George Albert Williams signature

On this day in 1917, George Williams was reported wounded and missing, later presumed killed in action, at Passchendaele.

A detailed war diary held at Library and Archives Canada describes the heavy losses of the 46th Battalion on the day of George’s death (page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5). Below is an extract:

…At 5.40 a.m. of the 26th the Barrage started and remained 8 minutes before the company started to advance. This barrage was very irregular in fact it was impossible to tell where it was supposed to be resting. Many casualties were caused by our shells falling short before the 8 minutes were up. The company started forward 13 platoon in the first wave 14 15 & 16 platoons forming the mopping up party. Owing to the puzzling inaccuracy of our Artillery a certain amount of confusion was caused by the first wave losing so many men… During the day there was considerable sniping & machine gun fire… & numerous casualties were caused

A month before this engagement, Williams was awarded the Military Medal for bravery:

Military Medal citation for George Albert Williams

Military Medal citation card, Library and Archives Canada 2004-01505-5

During the advance over “No Man’s Land” the N.C.O. in charge of Machine Gun, and part of crew having been wounded, he took charge of the Section, and despite flanking fire of enemy’s machine gun, he rallied the remaining men, and led them to correct objective, and he himself immediately got his gun into action, thereby allowing advance to continue.

Williams’s body was never found. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, and here in Deseronto.

Deseronto memorial

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