion at Bramshott, and then went overseas to France on the 9 February 1917 with the 4th Canadian Labour Battalion, later redesignated as the 2nd Canadian Infantry Works Battalion, and served with them until January 1919.  

He was transferred from Liverpool to Canada aboard the RMS Minnedosa and left the army. He had married in 1917 and his wife lived for a time on Broughshane Street, Ballymena. The couple were later associated with 17 Wood Street, Toronto.

2650656 James Knox, 28th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, was mobilized late in the war on the 20th December 1917 and he spent only a short time in France. 


He lived in Elm Creek, Manitoba, as did his sister, a Mrs W H Dunlop. Knox was 5' 10" tall with black hair, brown eyes and a ruddy complexion. He was single and a Presbyterian, and he worked as a section foreman. He said his father was James Knox, his mother Martha White Knox, Roughan, Broughshane.

On their 1911 census return the family said James Knox was a 45 year old farm labourer and is listed as living in Lisnamurrican, Broughshane; Martha also said she was 45, the mother of ten children, eight of whom were still alive at that time. Four of the family were listed: William (13), Jennie (9), Sam (5) and Eddie (4). The 1901 census shows the family at Tully, Ballyclug, and James says he is a 35 year old farmer.  Martha gave her age as 32. Again four children were listed: Agnes (11), James (10), Alex (6) and Willie John (3).  This leaves three of the children unaccounted for, and at least one of them was still alive.

He attested in Winnipeg on the 27th December and went initially to the 76th Depot Battery, CFA. He sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 10 February 1918 aboard the SS Laplander and landed in Glasgow on the 24th of the same month.  He passed through the camp at Witley and went overseas to France on the 19th September 1918. The war ended two months later and Knox was back in England by March 1919.  He returned to Canada via Rhyl Camp, Wales and was discharged on the 26th May 1919.  He returned to Elm Creek.