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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Guysborough Enlistments - August 28 & 29, 1916

Three Guysborough County natives enlisted for service with No. 2 Construction Battalion on August 28 and 29, 1916.

1. Michael Redmond Elms was born at Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County on May 26, 1895, the son of John and Henrietta “Etta” Elms. He was working in the baggage room of North St. Station, Halifax, when he enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion on August 28, 1916.

2. David Borden was born at Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County on April 2, 1882, son of Lillian (Lydia) Borden. He enlisted with No. 2 Constuction Battalion at Halifax on August 29, 1916 and was married (wife’s name Ida) at the time of his enlistment.

3. Alexander Elms was born at Antigonish on February 28, the son of Mary Elms. The family had connections to the Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County area. Alexander enlisted with No. 2 Construction Battalion at Halifax on August 29, 1916.

All three recruits made their way to the battalion’s headquarters at Pictou, relocating with their comrades in September 1916 to Truro, where Alexander was briefly hospitalized for treatment of “Bell’s paralysis” in early December 1916, but made a complete recovery.

On March 25, 1917, No. 2 Construction Battalion boarded SS Southland at Halifax and departed for England, arriving on April 7. Alexander was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital, Eastbourne, with a case of measles on April 21, but discharged to duty on May 5. All three proceeded to France with their unit on May 17, travelling to the La Joux forest near the French border with Switzerland and commencing service with Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) units in the Jura District.

While Michael and David remained at Jura throughout the war, Alexander was part of a group of No. 2 Construction personnel transferred to CFC operations in the Al├ženon District (Normandy) on December 31, 1917. The trio’s service in France was “without incident,” with the exception of Michael’s hospitalization for 12 days in mid-May 1918 with a “contusion” to his right foot.

No. 2 Construction personnel returned to England on December 14, 1918 and departed for Canada aboard SS Empress of Britain on January 12, 1919, arriving at Halifax ten days later. Michael Redmond Elms was discharged from military service on February 12, 1919. He found employment as a “sleeping car porter” on the Intercolonial Railroad and married Florence Williams at New Glasgow before year’s end. No further information is available on his later life.

David Borden was discharged at Halifax on February 15, 1919. Canadian officials later dispatched his service medals to Saint John, NB in 1922, suggesting that he was living there at the time. According to his military service record, he passed away on June 7, 1958. No further details are available on his post-war life.

Alexander Elms was discharged at Halifax on February 13, 1919. He married Bessie Blackburn at Halifax later that year. Alexander eventually returned to the Upper Big Tracadie area, where he passed away in 1984 and was laid to rest in the United Baptist Church Cemetery.

Alexander Elms' headstone, United Baptist Church Cemetery.

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