|Lance Corporal Alexander Murray Fraser|
Murray and Donald were inseparable during their early years, a pattern that continued after the outbreak of the First World War. Both enlisted for service with 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles at Amherst, NS on March 30, 1915. Their paths to the front line was rapid, the siblings receiving a transfer to the 55th Battalion (New Brunswick & PEI) six weeks later. Shortly after their new unit arrived at Camp Valcartier on June 15, Murray and Donald were selected for a reinforcement draft destined for the 1st Battalion.
The brothers departed for England on June 19 and arrived nine days later. Military commanders quickly recognized their leadership potential, Murray advancing to the rank of Lance Corporal on August 27, while Donald was promoted to Sergeant. They crossed the English Channel to France the following day, joining the 1st Battalion in the field on September 4, barely five months after their enlistment.
|Company Sergeant Major Donald Drummond Fraser|
Following a brief break from the forward area, 1st Brigade was called forward once more on June 11, in preparation for a second counter-attack on the German line. At precisely 12:45 a. m. June 13, Allied artillery launched a massive bombardment of the enemy’s front trenches. When the guns adjusted their trajectory 45 minutes later and targeted the support lines, the 1st Battalion’s soldiers advanced from their position in the support trenches, following the 3rd Battalion deployed in the front trenches across No Man’s Land.
The advancing Canadian units succeeded in dislodging the Germans from the recently captured position, doggedly repelling several counter-attacks and withstanding a brutal artillery bombardment throughout the daylight hours. The 1st Battalion sustained considerable casualties, retiring from the field on the night of June 13/14. As its Officers took stock of the unit’s losses, Lance Corporal Alexander Murray Fraser was among the soldiers reported “wounded and missing, believed killed.”
According to family descendants, Donald encountered his deceased brother’s body sometime during the fighting, but in the aftermath of battle his remains could not be located. Murray’s name is engraved on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium, one of approximately 50,000 British and Imperial soldiers who died on Flanders’ battlefields and have no known final resting place.
|Lance Corporal Alexander Murray Fraser's Memorial Scroll|
Bantry Publishing’s “First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Volume I: 1915 - 1917” contains detailed summaries of Murray’s and Donald’s war service. Copies are available online at bantrypublishing.ca .