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1917 letter to R.F.C. pilot Leaside Camp Toronto #1

$20.00 CAD

– Sold Out

WW1  letter to Clyde Tite #76289 R.F.C. (R.F.C. = Royal Flying Corps) Leaside Camp Toronto.

The Leaside Camp was used for pilot training and the Artillery Cooperation School.

Dated Montreal Sep 2nd 1917 with interesting content:

…It certainly surprised me to find you were a soldier as you were not in uniform when I saw you. My dad was also a soldier & he went over with the 6th Royal Highlanders from Montreal in August 1914 but he was killed in May 1915 at the battle in the Apple Orchard, so I have always had a liking for soldiers & you can not blame me… 

Clean letter, envelope beat up.

The father was:

COCKBURN, Private, JOHN WILLIAM, 24901, "H" Coy. 13th Bn., Canadian Infantry
354 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
(Quebec Regiment). 20 May 1915 - 23 May 1915. Age 40. Husband of Marguerite Cockburn, of 10053, 107th St., Edmonton, Alberta.


He also suffered a gunshot wound to the head on April 25th 1915.

His Service Records can be found at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca


The Battle of Festubert (May 1915)

Attempts had already been made by the Allies to take the Aubers Ridge, which dominates Lille, but in spite of heroic efforts the hope had not been realised. On May 16th the 13th Battalion, by this time reinforced from England was in reserve trenches at Quinque Road.

The order was received on the 20th from headquarters detailing the part which the battalion was to play in the coming attack, which was to take place that evening at 7.45 o'clock.

The order was to the effect that the 16th Battalion would assault an orchard which the Germans had put into a state of defence. The 15th Battalion was to attack at a neighbouring point to the right. These attacks were to be made by two companies of each battalion, and on the 16th Battalion gaining its objective the 13th Battalion was to relieve the 16th. During that afternoon the orchard was heavily bombarded by our artillery, the guns roaring up to the minute of the infantry attack.

The 13th Battalion advanced to the positions allotted to it under heavy shelling. In the meantime the 16th Battalion companies, making their advance in daylight, were immediately seen by the Germans entrenched in the orchard, and were subjected to a torrent of machine gun, rifle and shrapnel fire. In spite of the heavy fire they continued steadily to press forward, and reached the orchard, where they found that the bulk of the German garrison had retired but had collected on the other side of the orchard. These were forced to beat a retreat, and the orchard was cleared.


Alfred Clyde Tite #76289

Clyde, who lived in Edmonton, first enlisted on 19th September 1914, then enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on the 19th June 1917 in Vancouver. His enlistment was a ‘Short Service’ i.e. for the duration of the War. On 1st April 1918 he was transferred to the R.A.F. On 1st April 1919, he was transferred to 44th Wing R.A.F. (Camp Borden). He was discharged on the 6th January 1919.

He was unmarried, 25 years old, and listed his trade as carpenter.

(British RAF Service Records)