WW1 1916 Letter home CEF Canadian soldier, killed at Vimy Ridge 1917


Letter from Canadian soldier from New Brunswick who was killed at on the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, on April 9th 1917. His body never recovered. He was 25 years old.

Postmarked 'Army Post Office 1 NO -16', postmarked 'Montreal Nov 13 1916'. Destination Durham Bridge, York Co., New Brunswick.

Letter with YMCA letterhead, ‘On active Service WITH THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE'.

Some where in France
Oct 31-10-16
Dear Sister,
A few lines to you I have intended on writing to you many times but was so busy in England. Well I am in France now and like it much better than in England. We were their only three weeks and I saw a lot their I knew and here I saw Cleave Kelley he looks fine just like my self.  I have gained a lot lately and have to get some larger clothes before going to the line. We get rain here every day and have lots of mud but it is not the sticky mud like England. I have only had three letters since leaving Canada and I got them soon after our arrival and we wont get any more until we go to the line and that will be two or three weeks yet. We like it good here and we are fed the best. I hope you are all well and not thinking on us to much for we are alright. Lurey and I are to geather the only two from home for the 25 the rest so far which have come over are for the 26 but will see one another quite often. I suppose it is quite coll in Canada now it is warm here yet. I will write again later on so excuse this short letter. Love to all
Your loving Bro. Verne


Some extracts from hi Service Record:

  • Present address Cross Creek New Brunswick
  • Born July 24th 1891
  • Trade: lumberman and farmer
  • Unmarried
  • Attestation May 30th 1916
  • His will leaves his belongings to his Mother
  • On enlistment joined 140th Overseas Btn.
  • 6-10-16 Arrived in England aboard the S.S. Corsican
  • 27-10-16 Transferred to 25th Res Btn Ceasar’s Camp (Shorncliffe)
  • 22-11-16 Transferred to 25th Btn
  • 9-5-17 Reported “Missing” From Base (on 9-4-17)
  • 19-5-17 Reported "Missing” In Field
  • 12-2-18 For official purposes presumed to have DIED on or since
  • 23-2-18 Now reported for official purposes as DEAD

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


Attacking together for the first time, the four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30 am on 9 April 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed. There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions. Three more days of costly battle delivered final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.


Related Items