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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Remembering Private John Samuel Scranton - Killed In Action July 5, 1916

Born at Manchester, Guysborough County on June 23, 1879, John Samuel Scranton was raised in the home of his grandparents, William and Jane Scranton. Both passed away prior to the outbreak of the First World War, at which time John relocated to Pictou County and found work in the local coal mines.

Pte. John Samuel Scranton's final resting place.

John enlisted with the 40th Battalion (Halifax Rifles) at New Glasgow on May 1, 1915 and travelled to England aboard SS Saxonia in October 1915. The following spring, he was transferred to the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia) and joined his new unit in Belgium’s Ypres Salient on March 19, 1916. The following month, John and his comrades received their first major introduction to trench warfare when German forces attacked the 25th’s line, located in a series of mine craters near St. Eloi, Belgium. Eighteen “other ranks” (OR) were killed and 42 wounded during the three-day mid-April tour.

John survived the experience, serving with the 25th in the treacherous Ypres Salient throughout the following two months. On June 28, the 25th encamped near Dickebusch, Belgium, providing work parties, repairing the front line trenches. Artillery fire was a common occurrence during these nightly sessions, posing a constant threat to the soldiers’ safety. On July 5, 1916, Private John Scranton was killed in the line, presumably during German shelling of the sector where he was working. He was laid to rest in Bedford House Cemetery (Enclosure No. 2), Zillebeke, four miles south of Ypres, Belgium.

Bedford Place Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium
A detailed story of John’s family background and war service is available in First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Volume I: 1915 - 1917, available online from Bantry Publishing.

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