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Friday, 27 January 2017

Guysborough County Enlistments - January 1917

Eleven Guysborough County natives enlisted for military service during the month of January 1917.

Lt. Catherine Mary Nichols Gunn
1. Lieutenant Catherine Mary Nichols Gunn was born at East River St. Mary’s, Pictou County on December 6, 1886 to William and Margaret (McInnis) Gunn. "Nichols," as she became known during her military career, completed her nursing training at Seattle, Washington and enlisted for military service with the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Calgary, Alberta on January 1, 1917. A detailed summary of her military service and later life is available here.

2. Frank Leslie Carter (248652) was born at Liscomb, Guysborough County on October 21, 1894 to Jacob L. and Florence (Pelley) Carter. Frank enlisted with the Howitzer Brigade Ammunition Column at Halifax, NS on January 6, 1917. Two days prior to his enlistment, Frank married Cordelia Rudolph. On February 28, Frank was transferred to the Special Services Corp, Military District No. 6. A subsequent medical examination detected the presence of rheumatism and Frank was discharged from military service on April 17, 1917.

Frank returned to Guysborough County and eventually settled at Philips Harbour, where he worked in the fishery, operated a small retail business and served for a time as a County Councillor. During the Second World War, he served in Canada with the Pictou Highlanders. Frank Carter passed away on October 26, 1986 and was laid to rest in Union Cemetery, Queensport.

3. James Burton Cluney (1060309) was born at Indian Harbour, Guysborough County on November 22, 1876 to Thomas and Sarah Catherine (Bennett) Cluney. James gave his birth year as 1888 when he enlisted with the 246th Battalion at Halifax on January 10, 1917. Married with two young children at the time, his wife, Mary, passed away from tuberculosis in late February 1917.

James was subsequently transferred to No. 2 Nova Scotia Forestry Company. He departed for England aboard SS Justicia on June 25, 1917 and crossed the English Channel to France one month later. James served with No. 59 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps, in the Bordeaux District of France for the next 14 months.

In September 1918, James was hospitalized with an infected left leg and subsequently diagnosed with nephritis (kidney disease). Invalided to England on November 29, 1918, he spent several months in hospital before returning to Canada in March 1919. Discharged from military service on March 25, 1919, he returned to Sherbrooke, Guysborough County, where he worked in a lumberman and subsequently married Ethel Munro in 1922.

James Burton Cluney passed away at Sherbrooke on May 11, 1934 and was laid to rest in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Sherbrooke.

Gunner George Edward Croft (standing) & Pte. Perry Ellis Croft
4. George Edward Croft (2163305) was born at Gegoggin, Guysborough County on August 5, 1898 to Edward and Bessie (Jack) Croft. George enlisted with the 1st Reinforcement Draft, No. 8 Siege Battery, Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery at Halifax, NS on January 20, 1917. A detailed summary of George’s military service and later life is available here.

5. Matthew Day (931408) was born at Upper Big Tracadie in January 1875 to Matthew and Margaret Day. He enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Truro, NS on January 20, 1917. Married with six children and 41 years of age at the time, Matthew departed Halifax with No. 2 Construction Battalion on March 25, 1917 and arrived at Liverpool, England on April 8.

While the unit proceeded to France on May 17, Matthew remained in England, where he was posted to the Depot Company, Camp Bramshott. Transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on July 6, 1917, Matthew exhibited several health issues connected to his age. He suffered from “pain in muscles, [was] easily fatigued and [experienced] much distress about shoulders when carrying anything.” A medical examination detected evidence of pleurisy in his right lung and reported a family history of tuberculosis.

As a result, on September 13, Matthew returned to the Nova Scotia Regimental Depot, Bramshott, where he awaited embarkation to Canada for military discharge. He departed Liverpool on October 18 and landed at Quebec on October 28. Subsequently “taken on strength” by “B” Company, Military Hospitals Commission Command, Halifax on November 9, 1917, Matthew was discharged at Halifax as “medically unfit” on February 28, 1918.

Matthew Day returned to Upper Big Tracadie, where he passed away on January 19, 1948 and was laid to rest in Sunnyview Cemetery, Tracadie, NS. 

Pte. Louis John Burns' headstone, St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wine Harbour
6. Louis John Burns (1060325) was born at Sonora, Guysborough County on June 2, 1896 to John Penney and Helen “Nellie” (Cass) Burns. Louis enlisted with the 246th Battalion at Halifax on January 23, 1917. While his initial medical examination detected no health problems, Louis was admitted to Rockhead Military Hospital on February 27 and subsequently diagnosed with “acute nephritis.” He died of kidney failure and pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs) on March 1, 1917 and was laid to rest in St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wine Harbour, Guysborough County. 

Private Howard Ellsworth Croft
7. Howard Ellsworth Croft (1060323) was born at Gegoggin, Guysborough County on February 16, 1897 to Captain James David and Harriet Jane (Croft) Croft. Howard enlisted with the 246th Battalion at Halifax on January 23, 1917. He stood 5’ 11” and weighed 160 pounds at the time. Howard departed Halifax on May 31 and was assigned to the 185th Battalion shortly after arriving in England.

Transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on February 23, 1918, he proceeded overseas for service with the 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) on March 16. Howard received gunshot wounds to his left thigh and right arm at the Battle of the Scarpe on September 2, 1918 and was invalided to England six days later.

Admitted to Croydon War Hospital, Howard fully recovered from his wounds and was discharged to Woodcote Military Convalescent Hospital, Epsom on September 27. Discharged on October 16, he reported to Camp Bramshott, where he was attached to the 17th Reserve Battalion on November 22.

Howard departed for Canada on January 9, 1919 and was discharged from military service on February 8, 1919. He returned to the Sherbrooke area, where he married Bessie Bell Ferguson on December 11, 1924. The couple raised a family of five—three sons and two daughters—while Howard worked as a fisherman and labourer. Howard Croft passed away at the MacKaracher Nursing Home, Sherbrooke on February 16, 1983 and was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, Sherbrooke, NS.

8. Patrick Gordon Malloy (1099751) was born at Isaac’s Harbour, Guysborough County on March 28, 1879 to Robert and Joanna (Sullivan) Malloy. Gordon enlisted with the 256th Battalion at New Glasgow, NS on January 25, 1917. He stood five feet 11 inches and weighing 180 pounds at the time. Gordon’s medical examination, conducted the same day, noted that he had lost his right eye. As a result, he was discharged from military service as “medically unfit” at Windsor, NS on March 3, 1917.

A widower at the time of his enlistment, Gordon returned to New Glasgow, where he worked in the local coal mines. He married Gertrude Hicken, also a widow, on April 8, 1924 but passed away from “organic heart disease” ten days later. 

Sapper Francis Stewart "Frank" Manson
9. Francis Stewart “Frank” Manson (827203) was born at Sherbrooke, Guysborough County on December 2, 1892 to George and Lucy (Walters) Manson. Frank enlisted with the 143rd Battalion at Vancouver, BC on January 26, 1917 and later served in France with the 3rd Battalion Canadian Railway Troops. A detailed summary of his family background, war experience and later life is available here.

10. Thomas Paul Pelrine (1934) was born at Tracadie, NS on September 21, 1894 to John Joseph and Susan (Delorey) Pelrine. Undeterred whtn the 165th Battalion rejected the five foot two inch Thomas as “unfit for military service," he enlisted with the Composite Battalion at Halifax, NS on January 26, 1917 for a three-year term. Thomas later worked as a machinist in Halifax, where he married Elizabeth Jane Gerroir, a native of Charlos Cove, Guysborough County, on May 26, 1923. The couple raised a family of six children. Thomas passed away at Charlos Cove on October 18, 1951 and was laid to rest in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Charlos Cove.

Private Percy Ellis Crift (sitting) & Gunner George Edward Croft
11. Percy Ellis Croft (2163342) was born at Gegoggin, Guysborough County on May 15, 1899 to Solomon and Margaret “Maggie” Croft. Percy in initially enlisted for “home service” with the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery at Halifax on October 27, 1916. Three months later, he exaggerated his age by one year when he enlisted for overseas service with the Royal Canadian Artillery on January 31, 1917.

Percy departed Halifax on February 17, 1917 and landed at Liverpool, England ten days later. He was assigned to the Reserve Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, Shorncliffe on May 24, 1917 and made his way to France on July 18, 1917 for service with the 4th Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column. Transferred to the 8th Artillery Brigade one month later, Percy was slightly wounded in the field on September 2, but remained at duty.

Percy’s mother, Maggie, was displeased with her young son’s decision to serve overseas and submitted a letter from her parish priest to military authorities, proving that he was only 18 years of age as of May 15, 1917. As a result, on September 21, 1917, authorities ordered Percy to report to the 1st Army School of Instruction as a “minor.”

Percy under went clerical training and subsequently served as a clerk with Canadian General Headquarters in France. Returning to England on January 24, 1919, he departed for Canada on March 13 and landed at Halifax 12 days later. He was formally discharged from military service on March 30, 1919.

Following the war, Percy married Gladys Hattie Hallett and emigrated to the United States. The couple took up residence in Connecticut and raised two sons in their new home. Percy Ellis Croft passed away at Rockledge, Brevard, Florida on May 24, 1988.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Remembering Pte. Roland "Rollie" Ash & Pte. James William Clooney - KIA January 16, 1917

Roland "Rollie" Ash was born at Guysborough, NS on September 6, 1894, the eldest child of Esther Ann (Parris) Shepard and James Stanley Ash. Several years later, the family relocated to Antigonish, where Esther and James raised a family of 11 children.

Rollie married Reta Jackson, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, in a Baptist ceremony held at Antigonish on May 27, 1915. A little more than a year later, he entered military service, enlisting with the 106th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles) at Truro, NS on July 11, 1916. The fact that Rollie’s younger brother, Norman, had enlisted with the same unit four days previously likely influenced his decision to serve overseas. One of several infantry battalions recruited across the province in 1916, the 106th accepted at least 16 African Nova Scotian men into its ranks, a fact that
distinguished the unit from the vast majority of Canadian battalions.

The 106th's ranks also contained several other Guysborough natives. Private James William Clooney, born at Sherbrooke on November 8, 1889, was the third of six children and eldest son of Elizabeth Ann "Bessie" (Bennett) and William H. Clooney, James enlisted with the 106th at Truro on December 27, 1915. As with the Ash family, James' brother, Garfield, joined the same unit two months later. Prior to departing for England, James married Elizabeth Mary Reinhof, a native of St. George's NL, at Bible Hill on March 1, 1916.

The Ash and Clooney brothers departed Halifax on July 15 and arrived in England ten days later. Shortly afterward, the 106th was disbanded and its personnel assigned to various units in the field. The pairs of brothers, however, managed to stay together. Rollie and Norman Ash received a transfer to the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick) on September 27, while James and Garfield joined them one week later.

The four inexperienced soldiers arrived in the 26th's camp at Bouzincourt, west of Albert, France, in  early October as the battalion rebuilt its ranks following significant losses at the Somme. Several days later, the unit moved northward  and returned to the trenches near Lens at mid-month.

While the arrival of cold, damp weather ended major combat operations throughout the winter months, trench raids, probing the enemy's defences and gaining valuable intelligence, were a regular occurrence. On the night of November 23/24, 1916, the 26th conducted one such operation. Its soldiers destroyed German trenches and dugouts and inflicted an estimated 15 casualties on the enemy, before returning to their trenches. The unit suffered only light casualties, its war diary reporting one "other rank" (OR) killed, one Officer and one OR wounded.

Personnel were not so fortunate during a second raid, launched late in the afternoon of January 16, 1917. Three parties of 26th Battalion soldiers, each consisting of one Officer and 45 OR, entered No Man's Land under the protection of an artillery barrage. While one party provided cover, the other two groups entered the German front line following the detonation of an underground mine.

The soldiers proceeded to destroy several dugouts, gun emplacements and sentry posts and inflicted an estimated 45 casualties on enemy forces. German artillery fire, however, inflicted several casualties as the raiding parties returned across No Man's Land. In the raid’s aftermath, five OR were reported killed, while 14 were wounded and one soldier was missing.

Pte. Rollie Ash was the "missing" OR. He never returned to the 26th's trenches and his remains were never located. Rollie’s name is inscribed on the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, one of more than 11,000 Canadian soldiers "missing, presumed dead" somewhere on the battlefields of northern France.

Pte. Rollie Ash's name engraved on the Canadian War Memorial.
Pte. James William Clooney was one of the five OR killed during the raid. He was laid to rest in Tranchée de Mecknes Cemetery, Aix-Noulette, France. Before year's end, his widow Elizabeth, who had given birth to a daughter after James' departure, fell ill with tuberculosis and passed away at Trenton, NS on November 23, 1917. Young Elizabeth J. Clooney was subsequently adopted by a local family.

Pte. James Clooney's headstone, Tranchée-de-Mecknes Cemetery.
Pte. Norman Ash was later killed in action at Hill 70 on August 15, 1917 while serving with the 26th. Pte. Garfield Clooney served in the trenches with the 26th until mid-November 1917, at which time he was transferred to 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters for service as a "batman." He returned to Nova Scotia following the war, married and raised a large family at Maitland, NS, where he passed away on August 23, 1963.

Detailed versions of Rollie Ash's and James Clooney's stories are included in First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917, available for purchase online at .

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The 17th Battalion (Nova Scotia)

On August 6, 1914—two days after Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany—Canadian military authorities authorized the formation of the 17th Battalion, its ranks to be recruited from Nova Scotian militia units. Two days later, the Adjutant-General issued instructions for each Nova Scotia militia regiment to select “not more than 125 men with officers” for overseas service with the First Canadian Contingent. On September 20, a group of 135 Officers, Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) and “other ranks” (OR) from the 78th Pictou Highlanders boarded a train at New Glasgow and commenced the journey to Camp Valcartier, near Quebec City.

A full quota from the 76th Colchester Rifles joined them at Truro, along with a Company each from the 75th Lunenburg and 69th Annapolis Regiments, and small detachments from the 63rd Halifax Rifles and 66th Princess Louise Fusiliers (Halifax). A full complement from the 93rd Cumberland Regiment came aboard at Amherst, bringing the total number of recruits to more than 500 Officers, NCOs and OR.

The fact that three units—63rd Halifax Rifles, 66th Princess Louise Fusiliers and 94th Victoria Regiment Argyll Highlanders—were already on garrison duty at Halifax and strategic locations around the province significantly reduced the number of soldiers available for overseas service. Nevertheless, the Officers on board the train developed a plan to form a Nova Scotian battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Struan G. Robertson, 78th Pictou Highlanders.

Lt. Col. Struan G. Robertson, OC, 17th Battalion (NS).
After arriving at Valcartier, the Bluenosers remained together, determined to form an exclusively Nova Scotian unit despite their incomplete numbers. Fearing dispersal to other units or the addition of soldiers from other provinces, the rank and file refused to complete their attestation papers until military officials guaranteed that their Nova Scotian Officers would accompany them overseas.

Politics soon intervened when Nova Scotia’s Premier, George Henry Murray, arrived at Valcartier shortly afterward. Murray met with the 17th’s Officers and offered them a choice—proceed to England as a “half battalion” or remain behind, complete the unit’s complement of soldiers, and sail at a later date. The Officers unanimously chose the second option and conveyed their decision to Premier Murray. Unfortunately, by that time, Murray had departed camp. The Premier responded that authorities had decided to send the group as a “half battalion” with the First Canadian Contingent, on the understanding that further recruitment and additional drafts would bring the unit to full strength after its overseas arrival.

Within three days of the Officers’ meeting, Cape Breton, Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland units raised the numbers required to complete the battalion’s ranks. However, authorities declined to provide the necessary transport, as the Contingent’s departure was imminent. As a result, the 17th Battalion sailed from Quebec aboard SS Ruthenia on September 30, 1914 with a total of 773 “all ranks,” approximately 300 under full strength.

Upon arriving at Plymouth, England on October 14, the unit made its way to military camp on Salisbury Plain, where its personnel trained as a unit for the next three months. Shuffled from one Brigade to another, no additional drafts arrived to complete its ranks. Military authorities attempted to “draft” the 17th’s OR to other First Contingent units, but the terms of the Army Act gave them the right to decline, as they had been in uniform for more than three months.

17th Reserve Battalion pipers.
When the soldiers refused to leave the unit, military authorities designated the 17th and three other First Contingent battalions—9th, 11th and 12th—“reserve units” on January 18, 1915. The four battalions formed the Canadian Training Depot and entered quarters at Tidworth Barracks, Salisbury Plain. The 17th’s NCOs and OR were then dispersed to other “First Contingent” battalions, replacing soldiers lost to sickness, desertion, or transfers to Imperial forces since their arrival in England.

Following the arrival of additional reserve battalions in March 1915, military authorities disbanded the training depot and established the Canadian Training Division relocated the training at Shorncliffe. The 17th proceeded to the new location on March 15, and was officially re-designated the 17th Reserve Battalion on April 29, 1915.

A kilted battalion that wore the Mackenzie tartan and possessed a pipe band with in its ranks, the 17th Reserve Battalion remained at Salisbury Plain throughout the war. During its first two years in England, the 17th absorbed several Ontario and Western Canadian battalions and received drafts from several others, while providing reinforcements to several 1st and 2nd Division units at the front.

In January 1917, military officials implemented a major reorganization, as the 17th absorbed the ranks of the 193rd and 219th Battalions—two of the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade’s former units—and was re-designated the “Nova Scotia Regiment.” From that point forward, the 17th received its reinforcements exclusively from the 1st Depot Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment, located in Military District No. 6 (Maritime Provinces).

17th Reserve Battalion pipe band.
During the war’s final two years, virtually all Nova Scotian infantry drafts passed through the 17th Reserve Battalion’s ranks on their way to the front lines. The unit provided reinforcements for the 2nd Canadian Division’s 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles - effective October 16, 1917), the 3rd Canadian Division’s Royal Canadian Regiment (effective October 15, 1917), and the 4th Canadian Division’s 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders - effective January 1, 1917), for the duration of the war.

Following the end of hostilities, the 17th Reserve Battalion relocated to South Ripon on January 23, 1919. The unit was formally disbanded on September 15, 1920, and was perpetuated by the 1st Battalion, Pictou Highlanders, which later became part of the present-day “Nova Scotia Highlanders.”



“17th Reserve Battalion.” Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group. Available online.

Hunt, M. S.. Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War. Nova Scotia Veteran Publishing Co., Ltd., 1920. Available online.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Remembering Private Angus MacDonald—Died of Wounds October 26, 1916

Angus MacDonald was born on October 28, 1888 at Havre Boucher, Antigonish County to Duncan D. and Elizabeth MacDonald. Sometime before 1911, the family relocated the nearby Mulgrave, Guysborough County, where Angus found employment as a trackman on the Intercolonial Railroad.

Pte. Angus MacDonald
On April 16, 1916, Angus attested for overseas service with the 106th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles) at Pictou, NS. The unit departed Halifax on July 15, 1916 and landed in England ten days later. When the battalion was dissolved several months later, Angus was part of a large group of 106th soldiers who were transferred to the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick), a 5th Brigade mate of Nova Scotia’s 25th Battalion, on September 21.

The reinforcement draft crossed the English Channel to France shortly afterward and reported to the 26th’s camp at Bouzincourt, west of Albert, France, on October 9. Six days later, the new arrivals entered the trenches of the Angres Sector, west of Lens, for their first tour in the line. Upon retiring to Brigade Reserve on October 21, the 26th’s personnel commenced a daily training schedule.

On the afternoon of October 25, a group of the battalion’s soldiers proceeded to the bombing pit at Bully Grenay for a training exercise that involved the use of live ammunition. Angus was wounded around 1:30 p.m. when the bomb he was throwing exploded approximately eight feet from his hand, and was immediately rushed to No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance for treatment.

On October 26, 1916, Private Angus MacDonald died of wounds sustained in the accidental explosion and was laid to rest in Bully Grenay Communal Cemetery, British Extension. A subsequent investigation determined that a faulty fuse had caused the premature explosion.

A detailed version of Angus’s family background and war service is among the 72 profiles contained in “First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917,” available at .

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Remembering Driver Thomas Richard "Tommy" Morris—DOW October 16, 1916

Thomas Richard “Tommy” Morris was born at Nerissa, Guysborough County on February 4, 1890. Tommy’s father, Richard S. Morris, passed away sometime after 1901 and his mother, Sarah Ann (Ross), left with several young children to support, married James Patrick Hanlon of Canso, another local widower, in 1906.

On August 2, 1915, Tommy enlisted for service with the 40th Battalion (Halifax Rifles) at Halifax, NS. The 40th departed from Quebec aboard SS Saxonia on October 18 and landed in England ten days later. Before year’s end, the battalion was reduced to the status of a “reserve unit” and its personnel dispersed to other units.

Driver Thomas Richard "Tommy" Morris.

Tommy was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps (CASC) on February 14, 1916. Two months later, he crossed the English Channel to France and was assigned to the Base Horse Transport Depot at Le Havre. No doubt familiar with horses from his early years in Guysborough, Tommy was assigned to No. 1 Canadian Veterinary Hospital, Le Havre in late May 1916. He worked at the facility for almost three months, before returning to CASC Base.

On September 4, 1916, Tommy was transferred to No. 4 Entrenching Battalion, which was in the process of organizing at Le Havre for service at the front. Having worked with horses in his previous assignments, Tommy was assigned to the unit’s horse transport detail as a driver. No. 4 Entrenching departed for the forward area on October 1 and arrived at Brickfield Camp, near Albert, the following day.

The unit’s personnel commenced daily work party assignments in the forward area on October 4. German artillery regularly shelled the area around their camp, as well as their work locations. Meanwhile, the unit’s soldiers worked at a tramway dump along the Bruay road and completed repairs to the Ovilliers—Courcelette road.

On October 16, 1916, the regular work party at the Bruay road tramway dump came under direct artillery fire. Tommy’s “circumstances of casualty” form described the ensuing events:

“Whilst [Tommy] and several of his comrades were standing together watching the shells fell [sic], a shell exploded amongst them and he was wounded in the right leg by shrapnel. He was given immediate attention and taken to No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station, where he died the same day.”

Driver Tommy Morris was laid to rest in Varennes British Cemetery, six miles northwest of Albert, France.A detailed summary of Tommy's family background and military service is published in "First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917," available at .

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Remembering Lance Corporal Clifford Ethelbert Tyner—KIA October 11, 1916

  Clifford Ethelbert Tyner was born at Port Hilford, Guysborough County on April 27, 1893. His father, Rev. James Edward Tyner, was born at Chance Harbour, NB and was ministering to a congregation at Port Hilford at the time of Clifford’s birth. In subsequent years, the family resided in several locations across the Maritime Provinces, relocating to Alberta in 1905 following the death of Clifford’s mother, Winifred “Winnie” (Shankle) Tyner.

Clifford enlisted with the 89th Battalion (Calgary Rifles) at Red Deer, AB on January 3, 1916 and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal shortly afterward. The 89th departed Halifax aboard SS Olympic on June 2, 1916 but was dissolved shortly after arriving in England. When the 9th Reserve Battalion absorbed its personnel, Clifford “reverted to ranks” on August 24 and was transferred to the 10th Battalion (Alberta/Manitoba) four days later.

Clifford immediately crossed the English Channel to France and met up with the 10th as the unit made its way from Belgium to the Somme region of France. The unit arrived at Albert, France on September 2 and entered the Somme’s trenches one week later. Following a four-day tour. Clifford was evacuated to hospital with a severe case of influenza, spending one week at No. 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Havre, before returning to duty.

On the night of October 10, 1916, the 10th relieved the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion in the front trenches east of Albert, following several days in reserve. Germany artillery guns shelled the 10th’s position throughout the following day, the bombardment reaching a peak at mid-afternoon. In its aftermath, the unit’s war diary reported five “other ranks” (OR) killed, two Officers and 18 OR wounded. Lance Corporal Clifford Tyner was among the day’s five fatalities.

As Clifford’s remains were never recovered from the battlefield, his name was later inscribed on the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France, erected in memory of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died on the battlefields of northern France and who have no known final resting place.

Lance Cpl. Clifford Tyner's name, inscribed on Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge.
A detailed version of Clifford’s story is published in “First World War Honour Roll of Guybsorough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917,” available at .

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Remembering Private Peter Fougere & Lance Corporal Arthur Stanford Horton - KIA October 2, 1916

Peter Fougere was born on April 31, 1897 at Larry’s River, Guysborough County, NS. The oldest of Simon and Sophia (Petipas) Fougere’s three children, Peter was raised by his maternal grandparents, Peter and Sophia Fougere, following his mother’s tragic death after the birth of the couple’s third child.

Peter Fougere (right) & his sister, Sophia.

On April 31, 1915, Peter enlisted with the 64th Battalion at Sussex, NB. Transferred to the 40th Battalion in October 1915, he departed for England with his new unit on October 18, 1915. After spending the winter of 1915-16 in England, Peter was transferred to the 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles on March 15, 1916.

Pte. Peter Fougere, Larry's River.

Another Guysborough native, Arthur Stanford Horton, followed a similar path to the front line. Arthur was born at Canso on November 17, 1893 to Hiram Charles and Henrietta “Hattie” (Worth) Horton. He enlisted with the 40th Battalion at Sydney, NS on August 9, 1915 and accompanied Peter Fougere to England. Promoted to Lance Corporal shortly after arriving overseas, Arthur reverted to the rank of Private in the spring of 1916 and obtained a transfer to the 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR) on the same day as Peter.

The two Guysborough soldiers crossed the English Channel to France on March 16, 1916 and proceeded to Belgium’s Ypres Salient, where they served a regular rotation with 5th CMR throughout the spring and summer of 1916. Peter and Arthur were in the line at Maple Copse on June 2, 1916, when German forces launched a major attack on their section. 50 % of 5th CMR’s soldiers in the line that day became casualties by day’s end. While Arthur emerged unscathed, Peter received shrapnel wounds to his back and spine and was invalided to England for treatment.

Later diagnosed with “shell shock,” Peter spent several months recovering from his injuries. Upon returning to France on September 5, he rejoined 5th CMR as the unit made its way to the Somme region of France. Arthur was promoted to Lance Corporal on September 16, and returned to the trenches with Peter and their comrades eleven days later.

On October 1, 1916, 5th CMR participated in an attack on Kenora Trench, one of two fortified positions protecting a larger German stronghold known to Canadian soldiers as “Regina Trench.” While the unit succeeded in reaching its objective, fierce counter-fire and the failure of flanking battalions to advance forced 5th CMR’s soldiers to abandon the location on the following day.

Pte. Peter Fougere was killed sometime during the two days of fighting at Kenora Trench. His remains were never recovered from the battlefield. Peter’s name is inscribed on the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France, erected in memory of more than 11,000 Canadian soldiers who died on France’s battlefields and who have no known grave.

Pte. Peter Fougere's name on the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France.

Officials initially reported Lance Corporal Arthur Stanford Horton as “missing in action,” but subsequently determined that he was “killed in action” on October 2, 1916. Arthur was laid to rest in Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, France.

Lance Cpl. Arthur Stanford Horton's headstone.
Detailed summaries of Peter's and Arthur's family background and military service are among the 72 profiles published in "First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917," available at .