On The War Memorial Trail….. The WWI Soldier From Tryon Buried With A Message In A Bottle

CIMG8651 Sep 9 2017 Pieter at the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson in La Laiterie cemetery

September 2017. Pieter by the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson, La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

January 10, 2023.   In 2017, we visited La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium, where WW1 soldier Arthur Clinton ROBINSON is buried. Born July 20, 1896 in the USA, but moved as a child to Tryon, Prince Edward Island, Arthur enlisted in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion on November 20, 1914 and remained with the Regiment until his death.

…Arthur lost his life on the first day of the Actions of St Eloi Craters Battle….

On March 27, 1916, he was killed in action during the Actions of St Eloi Craters when shell fire hit the trenches southeast of Kemmel. The battle lasted from March 27 until April 16, 1916. Sint-Elooi (the French St Eloi is also used in English) is a village about 5 km (3.1 miles) south of Ypres in Belgium.

1919 photo of St Eloi Craters

The British had dug tunnels in No Man’s Land, then placed large explosive charges under the German defences, and blew them at 4:15 a.m. on March 27. The plan was for the 2nd Canadian Division, which Arthur’s Battalion was part of, to take over and hold the line.  (NOTE: ‘No Man’s Land’ was a WWI term used to describe the area between opposing armies and trench lines.)

The plan was a disaster as Canadian troops were sent to the battlefield before they had time to prepare for the attack. (For more information, see https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-st-eloi-craters and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actions_of_St_Eloi_Craters)


Map of St Eloi with the six mines fired on 27 March 1916. (Map Source: By ViennaUK – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53210386)

In ‘A Family Of Brothers’, author J. Brent Wilson explains that “…during the German retaliation for the attack, the 26th faced a heavy pounding that killed seven men and wounded another eighteen…”  One of these casualties was Arthur.

…. La Laiterie Military Cemetery was chosen by the Battalion…

After visiting La Laiterie Military Cemetery, it was interesting to read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ that a section of the cemetery was chosen by soldiers in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion as a “…. focus for their remembrance….”  The section set aside for the Battalion’s 67 burials was “…marked by a large board bearing the battalion’s name….

The cemetery is located “…about a kilometre behind the front trenches on the road between Kemmel and Vierstraat.  The area surrounding the cemetery had once featured groves of trees and fine residences, but since had been blasted by shellfire….

…. The Battalion didn’t want the identity of a buried soldier to be lost…

One of the most intriguing things read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ was the care taken with burials, with one soldier buried per grave, with  “…. small white crosses at the head of each burial mound…”  On each cross was “…nailed an aluminum metal plate with the name, number, and battalion…” of the deceased.

But the Battalion went further, a smart move in a war where battlefront cemeteries could come under crossfire.  “…To ensure that the identity of the soldier in the grave was not lost if something happened to the cross, the man’s name was inserted into bottles that were placed at the head of the grave and beneath the body….” It would be interesting to know if that bottle is still there!

….Previous stories about Arthur Clinton Robinson…

Arthur Clinton Robinson is one of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Unfortunately, a photo of him has yet to be found by either us, or his family.  Can you help put a face to this name?  Do you have a story to tell? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  Net proceeds of book sales help support research costs and the cost of maintaining this blog. For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw.

© Daria Valkenburg

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier From Pisquid Who Served In The 26th Battalion

CIMG5556 May 7 2022 Pieter and Bloyce

Bloyce McLellan (left) with Pieter Valkenburg.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

August 7, 2022. We very much appreciate hearing from families whose relatives served in WW1 or WW2.  Recently, Bloyce McLellan of North Tryon contacted us about his uncle, WW1 veteran John David MACDONALD.

colorized photo McDonald

WW1 soldier John David MacDonald.  (Photo courtesy of the MacDonald Family.  Photo restoration and colourization by Pieter Valkenburg)

My Mother was Elizabeth (Eliza) Matilda MacDonald from Pisquid, Prince Edward Island. She married my father and moved to Arlington, Grand River, Prince Edward Island. I was the youngest of 11 children and brought up on a mixed farming operation there.

My mother would tell us stories about her brother John David MacDonald. As a young fellow he assisted with the farming and had some schooling.  He did a lot of hunting around the farm and became a very good marksman with a rifle. When the Germans invaded Europe, he signed up with the Canadian Military along with some of his friends….

Born January 13, 1896, John David MacDonald was the son of Allan Joseph and Annie MacDonald.  (The surname was sometimes spelled McDonald.)  When he enlisted with the 105th Overseas Battalion in Charlottetown on June 10, 1916, he stated that he had been a member of the 82nd Regiment Militia, also known as the Abegweit Light Infantry. This Militia had been on active service since August 6, 1914 for local protection. (See https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/official-military-history-lineages/lineages/armour-regiments/prince-edward-island-regiment.html)

After basic training, John David left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the Empress of Britain on July 15, 1916, as part of the 105th Overseas Battalion, and arrived in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916.  He was sent to various camps in England for training, before leaving for France on August 27, 1917.

On September 8, 1917 he was transferred to the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment) while they were near Vimy, France.  He was with the Regiment as it moved north to the Ypres Salient for the Battle of Passchendaele.  After Passchendaele, the Regiment returned to the area near Vimy, France before moving towards Lens.

Bloyce recalls his mother explaining that “because he was a highly skilled marksman, John David was chosen to be a sniper. A sniper’s prime task was to go out into No Man’s Land and take out the German Machine Gun nests particularly before the Allies launched their attacks or assaults. If he was not successful there would be a lot of Canadian lives lost as the German Machine Guns would mow down many of the Allied soldiers on their advance…

…. The role of a sniper during WW1….

During WWI, snipers and sharpshooters in World War I not only destroyed enemy positions such as machine gun nests, but also were used for psychological warfare in quieter periods.  A 9 minute YouTube video, Sharpshooters and Snipers in World War I, gives an introduction to these brave men:

Nothing in John David’s service file specifically indicated he was a sniper, but this was not unusual. Soldiers who were experienced with guns were in high demand.

…John David was wounded twice….

On February 26, 1918 the Regiment was stationed in Lievin in northern France.  The war diary of the 26th Battalion for that day noted that a Working Party “…from ‘C’ Company working in vicinity of Junction AMULET trench and CROCODILE trench suffered some casualties….” John David was in this Working Party and was admitted to No. 6 Field Ambulance Depot for a gunshot wound to his left cheek.

On March 1, 1918 he was transferred to No. 18 General Hospital in Camiers, France for further treatment and discharged on March 14. He was based at a Casualty Clearing Station in Etaples before being sent back to the front on April 20, 1918.  The Regiment was holding the front east of Neuville Vitasse before moving to Amiens in August 1918.

The war diary for the 26th Battalion for September 21, 1918 noted that there was “…shelling during early morning in vicinity of Battalion Headquarters….. Casualties six other ranks wounded...”  John David was among those wounded as he had received bomb wounds on both legs, his face, and hands, and was sent to No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station in Poperinge, Belgium.

On September 30, 1918 he was admitted to No. 16 General Hospital in Orpington, Kent, England for treatment on his legs.  He wasn’t discharged until November 26, 1918.

In January 1919 he returned to Canada and was officially discharged in Charlottetown on April 15, 1919.  Bloyce’s mother told him that her brother returned home to Pisquid after the war “walking up the lane at home with a limp due to his injuries….

…A successful life in spite of post-traumatic stress….

Bloyce continued with his mother’s recollections.  “…John David was never the same after the war. He had been a happy go lucky boy before the war but the war really tore him apart. Not just being wounded in action twice, but mentally he had considerable pain and significant stress.  He relived the horrors of war with nightmares….

John David became a farmer and married Catherine Bernadette McKinnon on February 23, 1927. They brought up a family of 7 girls and 4 boys.

John David died in 1961, and is buried in St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cemetery in Mount Stewart, Prince Edward Island.

176995815_1488691690 grave JD MacDonald

Grave of John David MacDonald. (Photo source: http://www.findagrave.com)

… ‘This man was a hero without a doubt’ – Bloyce McLellan….

Bloyce reflected that “…in reviewing his military file I was quite shocked that John David never received any notable medal – a man that risked his life, health, and his future for his country. This man was a hero without a doubt, wounded in action and will remain in the history of our country an unsung hero.  When I heard my mother’s stories and read John David’s military file that Pieter and Daria Valkenburg were able to research for me, there was no question in my mind. Although he was a little farm boy from Pisquid, he stood tall and risked his life time and again for his countrymen and his country. No country could ask more from any man. He gave it all.…

Thank you to Bloyce McLellan for sharing his mother’s recollections about her brother and obtaining a photo.  If you have a story to share, please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Previous stories of Islanders who were aboard the ‘Empress of Britain’ with John David MacDonald….

Several Islanders, whose stories have previously been told, also sailed to England on the ‘Empress of Britain’ in July 1916. Among them were:

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw.

© Daria Valkenburg

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Letters Of Arthur Clinton Robinson

July 4, 2021. In 2017 we visited the grave of Arthur Clinton ROBINSON, a WW1 soldier with the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion, from Tryon, Prince Edward Island, who is buried in Belgium, (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/on-the-war-memorial-trail-in-belgium-and-a-visit-to-la-laiterie-military-cemetery/)  Up to today, we have not found of a photo of him, and neither has his family.

In June 2018, Arthur’s nephew, Arthur ‘John’ Robinson and his wife Hazel visited the grave with their son, dentist Dr. Alan Robinson, and Alan’s son, William Robinson.

2018-06-16 Arthur C Robinson grave (1)

At La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium.  Left to right: Dr Alan Robinson, William Robinson, Hazel Robinson.  (Photo credit: John Robinson)

While no photo has yet been found, the Robinsons were able to find two letters that Arthur wrote to his aunts. 

In an August 30, 1915 letter to his aunt, Robbie Blanchard, written in England just before travelling to France,  he describes the composition of men in his platoon from the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion: … You should just see the bunch of men … in this 26th alone. They are a magnificent body of fellows….and this Platoon I am in is a corker… there are, I don’t know how many different nationalities in it… Indian, French, Russians, Belgians, English, Irish, Scotch, Americans and Canadians.  Some mob, eh? You can hear nearly any language around here any time of day….” 

While in England, Arthur saw injured troops arriving back from the front and reflected that “…when you see the hundreds of maimed soldiers, some far worse off than if they were dead, and when nearly daily train loads of freshly wounded men pass right before your eyes, it makes you wonder at the ups and downs of this human life…” 

It was a miracle that the August 30 letter arrived in Canada, as the ship the mail had been travelling on, the Hesperian, was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Plymouth, England on September 4, 1915! Luckily it was one of the items salvaged from the wreckage. (See https://www.rmslusitania.info/related-ships/hesperian/ for more information) 

In a September 16, 1915 letter, written in France to his aunt, Carrie Robinson, he outlines life in a trench: …I am quite comfortable here in our cosy little dugout, out of reach of all the Germans in Europe.  I must tell you about the nice dugout and the 4 fellows who are in it with me.  It is a kind of a tunnel running into the side of a loamy hill, with rubber sheets and blankets hung over the mouth of it….” 

There was no electricity in the trench, as Arthur goes on to mention that …We have niches in the back, where we keep our equipment, and we put candles in them at night so we won’t be too lonesome…” 

He then describes how the equipment is turned into a bed for the night. “…On the floor we have straw, stolen from a stack near by, and all over our kits, which make excellent beds, when you know how to arrange them…” 

Although he doesn’t identify them by name, Arthur mentions his 4 trench companions: …1st They are all six footers. 2nd They all wear a seven cap or larger. 3rd They cannot get their feet into smaller boots than nines, and 4th They all weigh over one hundred and seventy pounds each…”  He goes on to say that he weighs over 170 pounds himself and is well fed.  

The saying goes that an army marches on its stomach, and Arthur’s account of his dinner indicates the importance of food.  “…We had potatoes and meat, bread and butter, and tea of course.  We could have had cheese and jam too if we wanted to, but we always try and keep it over for tea.  The bread and butter is great and the cooks of our company seem to have a natural gift of making good tea so we are lucky in that line…” 

One of the challenges in writing letters from the front during wartime is censorship so as not to divulge any information that might be used by the enemy.  Arthur writes about that: …I find it hard to write a letter here for they are so particular about what a person tells that if you write anything you are not supposed to tell they destroy the whole shooting match…

It’s wonderful that these letters survived so that we get a glimpse into Arthur Robinson’s thoughts and experiences.  Sadly, he lost his life on March 27, 1916 when shellfire hit the trenches southeast of Kemmel, Belgium. 

IMG_3466 Hazel and John Robinson

Hazel and John Robinson. (Photo courtesy of the Robinson Family)

Hazel Robinson explained that their 2018 trip was a war memorial tour.  “…Besides visiting Arthur’s grave on this trip, we followed in the footsteps of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers from England to France, Belgium, Germany, ending in the area of Wons. The Sherbrooke Fusiliers was my father’s unit. We also visited Vimy Ridge where my great-uncle is buried….

Hazel’s great-uncle was “William John HILL from Cassius on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick…”  He lost his life on April 9, 1917 and is buried in Canadian Cemetery No 2 in Pas de Calais, France.

During the trip, Hazel noted two coincidences.  “… A member of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers was buried beside Elmer Muttart in 1945….”  Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island is buried at Harlingen General Cemetery in The Netherlands. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/the-elmer-bagnall-muttart-story/ and https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-visit-to-harlingen-general-cemetery/)

Most likely, Hazel is referring to Thomas ‘Tommy’ Clayton REID.  We’d placed flags on his grave when we visited in October 2019.

CIMG3450 Oct 12 2019 Harlingen General Cemetery

Grave of T.C. Reid at Harlingen General Cemetery in The Netherlands.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Hazel found another coincidence in France. “…When we visited the cemetery in Vimy where my great-uncle is buried, the last family to sign the guest book was a family from my home town, Douglastown, in New Brunswick, and whose parents I knew well and who lived a few houses from my parents!…” 

Thank you to Hazel and John Robinson for sharing Arthur’s letters and information about their 2018 trip. If you have photos or information to share, please contact Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Screenshot_2021-02-27 On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg

You are invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

© Daria Valkenburg

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier Who Returned To Tryon

April 24, 2021.  One of the joys in doing research for the On The War Memorial Trail research project is the opportunity to learn more about the families of our friends and neighbours.  Much of the focus is on those who served our country and lost their lives while in service.

Pieter with Mary Ferguson, daughter of Maynard Foy.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

However, the majority of military service personnel in WW1 and WW2 returned home.  We don’t often know much about their time in service, or what happened afterwards.  As families come forward with information, Pieter is trying to tell these stories. Recently we met with Mary Ferguson of Crapaud, who shared photos about her father.

Maynard Foy.  (Photo courtesy of Mary Ferguson)

WW1 veteran Maynard FOY of Tryon, Prince Edward Island was born December 22, 1886, the son of Theodore Seth Harding Foy and Almira Boulter. By the time he enlisted with the 105th Overseas Battalion on March 2, 1916, he already had served 8 years in the 82nd ‘Abegweit Light Infantry’ Regiment (which later became the PEI Highlanders.  For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_Edward_Island_Highlanders).

On July 25, 1916 he arrived in England aboard the SS Empress of Britain. On March 2, 1918 he was transferred to the 13th Reserve Battalion, then a month later to the 26th Overseas (New Brunswick) Battalion.

The medical case history sheet at Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia noted that Maynard was admitted on July 13, 1919 – straight from the hospital ship HMHS Araguaya. (See https://wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/ships/view.php?pid=3451) His injuries had occurred during the Battle of Amiens. (See https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-amiens

According to the medical file, during the battle Maynard “…was carrying a smoke bomb in his left trousers pocket in the attack of August 8, 1918 when a machine gun bullet struck the bomb, causing it to explode, burning his left leg from the trochanter major to ankle, and palms of both hands…”  The trochanter major is a bony prominence toward the near end of the thighbone ie the femur, the point at which the hip and thigh muscles attach.

In a report for the 2004 Foy Reunion, Maynard’s great-granddaughter, Melissa Gauthier wrote that “As a result of the explosion, Maynard’s leg caught fire. In Maynard’s attempt to put it out with his hands, they were burnt so bad he couldn’t straighten them. They greatly resembled claws….

The medical care history report explained that “… The bullet penetrated the thigh in upper third.  Has been in hospital since that time….” Maynard had been taken to England from a hospital in Rouen, France, then returned to Canada once he was stable enough to travel, and remained in hospital quite a while longer.  He wasn’t discharged until January 12, 1920.

Emma Howatt Foy.  (Photo courtesy of Mary Ferguson)

Once back on the Island, he settled in Tryon and ran a mixed farming operation.  “He married the love of his life, Emma Howatt, then proceeded to have 11 children…” said Melissa in her report. They had married in Bedeque on September 13, 1923.

The Foy siblings. Left to right, standing: Ralph, Mary, Cecil (+), Theo (+), Marion, Keith, Percy, Ruth (+), Lorne.  Seated, left to right: Louise, Betty (+) (Photo courtesy of Mary Ferguson)

Maynard’s leg never healed properly. Melissa recounted that “…my grandfather…Ralph Foy… often took Maynard to the doctors to have the bone fragments extracted from Maynard’s leg. As painful as it sounds, Maynard didn’t feel a thing for the explosion had left his leg numb….

Maynard died on April 18, 1957, and is buried at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island. He’s never been forgotten by his family.  Mary Ferguson recalled that “… he was a very patient guy who never got cross.  Eleven kids and he never got cross!….

Thank you to Mary Ferguson for sharing photos and information about her father.  Maynard Foy was fortunate as he was able to return home from WW1. Three men from the same area were not as lucky in the Battle of Amiens, and are buried overseas:

If you have photos or information to share, please email us at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1. Please note that Pieter is still looking for a photo of James Cairns and Bazil Cormier. 

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

© Daria Valkenburg

A Trip To Bellacourt Military Cemetery

September 27, 2017.  After successfully finding our way to a number of cemeteries in France, we were growing more confident.  Next on our list was to find the Bellacourt Military Cemetery in Riviere, 10 km southwest of Arras, the burial place of two soldiers listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion – Patrick Phillip DEEGAN (aka DEIGHAN) and Percy FARRAR (aka FARROW).  Both men died in the same area, about 5 km south of Arras.

All of the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries have a stone fence around them, and inside the cemeteries there is green grass, and the graves all have a white headstone of the same shape and size.  In each cemetery there is a Cross of Remembrance and a memorial stone.  Most of the time there is also a sign on the road directing you to the cemetery.

CIMG8501 Sep 6 2017 Sign for Bellacourt Military Cemetery

Sign giving directions to the turnoff to Bellacourt Military Cemetery. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In each of the cemeteries we’d been to so far, we’ve been the only visitors, and Bellacourt was no different.  Most of the cemeteries we’d seen had been surrounded by farm fields.  Bellacourt, however, is near a waste collection centre!  Luckily, it’s not visible from the cemetery.

CIMG8502 Sep 6 2017 Bellacourt Military Cemetery

Bellacourt Military Cemetery. The graves marked with crosses only are French burials. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

According to the information provided by the Commonwealth Graves Commission, the cemetery began by French troops in October 1914, and carried on by various British divisions and later by the Canadian Corps.  There are 432 Commonwealth burials in the cemetery, 1 of which is unidentified, and 117 French burials.

At the time of their deaths, both Percy Farrar and Patrick Deegan were with the 26th New Brunswick Battalion.  Private Patrick Phillip Deegan was born November 25, 1894 in Cape Traverse, the son of Alexander Deegan and Margaret Anne Tierney.

Deegan, Patrick Phillip

Patrick Phillip Deegan. (Photo from Lest We Forget Project in Credit Union Place in Summerside. )

A clerk employed by Messrs. R. T. Holman, & Co. before the war, Deegan had twice been turned down for enlistment before being accepted as part of a reinforcement draft with the 105th Draft Regiment in 1916.  In his obituary in the May 4, 1918 Agriculturalist publication, “In the 105th he quickly was raised to Corporal and instructor in musketry but in order to get to the front he sacrificed his stripes, and went over about two months ago.

On April 21, 1918, Deegan was instantly killed in action by an explosion of an enemy shell in the trenches in the vicinity of Mercatel, 11 km east of the cemetery.

CIMG8507 Sep 6 2017 Pieter by grave of Patrick Deegan at Bellacourt Military Cemetery

Pieter by the grave of Patrick Deegan at Bellacourt Military Cemetery. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Percy Farrar (sometimes spelled Farrow) was born July 30, 1895 in North Tryon, the son of William Farrar and Margaret Jane McKinnon, and enlisted in October 1915.

Percy Farrar

Percy Farrar. (Photo courtesy of South Shore United Church in Tryon.)

Like Deegan, he died in the vicinity of Mercatel, two months after Deegan, on June 23, 1918, during German Spring offensives on the Western Front.

CIMG8512 Sep 6 2017 Grave of Percy Farrar at Bellacourt Military Cemetery

Grave of Percy Farrar at Bellacourt Military Cemetery. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

After Farrar’s death, his family moved to California.  The San Diego Union newspaper of March 13, 1921 noted that Farrar had died “while manning a machine gun”.   The newspaper noted that Farrar’s father received “two memorial scrolls from Buckingham Palace, London, in commemoration of the death of his son, Percy Earle Farrar, who was killed in action in the World War on the western front in France, June 23, 1918.”  One of the scrolls was signed by King George of England and stated that “I join with my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the great war.”

CIMG8517 Sep 6 2017 Daria writes in the guest register at Bellacourt Military Cemetery

We always write the names of the soldiers we’ve come to pay our respects to in the Guest Register. Daria enters the information at Bellacourt Military Cemetery (Photo credit Pieter Valkenburg)

In the next blog entry we continue our search for the Manitoba and Grandcourt cemeteries. Do you have information or photos for Patrick Phillip Deegan (Deighan) and Percy Farrar (Farrow)? Comments or stories?  You can share them by emailing us at dariadv@yahoo.ca or by commenting on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg