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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Remembering Pte. Courtney Williams - KIA July 13, 1916

Courtney Williams was born at Cole Harbour, Guysborough County on April 2, 1897, the third of ten children raised in the home of Elisha and Georgina (Harrigan) Williams. Inspired by his older brothers, Burt and Jim, who enlisted for overseas service in early 1915, Courtney attempted to join the 25th Battalion at Halifax in April 1915, but was rejected as medically unfit. Undeterred, he travelled to Camp Aldershot, NS in August 1915, enlisted with the 40th Battalion, and passed the initial medical examination. A bout of illness the following month, however, led to his discharge on medical grounds.

Determined to follow his two brothers overseas, Courtney enlisted for a third time on November 14, 1915, joining the ranks of 2nd Pioneer Battalion at North Sydney, NS. On this occasion, he succeeded in making his way to England and into the trenches of Belgium’s Ypres Salient, where he and his fellow “pioneers” constructed the various facilities required by infantry, artillery and machine gun units deployed at the front.

Pte. Courtney Williams' final resting place.
On July 13, 1916, 19-year-old Courtney Williams was killed by rifle grenade fire while on a work party near Dickebusch, Belgium. Initially buried near the location where he died, Courtney was later laid to rest in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Courtney is among the 72 soldiers whose detailed stories are included in “First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917,” available online from Bantry Publishing.

Photograph of Courtney Williams' headstone and family information courtesy of Norma (Williams) Harrelson, Tucson, Arizona.

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