Northern BC Troops

From Brian Milthorpe, a paper written at the University of Northern BC November 11, Remembrance Day.

How many of us have stood and watched as old men, many now infirmed or confined to wheelchairs place wreaths to “Fallen Comrades” at the local cenotaph and stand to attention while the “Last Post” sounds? What are their thoughts? Are they being transported back in time by the melancholy notes of the bugle to a dusty field in sun baked Italy or are they now as their number dwindle, remembering a grave side service amid the mud of Flanders. What was it that prompted them to take up arms against a foe with whom they had no personal quarrel, which took them from their families and their communities and caused them to be “buried in a corner of some foreign soil?”

Many of these questions are impossible to answer, being locked away in private memories. Individual motives cannot be fathomed as there are as many reasons for doing something as there are men. Although there are twenty-two names on the World War II portion of the Quesnel cenotaph, the World War One section contains the names of sixty-six “men of the Cariboo whose name liveth for ever more.” During the First World War, over 300 men from the Cariboo District of Central British Columbia volunteered for active service. What can be examined however is who these men were and what led them to suffer nearly one quarter of their number to be killed in action, the numbers of men killed in relationship to those who volunteered is quite out of proportion to the national average. Between August 1914 and January 1919, the Canadian Expeditionary Forces totaled 630,000 strong. Of these 59,500 were either killed in action, died of wounds or disease or were reported missing in action. This is roughly one death in ten that is, by any standards, a terrible price to pay. The fatality ratio for the men from the Cariboo was almost one in five, double the national average. This essay will endeavour to determine who these men were who volunteered for active service and the reasons for their disproportionally high casualty rate. It is not meant to be a history of Canada in World War One but will unavoidably trace the movements and actions of some units to which the men from this region were attached.

In 1913, the Canadian economy was in the midst of a depression. In central British Columbia however, the region was undergoing a minor land boom. With the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to Prince Rupert, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was hurriedly being constructed to connect with it in Fort George. Land prices were on the rise and there was much speculation as to where the new track was to be laid. Although the once prosperous gold mining towns of Barkerville, Stanley and Van Winkle were by now mere shadows of their former glory, they still maintained active hydraulic and hard rock operations. The townsite of Quesnel was an active community supporting numerous sports teams, a Masonic Lodge, movie theatre, newspaper and a local area population of approximately 850 people.

Many area residents were involved in multiple activities. Nelson Kenny, for example, a surveyor for Haggon’s & Co., captain of the Quesnel Lacrosse League, a “crack hockeyist” (Cariboo Observer, 6 Nov. 1915) competed with rink manager and team mate George Box in billiards tournaments in his spare time. Secretary of the Quesnel Hockey Association and assistant resident engineer Carl Beatty, another billiards player, who as a member of the Quesnel Gun Club, also enjoyed trap shooting. Sporting activities were far from the only leisure pastimes engaged in. There was also a lively amateur theatre group that included in its membership Alex Neveu and the ubiquitous George Merry Box.

The Dominion Day Holiday of 1914 had been spent by Cariboo residents oblivious to the ominous events unfolding in Europe that would so deeply affect this small community. Chester Boyd had taken the time from his position as clerk at the provincial court house to spend with his widowed mother and siblings at the family owned roadhouse at Cottonwood. Alex “Scotty” Shand had left his night shift operating a donkey engine at the P.G.E. bridge over the Cottonwood River and had spent a couple of days in town. Irish born James Murphy, pipeman on a hydraulic operation at Stout’s Gulch spent the weekend with his wife and children enjoying the holiday festivities held at their home in Barkerville.

News of the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by 18-year-old Serbian, Gavrilo Prinzip competed for space in the July 4, edition of the Cariboo Observer with headlines declaring a successful Dominion Day celebration in Quesnel. One of the more successful competitors in the day’s sports events was another teenager, 15-year-old Willie Hilborn with two first place and one second place finishes in the “Young Men’s Races, 18 and Under. One month later, on August 8 the headlines read “WAR IN EUROPE!”

According to the Observer, the town was “electrified” at the news that war had been declared between England and Germany. Since Canada was part of the British Empire, Sir Wilfred Laurier had declared that “When Britain is at war, Canada is at War.” Canada of course was ill prepared for war, the Cariboo even less so. The Minister of Militia, Sir Sam Hughes sent out a call for 25,000 volunteers and men flocked to recruiting depots by the thousands. By September, there were 32,000 men encamped on the banks of the Jacques Cartier River near Quebec City in the hastily built camp of Valcartier. Men from the Cariboo region were a little slower to respond to the clarion call to arms.

Elsewhere, many who enlisted at the outbreak of the war were from areas suffering from economic depression or who had been membersof local militias. The Cariboo had been enjoying relatively strong economic health and there were no militia units in the area. In a newspaper editorial, John G. Hutchcroft countered the general attitude that “it would be over by Christmas” in an amazing stroke of insight, writing that “The war is likely to prove a long one, as there is much bitterness of long standing between the European nations” (Ibid., 8 Aug. 1914). To satisfy the interest in the progress of the war, federal Member of Parliament John Fraser displayed the latest bulletins from the “front” in his store window on Quesnel’s Front Street. By the second week of August, citizens were seemingly becoming already war-weary and were complaining that “one of the local merchants has advanced the price of flour $1.00 per 100 pounds” (“Are War Prices Beginning to Prevail in Quesnel?” Ibid., 15 Aug. 1914). In a time when “the might of the British Empire was gathering towards the shores of Britain to fight her battles for the freedom of the world” (Scudmore, 4). The citizens of the Cariboo seemed strangely complacent. This complacency was about to be challenged.

On August 29, 1914 “Englishman” had this letter to the editor of the Cariboo Observer under the heading “Where Does Quesnel Stand?” It appeared that a corner had been turned:

To the editor of the Observer:

Sir-not long ago England was roused by a speech from the King the gist of which was “Wake up, England . . . ” Where are our leading citizens, to strike the note of help which a town of our size at any rate can offer? Are the people of Quesnel content to sit back and do nothing, when the Empire is engaged in a life and death struggle? Has the magnitude of this fight not dawned on our citizens?

Faithfully yours, Englishman

The Observer responded in an editorial in its 5 September edition.

The letter by an Englishman in our last issue created considerable discussion, and has achieved the object for which it was written . . .We know that there are numbers in our town and district who feel that we ought to do something for the Empire at this critical stage, many are ready to go to the front. That necessity has not yet arisen, but there are other means by which we may gratify our desire to be of service . . . we feel sure that the people of this district will not be backward in extending all the assistance they possibly can, and thus show we are grateful for all the benefits we have received. (Ibid., 5 Sept. 1914)

As the fall and winter progressed, Quesnel residents had begun to take positive steps in order to express their loyalty and support for the war effort. A Belgian Relief Fund had been established and “All young men of the town who have nothing to do in the evenings and would like to spend a few hours in good wholesome exercises, ” were invited “to visit the Quarters of the Quesnel Home Guard, two doors west of the Rex Theatre, next Wednesday evening at 8 o’clock” (Ibid., 24 Oct. 1914). There were calls for volunteers in the “Legion of Frontiersmen” being formed in Ft. George, Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary and in a mounted corps “consisting of nothing but expert riders and crack shots,” to be “largely recruited in the interior of British Columbia” (Ibid., 3 Oct. 1914).

Several men left town to make their individual contributions. British born A.J. Pickup and Captain Geoffrey Watson had left for England to accept commissions in their old regiments as soon as the war broke out. Sam Scobie had joined the 101st Edmonton Fusiliers and by September 19 was at Valcartier training with the first contingent. Joseph Callanan, only son of Barkerville physician and Conservative M.L.A. for the Cariboo, Dr. Michael Callanan, had enlisted in the 29th Vancouver Battalion. Henry Stoner, resident engineer P.G.E. Rlwy. left for Fort George, presumably to join the “Legion” and Carl Beatty had followed young Callanan’s lead and had enlisted in one of the Vancouver battalions. Home Guard training continued throughout the winter having to move from their quarters next to the Rex Theatre to Cowan’s hardware warehouse due to subzero temperatures, but the rate of recruitment remained desultory. The Cariboo Observer of 2 January 1915, reported an ironic statement made by “a local well-known Indian, upon learning that a number of Ontario natives were likely to go to the front to fight for their King expressed a desire to go also. He believed that 2,000 Indians would be able to hold down the Germans for one month-give white man a rest . . . ” This statement was made of course before any Canadian troops had even landed in France.

It was not until May of 1915 that there was any organized recruitment in the interior of the province. Until now, men who wished to enlist had to travel either to Vancouver or Victoria as there were no military units operating outside the major centres. By May 8, 27 men were awaiting placement as there were no vacancies in the established British Columbia battalions. The 54th (Kootenay) Battalion based in Nelson was authorized by the Militia Department under the command of Lieut. Col. Mahlon Davis on May 1, and by the 28th, recruiting officer Lieut. Archer and Sgt. Major. Edwards had arrived in town and had signed up 40 successful candidates.

They were a varied lot, these men of the Cariboo. Eighteen of them were native born Canadians and another 18 called the British Isles home; there were two Americans, a Dane and a Serbian. These were not young men flush with the first glow of patriotism, but older seasoned men with an average age of 28, the youngest being 19 and two men of 45. They were by now well aware of the terrible casualties sustained by their countrymen’s first blooding at Ypres and knew that the war was not a glorious adventure. After a lavish farewell dance and dinner lasting until 4:00am, the newly minted soldiers boarded the B.X. steamer and amid cheers of hundreds of well-wishers left for Soda Creek followed by an overland stage trip to the training camp at Vernon.

The Quesnel contingent remained intact within the 54th Btn. and became part of “D” Company consisting of 250 men from Kamloops, Revelstoke, the Similkameen and the Cariboo. In June, Quesnel had to turn down a challenge from the Fort George Lacrosse League for a series of games as the entire team was in khaki serge practicing drill in Vernon. After a slow start, the level of recruitment in the Cariboo began to make up for lost time. Even as “D” Company was announcing its arrival at the Canadian base in Shorncliffe England in August, another call for recruits from the Cariboo was sounded. By mid-September, Lieut. Cooke of the Victoria based 67th (Western Scottish, Pioneer) Battalion had succeeded in obtaining 30 more enlistees. By the time of the farewell dance at the Rex Theatre “which was attended by about all the people who are left in town” (Ibid., 25 Sept. 1915), 51 men had taken the oath. By the end of the month, this number had grown to 67. During a speech to the new members of the 67th upon their departure, Mr. J.L.Hill stated:

at in the portion of the Cariboo between 150 Mile House and Blackwater, a total of 6 men had enlisted, and if the same proportion had enlisted all over the Dominion, instead of having a few over one hundred thousand men under arms Canada would have a million and a half.

(id., 9 Oct., 1915)

The editor of the newspaper observed that the number of recruits that joined after the previous week’s edition pushed the number to “near the 200 mark, and so strong is the feeling of loyalty here that we feel certain half as many more could be secured if the age limit was raised a few years.” (Ibid.) Like the earlier enlistees, this group of volunteers “left a variety of occupations, many of which were exceedingly lucrative, to serve their country . . . not a few are miners and prospectors, and one cleaned up about $50 in one day from a newly-staked claim. Of the contingent, which came from the Cariboo, there are eighteen who have left ranches . . . while they fight for the country, and ten who have abandoned good mining claims that they might do their duty. The Boyd brothers are owners of the 21-mile Cottonwood House, on the Cariboo Road . . . Their personal interests were not permitted to come between them and their determination to do their duty. (Ibid., 6 Nov., 1915) There seemed to be an honour bound obligation to do one’s duty.

The true horror of the war had not yet been realised. It was not until September 25,1915 that Pte. John Craig became the first Quesnel resident to be reported “killed in action.” Craig, second son of “the well-known road foreman” (Ibid.,23 Oct. 1915), James Craig was born in Quesnel and had been living in Vancouver when the war began. He had enlisted in the 47th New Westminster Battalion but had been transferred to the 7th to replace the dreadful casualties suffered by the First Contingent during the poison-gas attack at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in April of that year. On the 25th of September, the Canadian Corps was involved “in simulating a bogus assault to keep the Germans on tenterhooks” (Beaverbrook, 34) during the British offensive at Loos. This required the laying down of smoke barrages and the firing of rifles and machine guns over the parapet. The Germans believing that an attack was imminent, laid down a heavy barrage on the Canadian lines “to prevent the arrival of supports.” (Ibid., 35) This feint to divert the enemy’s attention was Private Craig’s first and last battle. With the losses sustained by the First Contingent in 1915, 1916 saw a renewed fervour in the appeal for volunteers. A new battalion had been authorized for central British Columbia by Sir Sam Hughes to be designated “The Cariboo Battalion.”

The feeling had arisen that Central British Columbia, by reason of the lack of a distinctively local over-seas battalion was not receiving the recognition due to the efforts and sacrifices of the people of the district or the ready response of its young men to the call for volunteers.

Many . . . have been the complaints against . . . the removal of troops recruited in this district to fill gaps in the ranks of corps mobilized at the coast, or even in the ranks of the Kootenay Battalion. (Cariboo Observer, 15 Jan. 1916)

The Observer wholly supported this action in an editorial unsurpassed in its patriotic zeal.

The historic name “Cariboo” is to figure in the final chapter of the story which is now being written in letters in blood and fire on the fields of Flanders and France . . .and its reward will be won on the blood-red fields of battle. The volunteers of 1916 will face unknown dangers and surmount . . . difficulties to add another page to the record of an Empire’s glory. Every man of military age, and physically able to pass the medical should offer himself without delay, and thus help to prove that the spirit of ’62 still thrives and abides in the district. Friends will be able to remain together from the time of attestation, . . . and when the period of probation is over will be comrades in the trenches, and shoulder to shoulder in the wild rush of the iron game. (Ibid.)

Recruitment proceeded quickly for this new battalion officially designated as the 172nd Battalion Cariboo Rangers, C.E.F. By the end of February, over 700 men from the Boundary country on the south to the new settlements on the line of the G.T.P. on the north, (Ibid., 5 Feb. 1916) had “poured” in and were assembling at the regimental headquarters in Kamloops. By the end of March, sixteen men from Quesnel and the Barkerville area had left and there would be many more to follow. A popular subscription had been set up to raise money for material to provide a set of flags for the battalion to be made by women of the district, an official badge had been adopted and the slogan “The Fighting Cariboos” had been decided upon as the “fighting name” of the 172nd.

It was the practice in the British Army after the horrific losses suffered by the regular army’s “Old Contemptibles” in the retreat from Mons and in the First Battle of Ypres, of recruiting battalions wholly from a particular area or town. This “New Army” known as “Kitchener’s Army”‘ was made up largely of so-called “Pals Battalions”. Since most of the volunteers were from the same region such as the “Barnsley Pals” or the “Manchester Pals”, when a particular unit suffered often devastating casualties, a village or neighbourhood would bear a terribly disproportionate burden of loss. This practice being copied by the Canadian authorities would, in the coming months and years bear bitter fruit.

The 54th Battalion arrived in Bramshott camp on the south coast of England in November 1915. Many of the drafts landing in England from the Second Contingent were being used to fill the depleted ranks of the battalions of the First Division. The Kootenays and later, the Western Scots were attached as reserve battalions to the 7th and 16th Btns. and to the Royal Canadian Regiment. Among the men transferred directly to the firing line were Privates A. Gibson, Hagen, Mayant, and Safken to the 7th, Davis, Duckworth and Hendry to the R.C.R., Alex Neveu and Wilfred Weetman to the 16th Canadian Scottish and Pope to the 47th Btn. Since the Kootenay Btn. would not arrive in France until August, these men were the first from the group that enlisted in Quesnel in June of 1915 to see action, they would also be the first to be killed. Davis, Duckworth and Hendry would be killed in a trench raid in January 1916. Bert Pope “became curious and stuck his head over the parapet, and was immediately hit by a sniper’s bullet” (Ibid., 1 April 1916). The men of the 7th Btn. would die during the fighting in the Ypres Salient for the high ground at Mt. Sorrel during the Battle of Sanctuary Wood.

Between the 1st and 4th June (1916), our casualties were particularly heavy, some of the best of the battalion losing their lives and when we were withdrawn on the 15th June we had the additional misfortune to be caught in one last strafe and lose a large number of men . . . The Battalion counter attacked on 3rd June from Square Wood with the object of recapturing Sorrel Hill. (Scudmore, 25)

Alex Neveu was “shot by a German sniper while on patrol duty” near Hill 60,13 May and “died of wounds” (Cariboo Observer, 17 June 1916) June 5. His obituary read, “he met it like a man and a patriot, in doing his best for the defence of his country” (Ibid). Weetman was “Killed in Action” 4 June at Zillebeeke Lake, one year and two days after enlistment and Joseph Callanan who had “enlisted early in the war with the famous 29th Batt. of Vancouver . . . had been killed in action on June 6th” (Ibid., 8 July 1916). Callanan’s death in particular, elicited a touching response of sorrow and of patriotic outpouring from the Quesnel newspaper that was unusual when there were so many casualty reports containing familiar names.

When we pick up our papers and scan the columns listing the killed and wounded, the thought seldom strikes us that each individual name has the same meaning to some hamlet or household, and sends a thrill of despair through some near relative as it robs them of their chief pride hope. And to those of us who stay home, with nothing to offer but a verbal demonstration of patriotism, excuse ourselves as we may, we may not claim the same standard of citizenship as the young man who separates himself from all who are near and dear to him, and takes his place in the front trenches to oppose an inferno of shell fire and all the devices of the human laboratory turned loose by an alien enemy whose life dream is world domination (Ibid.).

At 7:30am, 1 July, 1916, the British Army climbed out of their trenches and attacked the German positions on an eighteen-mile front astride the Somme River Valley. Thus began the longest and costliest offensive of the war. The first day losses cost “Kitchener’s Army” 57,470 casualties including19,240 killed and 35,493 wounded. The battle would rage on for 141 more days, eventually grinding to a halt in mid-November. On 14 August, the 54th Battalion crossed the English Channel with the Fourth Division, were issued steel helmets and gas masks and were sent to join their countrymen at Ypres. On 31 August, the Canadian First Division moved into position on the Somme sector and into the frontline trenches on Sept. 7th, relieving Australians at the German stronghold of Mouquet Farm between Thiepval and Courcelette. The Battle of the Somme took a high toll among the front line troops and casualties among the Cariboo volunteers began immediately. A day after arriving on the firing line, George Box who had recently returned to his unit after recovering from wounds, suffered a direct hit from a shell that “blotted him out of existence” (Ibid., 7 October, 1916) The Quesnel newspaper that had two years earlier praised him for his singing voice in an amateur theatre production ran an obituary that read, “George was one of the largest hearted men one could meet, and make a friend out of every person he became acquainted with. Expressions of regret are universal at his loss, but we all feel that his death is as noble as any man could desire” (Ibid.). The history of the 7th battalion records that during the Somme Offensive

its losses whilst holding trenches were constant and severe and there was always the odd counter attack to be repelled. As an instance of this, the fight on 27th September, 1916, is a good example. Whilst No. 2 Company under Major A.C. Nation, M.C. was moving up to Mouquet Farm to relieve another unit, they found a counter attack by the enemy in progress. They flung themselves into the action without waiting and with such effect that the enemy were driven back to their trenches, the normal relief of the unit was carried out and the line occupied by the 7th Batt. (Scudmore, 28)

The losses from this action resulted in 22 “Killed in Action” and seven reported missing. Private L. Patrick Hennerty of the Cariboo gold fields was listed among the missing. Alex “Scotty” Shand, the former P.G.E. donkey engine operator on the Cottonwood was taken prisoner during his battalion’s failed attack on Regina Trench on the morning of October 8 and died of wounds in Germany, October 25. He lies buried along with several hundred fellow prisoners of war at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission plot in Ohlsdorf Cemetery near Hamburg. The Cariboo Observer would run many obituaries over the next few months, each one extolling the noble and patriotic virtues of “Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori.” Privates Davis, Duckworth and Hendry of the Royal Canadian Regiment were eulogized as “heroes . . . who fell in the most righteous cause humanity has ever been called to” (Ibid., 12 Feb. 1916). Fred Knox “died for a just cause, as any one of us is willing to do if called upon. His glorious example has done much to help the rest of us to bear the little discomfort we experience out here” (Ibid., 30 Dec. 1916). When Lance-Corporal Archie Boyd was killed at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 the paper recalled that “He had been in the trenches about nine months before he was called on to make the supreme sacrifice-to lay down his life that right and justice might still prevail” (Ibid., 28 April 1917).

Even as the casualty lists mounted, letters from the men at the front made continuous pleas to those left behind to join them in the trenches. “A Timely Warning” appeared in the Cariboo Observer on March 15, 1916 directed to all single men of military age “who are of Old Country birth” decrying the “slackers” who “let thousands upon thousands who never saw England, fight and die in its defence . . . Why, these men will never be able to show their faces at home again. Yours, etc., EX-CARIBOOITE.” This “stiff upper lip” attitude of the men at the front was exhibited repeatedly in the letters received and printed in the local newspaper. Driver, Henry Mehaffey of the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column wrote to the editor of the Observer, “I hope all the boys left behind, whom I believe are few, will join up, as we will be pleased to see them over here before Fritz gets his fatal dose of lead” (Cariboo Observer, 30 Sept. 1916).

During the so-called “Khaki election” of 1917, there was no question to which the Cariboo Observer supported. The front page stated quite clearly where its loyalties lay in article titled “MONDAY IS POLLING DAY”: This will be the last issue . . . before the people vote on the question of conscription or no conscription, and as we feel strongly that the Union government should be returned in order that Canada’s pledged word to her brave sons at the front may be fulfilled, we are devoting considerable of our space this week to current election news, so that our readers may have a clear conception of their duty in this important crisis(Cariboo Observer, 15 Dec., 1917). Through its editorials, by publishing letters from the troops overseas and by blatantly biased news stories, the pro-conscription Unionist Party led by Sir Robert Borden enjoyed tremendous support. There was absolutely no attempt at nonpartisan reporting in vilifying Raymond Leighton, the local Opposition Candidate and heaping praise upon praise on Fulton who represented the Government. Testimonials from the front lines were especially popular. Sgt. Major William Vaughan’s letter to his brother was faithfully printed stating, “Boost for conscription” (Ibid.). Corporal Ernest Seeley of Barkerville simply wrote to a friend, “Returning soon, vote conscription” (Ibid.). A series of short paragraphs following the afore mentioned letters read as follows, “The Great War Veterans’ Association disowns Leighton. Are you going to support him? . . . A referendum wouldn’t be much of a Christmas box for the boys in the trenches, would it?” and finally “Cast your vote with the Old Veterans and the Great War Veterans, for Fulton and the Union Government” (Ibid.). The Unionist Party won by a landslide.

On May 4, 1918 the Observer acknowledged that “Killed in Action is taking a considerable toll from the lads who enlisted from this section.” Among the last of the “Cariboo Boys” to die in the “Great War for Civilization” was 19-year-old Capt. Willie Hilborn D.F.C., R.A.F. who died of injuries sustained in a flying accident on the Italian Front on August 16, 1918. Four years earlier he had shared the front page of his hometown newspaper with Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip who had preceded him in death four months earlier of tuberculosis in prison.

That there was an extraordinary amount of patriotism at the time of “The Great War” cannot be denied. Just how much influence the local newspapers had in inciting these feelings or whether they merely reflected the mood at the time is a question worth exploring. Being the only newspaper between Ashcroft and Fort George, the Cariboo Observer was for most people of the region, the only source of information available and exercised tremendous influence. It was supportive of the recruitment drive in the Cariboo region to the extent that this area had one of the largest per-capita enlistment rates in the nation. Due to the nature of the local recruitment, it also suffered one of the highest casualty rates in the nation as well.

The reason for this is quite simple. The Canadian Corps was made up of a large variety of units, only a small proportion of which were front line infantry battalions. In a large centre such as Vancouver, Winnipeg or Toronto, a recruit had an opportunity to be placed in any number of non-combatant roles such as the Army Service Corps, Transport Corps, Railways Corps etc. Quesnel had been selectively recruited by the 54th, 67th, and 172nd infantry battalions. Of the men of the 54th (Kootenay) battalion who enlisted in Quesnel in May of 1915, almost one quarter had been killed in action, many having being transferred to the 7th battalion as reinforcements after that battalion’s horrendous losses during the poison gas attack at the 2nd battle of Ypres. Of the 1,440 fatalities eventually suffered by the 7th, 16 of them had come from the Cariboo. Eight men had been killed while in service with the remainder of the 54th Kootenays, five each with the 16th Canadian Scottish, the 47th British Columbia and the 67th Western Scots. Of all the fatalities experienced by the Boys of the Cariboo over 90% were from infantry battalions. It is interesting to note that after conscription having been introduced, there was not a single case of a man from the Cariboo who having been drafted into service being listed as killed in action. All of the fatalities that took place were from the original volunteers that had enlisted in 1914, 15 and 16.

The purpose of this essay has been to find out who some of these men were who so unselfishly gave their lives for their country. The argument of whether they succumbed to the jingoism of the time and accepted what Wilfred Owen called the lie, “Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori” must be left to another time. These men “Whose Names Liveth for Evermore” can only be remembered now through a conscious effort on our part, the living, otherwise the monuments to their struggle and sacrifice will be torn down to make way for car parks and shopping malls. We cannot let that happen.

The Glorious Dead, Quesnel Cenotaph

442031 Baker, George, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn………………..Pulmonary T.B. 05-May-16

Born 17 Oct. 1889, Age 26 yr, 6 mo., 18 dys. Son of August and Cecilia Baker, of Quesnel. “Pte. Geo. Baker, we are sorry to learn, is seriously ill at one of the hospitals in England” (Cariboo Observer 29 April,1916). “We lost one of our dear Canadian boys in the Hospital here a short time ago, George Baker, of Quesnel, B.C., he died of pulmonary tuberculosis” (Cariboo Observer, 1 July 1916). Chichester Cemetery.

150793 Baker, William Victor, Pte., 16 Cdn. Scot Bt. (79th Btn.)………..K.I.A.. 04-Sept-16

Soda Creek. Age 22, Son of Richard George and Augusta Baker. Memorialised (missing) on the Vimy Memorial.

463237 Baker, Roy Elmer, Pte., 62nd Btn/72nd Seaforth Highlanders Btn…….K.I.A.. 04-Aug-17

Age 35, Born 2nd May 1882, Woodstock N.B., son of James F. and Levina Baker. “Three more residents of Quesnel and district left on Monday for Vernon for the purpose of enlisting for the war. They were . . . R. Baker of Alexandria” (Cariboo Observer 10 July, 1915). Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery.

259 Beatty, Carl John, 2nd Lieut. 7th Sqdn., Royal Flying Corps………………..K.I.A.. 15-Sept-16

Age 27, Son of W. T. and Stella N. Beatty. Cornet player, member of Quesnel Conservative Association. “C.J. Beatty, member of Provincial Resident Engineer’s staff here during the summer, left on Wednesday for the coast” (Cariboo Observer, 14 Nov.1914). Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme.

103101 Boyd, Archie Arthur, L/Cpl., 67th Western Scots Pnr. Btn……….K.I.A. 09-Apr-17

Born 21 August 1887, Cottonwood House. Son of the late John Boyd and of Janet Fleming Boyd. Enlisted 21 Sept. 1915, Quesnel. “Archie was shot through the heart while his company was charging, being killed instantly, and was buried two days later on the spot where he met his gallant end” (Cariboo Observer, 19 May, 1917).”Walter and Chester were alongside of Archie when he got killed, and took it pretty hard” (Cariboo Observer, 2 June, 1917). Killed in action, Vimy Ridge. Vimy Memorial.

103114 Boyd, Chester Flemming, Cpl., 54th Ktny Btn., (67th Btn.)……….D.W. 07-Aug-17 Born 24 March 1889, San Juan Washington, USA. Son of John and Janet F. Boyd, of Cottonwood House, Chief Clerk, office of the Provincial Assessor. Enlisted 21 Sept.1915, Quesnel. “previously reported dangerously wounded, now officially reported died of wounds on August 7th, 1917 at the 7th casualty clearing station, of gunshot wounds in the abdomen and shoulder.” Hill 70. Noeux-les-mines Communal Cemetery, France.

442246 Box, George Merry, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn.,(54th Btn.)…………………K.I.A.. 08-Sep-16 Born 1st Feb, 1880, Bathampton, Somerset Eng. Worked as a carpenter, popular singer and amateur actor. “He was wounded in the arm last June, and had not been long returned to the trenches when a shell blotted him out of existence” (Cariboo Observer, 7 Oct, 1916) Somme front near Moquet Farm, Courcelette. Vimy Memorial.

103178 Brennan, Peter Austin, Lt., 54th Kootenay Btn.,(67th Btn)……..D.W. 07-June-17

Born 4 March 1889, East St. Cleod Minnesota USA. Son of William Peter Brennan and Catherine M. Healy, of Elk River Minn. Rancher, 70 Mile House. “I feel keenly the loss of two of my officers, namely Lieut. N.C. Kenny and Lieut Pete Brennan, both of whom were killed in action. These officers are buried side by side with the regimental cross over each grave. C.C. Harbottle” (Cariboo Observer, 25 Aug. 1917). K.I.A. Hill 70. Villers Station Cemetery, Viller-Au-Bois.

76017 Callanan, D. Joseph, Pte., 29th Vancouver Btn………………………….K.I.A. 06-Jun-16 Born 11 November 1889, Victoria BC. Son of Dr. Michael and Hannah Callanan, of New Westminster. Enlisted 13 November 1914, Vancouver. “Perhaps not since the beginning of the war has its grim reality been brought home to us more personally than when word arrived that Joseph Callanan, only son of Dr. Michael Callanan (M.L.A.) of Barkerville, had been killed in action. He enlisted early in the war with the famous 29th Batt. of Vancouver” (Cariboo Observer, 8 July 1916). Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Deal/696 Cameron, Ewan Donald, Spr., Royal Marine Engineers………………..K.I.A. 13 Nov. 1916 Son of Donald and Margaret Cameron, Exeter England. Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France.

442081 Carlson, Eric, Pte., 7th British Columbia Btn………………………….K.I.A. 13-Jun-16 Born 22 March 1889, Stokholm Sweden. Occupation, miner, Barkerville. Enlisted 54th Btn. at Vernon, B.C. 15 July, 1915. K.I.A. Mount Sorrel, Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Zillebeke,Ypres.

116909 Coppens, Benoit, Pte., 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles……

Born 21 February 1879, Miere Belgium. Owned ranch in Quesnel. Enlisted 11 May, 1916 in Victoria. Married, son of Jaiku Coppens, Belgium.

428762 Craig, John Dennis, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn.,(47th New Westminster Btn.)…….K.I.A.. 25-Sep-15

Born 25 February 1889, Quesnel BC. Employed as logger. Officially reported killed in action on September 25th. “The deceased young man was the second son of Mr. James Craig and Catharine Denis Craig, of Quesnel, the well-known road foreman” (Cariboo Observer, 23 October, 1915). On the 25th of September, the Canadian Corps were involved “in simulating a bogus assault to keep the Germans on tenderhooks” (Beaverbrook, 34) Berks. Cemetery Extension, Ploegsteert, Ypres, Belgium.

76484 Davidson, James Rittie, Pte., 29th Vancouver Btn…………………….K.I.A.. 06-Nov-17 Alexandria. Born 14 July 1888, Ellon Aberdeen Scotland, Enlisted 19 April 1915, Vancouver. K.I.A. Passchendaele, Tyne Cot Cemetery.

442048 Davis, Richard, Pte., Royal Cdn. Regiment, (54th Btn.)……………K.I.A.. 12-Jan-16 Enlisted Soda Creek, “I deeply regret to inform you that a few casualties have occurred among the Cariboo volunteers who enlisted last May. The following men were killed: Pte. R. Davis, Pte. A. Duckworth, Pte. A. Hendry.Yours sincerely, E.A. Palmer, Royal Canadian Regt. B.E.F., France Jan. 13,1916” (Cariboo Observer, 12 Feb., 1916). St. Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

227668 Denton, Horace Farnsworth, Pte., 11 CMR/47th BC. Btn…………..K.I.A.. 18-Aug-17

Born 23 May 1872, Logan Utah. Rancher, Alexandria BC. Married to Louisa H. Denton of Challis Utah. Enlisted 4 June 1916, Victoria. Chaudiere Military Cemetery, Vimy.

116937 Dohaney, George Ernest, Pte, 11th CMR/7th BC. Btn………………..K.I.A.. 15-Feb-18

Born 2 October 1887, Chipman, Queen’s County, New Brunswick, son of John and Margaret Dohaney. Rancher, Alexandra BC. Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension.

442060 Duckworth, Arthur, Pte., Royal Cdn. Rgt, (54th Btn.)………………K.I.A.. 12-Jan-16 Born 19 August 1890, Burnley Lancs., Eng. Enlisted Soda Creek. “I deeply regret to inform you that a few casualties have occurred among the Cariboo volunteers who enlisted last May. The following men were killed: Pte. R.Davis, Pte. A. Duckworth, Pte. A. Hendry.Yours sincerely, E.A. Palmer, Royal Canadian Regt. B.E.F., France Jan. 13, 1916” (Cariboo Observer, 12 Feb., 1916). St. Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

3030467 Dunn, Alfred, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn………………………………K.I.A.. 09-Aug-18 Age 39, Son of John and Mary A. Dunn, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England; husband of Mary H. Dunn, of Philadelphia, U.S.A. Beaucourt British Cemetery.

442054 Durston, Jack, Pte, 7th BC Btn., (54th Btn.)……………………….K.I.A.. 23-Jun-17 “Pte. Durston enlisted here the latter part of May, 1915, went overseas in July of that year, and to the trenches the following April” (CaribooObserver, 4 Aug. 1917). Age 35, Son of Charles and Lydia Durston, of Bridgwater, Somerset, England. Born at Rooksbridge, Somerset. Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt, France.

443782 Ellis, Jack Hugh, Cpl., 54th Kootenay Btn………………………………K.I.A..01-Mar-17 Age 25, Son of Sam and Harriett Ellis, Burton-on-Trent, England. “Another Barkerville man, John Hugh Ellis, was killed on the Western front during a raid on the 1st of March. Enlisted Aug. 1915, and had been at the front, including six weeks in the Somme drive, nearly nine months” (Cariboo Observer, 21 April 1917). “Jack Ellis got killed about a month ago; he was wounded in a sap in “No Man’s Land” with a machine gun bullet, and before he was able to get back he got gassed” (Cariboo Observer 2 June, 1917).”The young men from the Kootenays . . . were mowed down almost before they left the security of their own lines. And when they tried to take cover they died horribly. The gas – the ultimate weapon, which was supposed to nullify all opposition – was waiting for them in the slime” (Berton, Vimy,130) Vimy Memorial.

116928 English, Eugene, Pte., 29th Vancouver Btn……………………………K.I.A.. 19-May-17 “In respect to the dance given at Soda Creek . . . Guest present were . . . F. English, of 150 Mile House, father of Eugene English . . . who was killed at Passchendaele” (Cariboo Observer, 15 March, 1919). Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.

76233 Farley, Patrick Joseph, Cpl., 6th M.G. Coy………………………………K.I.A.. 16-Sept-16 Shoemaker, Born 21 April 1879, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, Ireland. Age 35, Son of Patrick Farrelly and Cathrine Farrelly. Enlisted 6 Nov. 1914. Vimy Memorial.

335865 Fowler, William Leslie, Gnr., 4th Bde., Cdn Fld. Arty……………..K.I.A.. 10-Mar-18 Age 20, Son of Lydia Flockhart (formerly Fowler), of Moncton N.B. and the late W.E. Fowler. Amherst Cemetery.

442067 Fryer, Charles Richard, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn……………………………..K.I.A.. 27-Sep-16 Born 24 May 1881, London Eng. Son of Frank Fryer. Rancher, Harper’s Camp. “Word was received here last week of Chas. Fryer having been ‘killed in action, somewhere in France.’ Mr. Fryer was one of the local boys who left here early last year. He had been on the firing line for some months” (Cariboo Observer, 4 Nov. 1916). “At 4pm a defensive flank was dug from Hessian Trench to Zolleran Trench, mainly by the 7th Btn. who took over the left flank at 10:30pm.” (Scudmore, T.V.). Vimy Memorial.

437514 Gibb, William, Pte., 7th British Columbia Btn………………………..K.I.A.. 10-Apr-18 Born 16 June 1880, Alva Scotland, son of Mary Gibb. Enlisted Edmonton, 15 August, 1915. Vimy Memorial.

442075 Gibson, Arthur, L/Cpl., 7th British Columbia Btn…………………….K.I.A.. 03-Jun-16 Born 11 June 1889, Manchester Eng. Age 26, husband of Catherine Gibson, of Horsefly. “Mrs. A. Gibson, states that her husband, Pte. Arthur Gibson, is still reported as “officially missing” and she thinks his chances of being alive are slim. Pte. Gibson enlisted at 150-Mile House with the 54th Kootenay Battalion, and went into the trenches last January” (Cariboo Observer 28 Oct.1916) Ypres(Menin Gate) Memorial.

102911 Graham, James Edward, Sgt. 67th Btn………………………..

Born 15 Aug. 1877, Windsor Nova Scotia. Enlisted Quesnel 18 Sept. 1915. Son of Mrs. Jane Graham. “Sgt. J.E. Graham. who enlisted in the fall of 1915 in the 67th Western Scots, states that he recently received the Croix de Geurre (Belgian) for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the recent Ypres operations” (Cariboo Observer 25 May 1918).

443773 Guy, James, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn…………………………………..K.I.A.. 01-Mar-17 Born 7 December 1887, Alexandria BC. Son of Frank and Agnes Guy; husband of Julia Annie Guy, of Vancouver. Harness maker and teamster. Special Memorial at 27, Memorial Row, situated right and left of the entrance. La Chaudiere Military Cemetery, Vimy.

116910 Hanson, Clayton M., Pte., 11th CMR/47th BC Btn.,…………………..M. 31-Mar-17 Born 6 November 1876, St Andrews New Brunswick. Son of the late Jeremiah Munn Hanson and Mary Elizabeth Hanson. “Pte. Clayton Hanson, who enlisted here about two years ago, has been reported ‘presumably dead’ being missing since last March and not having been reported as a prisoner. Pte Hanson apparently left no next-of-kin.” (Cariboo Observer, 20 Oct. 1917). Vimy Memorial.

442102 Hagan, James Francis, Pte., 7th BC Btn………………………………………….M. 05-May-16 Soda Creek. Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

442086 Hennerty, L. Patrick (Mike), Pte., 7th BC Btn………………………………….

Born 15 August 1887, County Armagh, Ireland”J. P. MacAdams, of Alexandria, informs us . . . of the death of Pte. Patrick Hennerty of Soda Creek. Pte. Hennerty enlisted with the 54th and went overseas with the first draft. He was formerly employed by Mr. Hargreaves” (Cariboo Observer, 25 Nov, 1916). M.I.A. Mouquet Farm, Somme.

Hilborn, William Carrall, D.F.C., Capt., 45th Sqdn., R.A.F……………..K.I.F.A. 26-Sep-18 Alexandria. Born 1899. Age 20. Son of Stephen Lundy Hilborn and Josephine Elizabeth Hilborn, of Quesnel. Joined the Royal Flying Corps in the summer of 1917 and served in Italy. Three days after he transferred to 45 Squadron, he was fatally injured in a flying accident. “Word was received that Capt. Willie Hilborn, who died on the 26th from injuries received on the Italian font on the16th of that month, had been awarded the newly instituted British decoration for airmen, the D.F.C. While on patrol he attacked single-handed and put to flight, eight enemy machines” (Cariboo Observer, 5 Oct. 1918). “An excellent patrol leader who on all occasions displays courage, endurance and skill. He has accounted for six enemy aircraft” (D.F.C. citation, London Gazette, 2 Nov.1918) Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery Extension, Italy.

Hunter, Andrew, Pte., Rly Serv.Guard………………………………………………….K.I.A.. ? 1918 Harper’s Camp (Horsefly).

116932 Isnardy, William, Pte., 11 CMR/29th Vancouver Btn…………………………….K.I.A.. 28-July-17 Born Feb 15 1895 in Chilcotin, son of Joe Isnardy of Chimney Creek BC. Employed as cowboy, Soda Creek. Fosse No. 10 Communal Cemetary Extension, Sains-en-Gohelle.

103098 Jensen, George, Pte., 67th Western Scots Pnr. Btn…………………..K.I.A.. 10-Sep-16 “Pte. Geo Jensen is the owner of the ‘Dog Prairie’ Ranch at Quesnel, of which seventy acres are under cultivation. He is another who left his crops that he might train for active service” (Cariboo Observer, 6 Nov. 1915). Supplied hay to Occidental Hotel stables. “The Observer received a letter from “Somewhere in France” confirming the death of Pte. Jensen” The Somme front nr. Courcelette. Reninghelst New Military Cementary.

107346 Jones, Henry Horace, Dvr., 6th Bde., Cdn. Field Artillery…………K.I.A.. 21-Oct-16

Owner of “Last Chance Claim” in Stanley.

Kenny, Nelson Clarke, Lt. 54th Kootenay Btn (67th Btn.)…………………..K.I.A.. 18-May-17 Born at Guelph, Ontario. Age 25, Son of James and Amy Kenny, of Whitby, Ontario. Member of R.W. Hagen’s survey party, “Information was received in town this week of the death in action of Lieut. Nelson Clarke Kenny, of the Western Scots. He was born in Orillia Ont. in 1891. He had only returned to firing line a short time when he met his death” (Cariboo Observer, 9 June 1917). Villers Station Cemetery, Viller-Au-Bois.

2138516 Kitchen, William Douglas, Pte., 46th Btn……………………………..K.I.A.. 01-Nov-18 Age 22, Son of James and Mina Kitchen, of Hillsdale, Ontario. Aulnoy Communal Cemetery, nr. Valenciennes.

443270 Knox, Frederick Vivian, Cpl., 2nd Cdn Mtd Rifles, (54th Btn)…..K.I.A.. 21-Nov-16 Age 30. Son of late John A. and F. E. Knox. Employed at the Australian Ranch, enlisted May 1915, 54th Btn. “We made a night raid on the enemy, and he was unfortunately killed whilst bombing thro’ the trenches. He was leading his squad, and I could hear him distinctly calling to his comrades . . . when suddenly he was struck by a bomb and was instantly killed. We took his body back to our lines, and the next day I took the party out, including all his comrades in the raid that were not wounded, and we buried him in the cemetary with full military honours” (Cariboo Observer, 30 Dec. 1916). Louez Military Cemetery, Duisans, nr. Arras.

442132 Mayant, Arthur Zephirin, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn.,(54th Btn)…………..K.I.A.. 03-Jun-16 Age 35, Son of Pierre Magnan Mayant, and his wife, Valerie Depatie. “Casualty list published on the 9th contained the name of A. Mayant, Kersley, under the heading “previously reported missing-now killed in action” enlisted June 1915 and was listed as missing since last June. He is brother of Mrs. George Duclos, of this town.” (Cariboo Observer, 17 Feb. 1917). K.I.A. Mount Sorrel. Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

443293 McLeese, John James, M.M., Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn…………………….K.I.A.. 28-Oct-17 Age 25, Son of John and Matilda McLeese, 150 Mile House. “He was hit by a bursting shell, and died instantaneously. He was buried on the spot where he fell, and a cross is now being made to mark this spot. He was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in getting the rations up. He was killed when taking water up to the front in one of the worst places ever” (Cariboo Observer, 22 Dec. 1917). Killed at Passchendaele. Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery.

Middleton, Ernest……………………………………………………………………


A42133 Muir, James, Sgt., 7th British Columbia Btn…………………..W. and M. 15-Aug-17 Soda Creek. Age 28, Son of Robert and Jessie Muir, of Dalbeattie, Scotland; husband of Agnes Boyd Muir, of Rutherglen, Glasgow, Scotland. K.I.A. Mount Sorrel. Vimy Memorial.

102912 Murphy, James, Sgt., No. 3 Co, 67 Wstn Scts Pnr. Btn……………D.W. 20-Oct-16 Age 44, Son of Stephen and Mary Murphy, of Navan, Ireland. Well known mining man of the district of Wing Dam. Pipeman for John Hopp on hydraulic monitor, Stouts Gulch, Barkerville. “Private Jas. Murphy had the honour of proposing the toast to the “67th Batt. Western Scots . . . his fluency and his refreshing brogue made the points of his observations forcible” (Cariboo Observer, 27 Nov. 1915).”Sgt. Murphy was wounded by gunshot in the back, on the 16th of October, and died on the 20th, two days after being admitted to the hospital” (Cariboo Observer, 18 Nov. 1916). Wounded in action, Somme. St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen.


103199 Murray, Norman Frederick, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn……………….K.I.A.. 12-Oct-16 Born at Scotsburn, Pictou Co., Nova Scotia. Age 48. Son of the late Angus Murray and his wife Jane Mackay, of Scotsburn and Truro. Educated at Truro Academy and Dalhousie College, Halifax.Was engaged in mining and civil engineering in British Columbia. Murray River and Murray Range in Northern British Columbia, Peace River District, has been named after him. “I suppose you know ‘ere now that Norman Murray went over the Big Divide. W.F. Cogce (Cariboo Observer, 18 Nov. 1916). K.I.A. Somme. Vimy Memorial, France.

645715 Murray, Hector William, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn…………………………….K.I.A.. 02-Sep-18 Age 33, Son of Mrs. D. J. Murray, of Martintown, Ontario. Proprietor of the Quesnel Bakery. Upton Wood Cemetery.

442169 Neveu, Alexander, Pte.,16th Cdn. Scottish Btn.,(54th. Btn.)……….K.I.A.. 05-Jun-16 “Pte. A. Neveu…now wears the kilts as a member of the 16th Canadian Scottish” (Cariboo Observer, 29 Apr. 1916). Wounded May 13 1916, Hill 60, trench 38-44, “Lover’s Lane”, “Alex was shot by a German sniper while on patrol duty” (Cariboo Observer, 17 June 1916). Boulogne East Cemetery, France.

Pickup, Alfred James, 2nd Lieut. 2nd Btn. Yorkshire Rgt.,…………………..K.I.A.. 26-Sept-15 “Formerly in a London Territorial Regiment . . . Member of Mr.Garneau’s timber and surveying party . . . in the vicinity of Barkerville . . . when the war broke out . . . threw up his job and went to England at once”. “On Dec. 18, I stopped a bullet through a couple of fingers of my left hand, also hit me in the side but did not perforate” (Cariboo Observer, 28 Jan. 1915) Loos Memorial.

442239 Pope, Norman Allan, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn.,(54th Btn.)………………..D.W. 04-Jun-16 Age 32. Son of Arthur N. and Emma Ryland Pope, of Melita, Manitoba. “Monday last’s daily papers contained among those . . . listed as dying from wounds was N.A. Pope, Peachland B.C. The latter was one of those who enlisted here in May 1915 and will be remembered . . . as an employee of the Water Rights Branch” (Cariboo Observer, 1 July 1916) Also listed as K.I.A. on Peachland cenotaph. D.W. Mount Sorrel. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge,West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

79873 Profit, James Allen, Sgt., D.C.M., 31st Alberta Btn……………………K.I.A.. 26-Sep-16 Barkerville. Vimy Memorial.

Reader, William, Pte., Royal Canadian Dragoons…………………….

Richards, Joseph Wilfred, Lt. 67th Btn…………………………………………….K.I.A.. 01-Apr-18 Employed Hudson’s Bay Co., South Ft. George, Enlisted 67th Btn. Fall 1915. “In the casualty list issued on Saturday, April 6th, appears the name of Lieut. Jos. W. Richards, under the heading of “accidentally killed” (Cariboo Observer, 20 Apr. 1918). Watlington (St. Leonard) Churchyard.

189360 Ritchie, Richard A., 18th Western Ontario Btn……………………….K.I.A.. 08-Aug-18 Alexis Creek. Vimy Memorial.

2138520 Ross, Thomas T., 2nd Depot Btn, B.C. Rgt…………………..Meningitis 02-Mar-18 Son of Ralph Ross, of Alexis Creek, British Columbia, and the late Susan Ross. Age 20. Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria.

442196 Safken, August William, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn.,(54th Btn.)…………..K.I.A.. 28-May-16 Born 26 June 1876, Osborne Kansas, son of Charles Safken. Employed as barber. Dragon Lake, “Last week’s casualty lists contained sad news for many readers, in the announcement of the death of another of the local lads. A.W. Safken was killed in action on May 28th” (Cariboo Observer, June 1918). Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Zillebeke, Ypres.

827131 Saucier, Bert Daniel, Pte., 143 Btn/47th B.C. Btn………………………………K.I.A.. 29-Sept-18 Born 23 February 1896, Kelowna BC, son of Joe Saucier.Vimy Memorial.

447909 Shand, Alexander (Scotty), Pte. 50th (Alberta) Btn……………………………..K.I.A.. 24-Oct-17 Born 13 February 1889, Knockandu, Moray Scotland. Enlisted at Calgary 15 Nov. 1915.

” . . . letters sent from here to the following boys have recently been returned with the words ‘Killed in Action’ stamped across the face: ‘Scotty’ Shand, formerly employed here by Johnston Bros. and engineer of Occidental Hotel.” (Cariboo Observer, 4 May 1918). Menin Memorial, Ypres.

500255 Snider, Edwin Percival, Pte., 1st Btn……………………………………K.I.A.. 03-May-17 Born 30 August 1880, Victoria BC, son of Mrs. W.H. Snider. Miner and bridge carpenter. Vimy Memorial.

103096 Smith, Frank, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn., (67 Wstn Scots)………….K.I.A.. 06-Sep-17 Born October 7 1878, Pittsburg Pennsylvania. Enlisted Oct. 1915, “Three years ago came to Cariboo, locating on pre-emptions up the Quesnel River, had been at the front about 15 months when, reported killed in action on the 6th of September” (Cariboo Observer, 22 Sept. 1917). K.I.A. Hill 70. Vimy Memorial.

443875 Berrington-Stoner, Hugh, Pte………………… July 10, 1916 Menin Gate Memorial, (54th) 2nd Battalion. Age 25,Son of Charles and Katherine Berrington-Stoner of 255 Wilbury Crescent Hove Brighton England

443786 Tanfield, Francis Louis, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn…………………….K.I.A.. 11-Sept-16 Williams Lake. Reninghelst New Military Cemetery.

443778 Trueman, James Pte., 47th British Columbia Btn……………………….M. 29-May-17 Co-owner with brothers John and Tom of pre-emption at Dragon Lake.

442234 Warlow, Fred Norton, L/Cpl., 7th B.C. Btn.(54th Btn.)…………..D.W. 01-Oct-16 Age 32 Son of William Warlow, of Pembroke Dock, South Wales. “Cpl. Warlow, a fellow-employee of the P.G.E. here died of wounds at Havre on Oct. 1st.” Wounded on the Somme front, Sept 1916. Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.

442227 Weetman, Wilfred Henry, Pte.,16th Btn.,(54th Btn)……………….K.I.A.. 04-June-16 Age 19, Born in England. Son of Francis and Frances E. H. Weetman, of Williams Lake. Enlisted June 2nd, 1915. Killed in action at Zillebeeke Lake, Fosse Way nr. Ypres. Railway Dugouts Cemetery, TransFarm.

442238 Wiley, Ralph, Pte., Royal Cdn. Rgt.,(54th Btn.)………………………K.I.A.. 27-Apr-16 Harper’s Camp. Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres.


ADDENDUM: Men reported K.I.A. but not listed on Quesnel Cenotaph

437150 Hawthorne, Thomas Orlando, Pte., 7th B.C. Btn…………………….K.I.A.. 10-Nov-17 Born 26 May 1889, Warsaw Ontario. Son of Edward & Mary Ann Hawthorne, “…letters sent from here to the following boys have recently been returned with the words “Killed in Action” stamped across the face: Tom Hawthorne, an employee of Mcleod & Smith, P.G.E. contractors” (Cariboo Observer, 4 May 1918). Ypres(Menin Gate) Memorial.

442085 Hendry, Alexander, Pte., Royal Cdn Rgt, (54th Btn.)………………..K.I.A.. 12-Jan-16 Born 20 May 1882 Seatown, Gardenstown, Banff, Scotland. Son of Mr Alex Hendry. Enlisted 1 June 1915 Soda Creek, “I deeply regret to inform you that a few casualties have occurred among the Cariboo volunteers who enlisted last May. The following men were killed: Pte. R. Davis, Pte. A. Duckworth, Pte. A. Hendry.Yours sincerely, E.A. Palmer, Royal Canadian Regt. B.E.F., France Jan. 13, 1916” (Cariboo Observer, 12 Feb. 1916). St. Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

426011 Jones, Albert Henry, Pte., 16th Cdn Scottish, (46th Btn.)………….. K.I.A.. 8-Oct-16 Enlisted in the 46th Bn 18.12.14. Arrived France 16.6.16. K.I.A. at Regina Trench, The Somme. No Known Grave, memorialised at Vimy.

6672 Newton, H.W. Goodwin, 2nd Lt., S. L. I., (1st/14th Bn., London Regt. [London Scottish])……………………………………………………………………………………K.I.A.. 19-Sep-16 Layman on staff of St. John’s Mission, Dragon Lake. Enlisted as Sgt. in Pnr. section of 21st London Fusiliers. ” . . . killed in action, September16th . . . He was given a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, and was with his battalion at the front only two days when he was killed” (Cariboo Observer, 4 Nov. 1916). Thiepeval Memorial.

688023 Martello, Frank, Pte., 172nd Rocky Mtn. Rngrs Btn………….Rptd. K.I.A.. Jan-1917 “Pte. W. Irwin of the 172nd Battalion announces the death in action of another member of that unit who enlisted here-Pte. Frank Martello, who had a pre-emption near Mud Hill” (Cariboo Observer, 27 June 1917).

77454 Mason, Morton Joseph, Capt., M.C. 16th Btn., (30th Btn.)………..K.I.A.. 02-Sept-18 “Lieut. Morton Joseph Mason, M.C., acting Captain in command of No. 4 Co. of the 16th Btn. Canadian Scottish, was killed in action Sept., 2 according to advices received. Lieut. Mason was the son of the late Mr. Joseph and Ada Mason, (partner of Mason & Daly in Barkerville) M.P.P. for Cariboo (in 1890)” (CaribooObserver, 21 Sept. 1918). Age 34. Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-Les-Cagnicourt, Pas DeCalais, France.

116907 Parsons, John Thomas, Pte., 29th Vancouver Btn……………………K.I.A.. 21-Aug-17 Age 29. Son of James and Susannah Parsons, of Curling, Newfoundland. ” . . . letters sent from here to the following boys have recently been returned with the words ‘Killed in Action’ stamped across the face: J.T. Parsons, from the Nazko” (Cariboo Observer, 4 May 1918). Vimy Memorial.

442245 Pope, Bert, Sgt., 47th British Columbia Btn……………………Rptd. K.I.A.. Mar-1916 ” . . . the writer states that he had been notified of the death in the trenches of Bert Pope . . . It appears that Pope became curious and stuck his head up over the parapet, and was immediately hit by a sniper’s bullet. This is the first fatality among the boys who enlisted at Quesnel” (Cariboo Observer, 1 Apr.1916).

443707 Trainer, Patrick, Pte., 54th Kootenay Btn………………Reported K.I.A.. Oct-1916 “In the casualty lists issued recently appeared the name of P. Trainer, who was killed in action, address of kin unknown. A soldier of that name apparently unknown to a majority of our citizens, enlisted here with the 54th, and he is doubtless the same, his number corresponding with others in that battalion” (Cariboo Observer, 28 Oct. 1916).

Watson, Geoffrey Launcelot, Capt. “A” Coy. 3rd, attd. 1st Bn, East Surrey Rgt………………………….K.I.A.. 20-Apr-15

108 Mile Ranch. “News was received at Westholme on Sunday that Captain G.L.Watson was killed in action near Ypres on Wednesday inst. Early in the war Captain Watson left for England and obtained a commission in the East Surrey Regiment. Captain Watson came to British Columbia some eight years ago,and purchased a ranch in the Cariboo District (108 Mile)” (Cariboo Observer, 8 May, 1915). Age 35 Son of the Rev. C.S. Watson. Menin Gate Memorial.

Westman,W……………………………………………………………………Reported K.I.A.. Jun-1916 “Monday last’s paper contained among those killed in action at the front the name of W. Westman, 150-Mile Cariboo Road” (Cariboo Observer, 1 July,1916).

D.W. – Died of Wounds, K.I.A..- Killed in Action, K.I.F.A.- Killed in Flying Accident

M.- Missing, P.O.W.- Prisoner of War, W. and M.- Wounded and Missing



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McCarthy, Chris. The Somme: The Day by Day Account, London: Greenwich Editions, 1996

Morton, Desmond, and Granatstein, J.L. Marching to Armagedon, Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited, 1989

Nasmith, Col. George G. Canada’s Sons and Great Britain in the World War, Toronto: John C. Winston, 1919

Scudmore, T.V. A Short History of the 7th Battalion C.E.F., Vancouver: Anderson & Odlum, 1930.

Skelton, Robin. They Call it the Cariboo, Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1980