veterans


Thomas Mungo's signatureOn this day in 1917 Tom Mungo died of gunshot wounds he had received to his chest and arms on the previous day at the Battle of Hill 70. The war diary for the 16th Battalion describes the battle and is available online: page 1, page 2, page 3. Thirty seven men of the battalion were killed, nine reported missing and 206 wounded.

War diary extract 16th Battalion Hill 70

Summary of 16th Battalion casualties at Hill 70

Tom was buried in the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

He is also remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

William Sidney Gallie signature

William Sidney Gallie, a grain merchant, died in Camp Mohawk near Deseronto on this day in 1917. He was born in the United States in 1896, the son of William and Mary Gallie. By 1916 the family were living at 225 Bell Avenue, Winnipeg. Gallie joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on June 18th, 1917 with the regimental number 70447. He was five feet six and a half inches tall.

Belleville’s Intelligencer reported the accident:

Intelligencer report of W. S. Gallie's death

BELLEVILLE, ONTARIO, FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 1917
CADET KILLED AT MOHAWK
Lost Control From Collision With Another Plane and Crashed to Ground

A sad accident occurred at Mohawk Aviation Camp yesterday, which cost the life of Cadet Gallie, of Winnipeg
Two airplanes were landing close together and collided. Cadet Gallie’s plane was struck from behind when about one hundred feet in the air, and he lost control. The machine crashed to the ground, and Cadet Gallie was almost instantly killed.

The official casualty card confirms the details, and names the pilot of the other plane. Gallie was a member of 87 Canadian Training Squadron.

William Sidney Gallie RFC Casualty Card

Casualty card for William Sidney Gallie, courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum

…Date of Casualty: 16.8.17
Where occurred: Camp Mohawk Deseronto Canada
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4a. C617
Nature and Cause of Accident: Collison with machine piloted by Cadet Burrowes T.N Can 74101
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: None…

This record gives us the identification number of the aircraft: C617. In our collection of digital photographs we have a series of images taken of the remains of this aircraft after the crash.

William Sidney Gallie's crashed plane

From Sergeant Devos’s photographic collection, 2009.09(22), courtesy of Denzil Devos

William Sidney Gallie was interred in the mausoleum at Glen Eden Memorial Garden/Riverside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

Charles Arthur Brant signature

On this day in 1917 Charles Arthur Brant was killed in action at Bois Hugo during the Battle of Hill 70. The extract from the 15th Battalion’s war diary for the battle may explain the circumstances of his death:

War diary extract 15th Battalion Hill 70

Extract from war diary of the 15th Battalion for August 15th, 1917, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

At 5.30 a.m. our barrage again started forward and our waves advanced. The 3rd. Wave remained at the BLUE LINE. More opposition was encountered this time. There were small parties of the enemy in shell-holes, and these had to be dealt with by Bombing Parties before our line could advance. In BOIS HUGO one M.G. [Machine Gun] of the enemy was causing many casualties, but was silenced by Bombing Sections from No.1 Company, which worked around to the flank of the gun and captured it and killed the crew. The enemy who were in the the trenches on our left, kept up a continual rifle and M.G. fire, which caused a few casualties.

Arthur Brant was buried at the St. Mary’s Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery at Haisnes in France.

St. Mary’s Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery, Haisnes, France, courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

He is also remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

George Anderson Morton signature

On this day in 1917, George Anderson Morton, a grain merchant, died at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto as the result of a flying accident. George was born in Winnipeg on September 20th, 1895, the son of Thomas Morton and Mary (née Anderson). Mary died in 1904. Morton joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on June 26th, 1917 with the regimental number 74036. He gave his home address as Grande Pointe, Manitoba. He was five feet five and a half inches tall.

The accident in which he was killed was reported in Belleville’s Intelligencer newspaper in the following way:

Intelligencer report of G. A. Morton's death

BELLEVILLE, ONTARIO, MONDAY AUGUST 13, 1917
Aviator Killed at Deseronto
On Saturday at the local Aviation Camp another fatal accident occurred, resulting in the death of Flight Cadet Morton, of Winnipeg. The young aviator was up at a height estimated at about 2,000 feet, when from some unknown cause the plane plunged to the ground and was totally wrecked. It is surmised that Morton fainted while in the air and in this manner lost control of the machine. The unfortunate victim was dead when taken from his seat and his body was badly mangled. Many bones of the body were broken. The body was prepared for burial and shipped to Winnipeg.

This is the official casualty record from the Royal Flying Corps, which notes that Morton was in 84 Canadian Training Squadron.:

George Anderson Morton RFC casualty card

Casualty Card for George Anderson Morton, courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum

…Date of Casualty: 11.8.17
Where occurred: Camp Mohawk aero. Canada
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4a.
Nature and Cause of Accident: Machine nosedived vertically & continued in this position until it hit the ground completely wrecking the machine
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: Nil
Remarks: Cadet Morton had shut of[f] his engine preparatory to making a landing at a height of 2000 ft. A Court of Inquiry found no constructional fault in the machine

This photograph shows what remained of the aircraft after the accident:

George Anderson Morton's crash

From Sergeant Devos’s photographic collection, 2009.09(45), courtesy of Denzil Devos

George Anderson Morton was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Leo Bernard O'Rourke signature

On this day in 1917 Leo Bernard O’Rourke, a machinist, signed up in Toronto. He was born in Deseronto on October 26th, 1895, the son of Hugh O’Rourke and Beatrice (née Brown). The family were still in Deseronto in 1901, but by 1911 had moved to Princess Street, Kingston, where Leo was working as an apprentice machinist in the locomotive works. They were living in Toronto in 1917 when Leo signed up (he said in Raybaold Avenue – possibly Raybould Street).

O’Rourke joined the York & Simcoe Foresters (part of the Canadian Forestry Corps) with the regimental number 2498018. He was five feet four and a half inches tall, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was missing the top joint of the first finger on his right hand.

Leo Bernard O’Rourke survived the war and married Clara Boungard (née Reid) in Toronto on July 21st, 1920. They had two daughters. He died on November 16th, 1968 and was buried in the Riverside Cemetery at Shannonville.

Roy Galbraith Walker signature

Roy Galbraith Walker, a bookkeeper enlisted in Toronto on this day in 1917. He was born in Deseronto on March 24th, 1893, the son of George Walker and Martha (née Galbraith). George was a baker; he died in Deseronto in 1904. In 1910 Roy and Martha were living in Rochester, New York, where Roy was working as an optical grinder. In 1911 they were living in Oso, Frontenac and Roy was working as an agent for the Kingston and Pembroke Railway. He was in Rochester again by 1915, married to Harriet Mary Dill.

Walker joined the No. 2 Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot with the regimental number 528289. He was five feet eight and three quarter inches tall, with a medium complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He survived the war and in 1920 was living in Chicago, where his first child was born. In 1922 he and Harriet and their son arrived in New York State from Canada at Morristown, from where they moved back to Rochester, where Roy worked as a real estate salesman. In the 1940 US census he was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, working as a salesman in the field of international research.

Robert Charles Teasdall signature

On this day in 1917 Robert Charles Teasdall died at Camp Rathbun in Deseronto. He was born in Toronto on December 14th, 1897, the son of Robert Charles Teasdall and Marie (née Laughton). He joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on May 30th, 1917, with the regimental number 70331. His home address was 600 Yonge Street and he had been working as a bookkeeper before he enlisted.

Belleville’s newspaper, The Intelligencer reported the accident that killed Teasdall in the following way:

Intelligencer 1917 Jul 13 Cadet Teasdall's death

Report in the Intelligencer of July 13th, 1917 on Cadet Teasdall’s death

FLIGHT CADET TEASDALL INSTANTLY KILLED

Fatal Accident at Camp Mohawk in Which Young Aviator From Toronto Lost His Life – Machine Crashed to Ground From Considerable Height

A fatal accident occurred yesterday afternoon at the Deseronto section of Camp Mohawk, resulting in the death of Cadet Teasdall of Toronto, a young man who has been at the camp under instruction in aviation since July 3.

The young cadet had taken one of the aeroplanes up for a flight, and when at a considerable height something went wrong, and he lost control of the flying machine, which crashed to earth. The unfortunate young aviator was almost instantly killed and the machine was practically destroyed.

The accident was witnessed by a number of spectators, principally motor car parties, who had arrived at the borders of the camp to watch the interesting incidents of aviation training, and the rapid descent of the machine with the practical certainty of death or serious injury for the young aviator was a terrible spectacle which will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

Cadet Teasdall came to the camp from Toronto, and his body will be forwarded to that city for interment.

The Royal Flying Corps own records confirm the newspaper’s report, except that the accident occurred at Camp Rathbun, rather than Camp Mohawk:

Robert Charles Teasdall's RFC casualty card

Royal Flying Corps casualty card for Robert Charles Teasdall, courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum

…Date of Casualty: 12.7.17
Where occurred: Canada, Camp Rathbun, Deseronto
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4
Nature and Cause of Accident: Fl[yin]g acc[ident] – Machine Collapsed at height of 4000ft
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: None
Remarks: Machine Completely Wrecked

The Royal Flying Corps’ Court of Inquiry received the following evidence from Captain Aird:

Detail from Attorney General's 1917 file RG 4-32/2006 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail from Attorney General’s 1917 file RG 4-32/2006 at the Archives of Ontario

1st witness:Captain J. Aird. R.F.C. (S.R.)

Cadet Teasdale flying at about 5,000 feet nosed his machine C.591 down (intending to loop as I assume because from what I gathered from the Cadets he intended to try a loop.)

He left the engine on and dived about 500 feet gaining an enormous speed, and just as he tried to pull the machine up, the left wing broke away. The machine then began to spin, then the right wing collapsed, then the tail and fell to earth.

I got into a horse and rig and drove half way to the accident, then ran. When I arrived Teasdale’s body had been removed and taken away in a tender.

I examined the machine and found all controls intact and I think the accident was due to the stress in diving the machine.

(Signed) J. M. Aird, Captain.

Robert was buried in St. James’s Cemetery, Toronto.

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