Four news battalions—1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th CMR—constituted the newly formed 3rd Canadian Division’s 8th Brigade. Harold was transferred to 2nd CMR on January 28, 1916 and crossed the English Channel to Havre, France the following day. Harold joined his new unit in Belgium’s Ypres Salient earl the following month.
Throughout the spring and summer of 1916, Harold served a regular infantry rotation with 2nd CMR. He proved a competent soldier, earning promotion to the rank of Lance Corporal on May 12, Corporal on June 9, and Sergeant on July 8. In early September, 2nd CMR followed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions to the Somme region of France, where its soldiers first entered the line near Pozières on the night of September 11/12.
While 3rd Division units did not participate in the Canadian Corps’ successful attack on Courcelette (September 15), its soldiers played a crucial role in the next phase of Canadian involvement in the Battle of the Somme—a series of attacks on Regina Trench, the longest German trench located on Thiepval Ridge. Several well-fortified positions lay between the target and the Allied line, requiring Canadian units to advance toward their final goal in several stages.
On September 29, 1916, 2nd CMR was one of several 3rd Division units ordered to attack the first line of German defenses in front of Regina Trench. Fierce fighting raged for two days, during which time the unit suffering heavy casualties. As 2nd CMR retired from the line on the evening of October 2, its war diary reported two of its Officers killed, five wounded and one missing, while 50 “other ranks” (OR) were killed and 140 OR wounded.
|Memorial Plaque, Central Alberta United Church, Calgary, AB|
Harold’s story is one of 72 detailed profiles contained in “First World War Honour Roll of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Volume I: 1915 - 1917,” available from bantrypublishing.ca .
Photograph of Memorial Plaque, Central Alberta United Church, Calgary, AB, courtesy of Marika Pirie, Calgary, AB.