In memory of those who died this day during the Great War

  • 1916 282555 George Gordon De Laney, Infantry
    Buried at St Mary Churchyard, Bramshott, Hampshire
  • 1916 724248 John James Fitzgerald, Infantry
    Buried at St Joseph RC Church, Grayshott, Hampshire
  • 1916 135170 Harry Reginald Jackson, Infantry
    Buried at Lawns Wood Cem, Leeds, Yorkshire
  • 1916 136366 Thomas Munro Niven, Engineers
    Buried at Craighton Cemetery, Glasgow, Glasgow
  • 1916 331888 William Rudland Wells, Field Artillery
    Buried at Milford Cem, Witley, Surrey
  • 1917 490290 John Albert Drake, Railway Troops
    Buried at Cemetery, Brighouse, Yorkshire
  • 1917 722087 Henry George Giles, Labour Corps
    Buried at Efford Cemetery, Plymouth, Devon
  • 1917 886428 Harry Hoye Knutson, Infantry
    Buried at Cemetery, Norwich, Norfolk
  • 1919 2499367 Christopher Connery, Forestry Corps
    Buried at St Patrick RC Cem, Leytonstone, Essex
  1. The first Canadian casualty of WW1.

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    It is well documented Private #256265 George Lawrence Price was killed by a sniper two minutes before the Armistice on 11th November 1918. He was the last Canadian soldier to die in combat during the First World War.

    But who was the first casualty?

    The answer to this question is neither straightforward nor simple. Therefore, to whom does this sad ‘distinction’ belong?

    There are two candidates to be considered but neither soldier died in actual combat.

    Firstly, there was British born Private #T/619 Harry B Little of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry who passed away in Canada.

    He enlisted on the 10 August 1914. However, Harry died four days later from heart failure whilst on a troop train travelling through Alberta and bound for the ship that would have carried him across the Atlantic. He was buried at Czar Cemetery in Alberta.

    The second contender for this dubious ‘honour’ was Private #25844 William Herbert Vaughan Hartley who was the first casualty to die in Europe. He was born at Blackburn in Lancashire and only 37 years old when he died.

    Enlisting on 21st September 1914 at Valcartier in Quebec, he served with the 1st Royal Montreal Regiment. William sailed with the First Contingent as part of a convoy of thirty-three transport ships arriving in Plymouth Sound, England at dawn on 8th October 1914.

    The arrival of over thirty-three thousand Canadians was a complete surprise to the British people, who turned out in their thousands to welcome the men. The troops, their vehicles, equipment and many horses were disembarked, then taken by train to their tented camps on Salisbury Plain over the course of the next ten days.

    A few days later, on 19th October 1914, Private Hartley was found lying in a field by Shrewton Village on Salisbury Plain. William had apparently suffered an epileptic fit and died of exposure in the damp cold conditions.

    Two newspapers reported his death which occurred 104 years ago today.

    Toronto Star (undated)

    Toronto Star 20 October 1914

    Pte Hartley’s name is on Page 1 of the

    First World War Book of Remembrance


    Both of these men died whilst serving in the Canadian Military and are deservedly remembered as war veterans.

    They died before seeing action in the trenches which makes their deaths no less sad and tragic.


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