For those of you in the US or other parts of the world, November 11 is called “Remembrance Day” in Canada, a day set aside to remember those who have fought for our freedom–alive and dead.
Though I have spent many years researching World War II for novels I have written, and am writing, and have known and visited with family and friends that served in that war, I never found much of a connection to World War I. I’ve still learned about it and watched movies about it, but there wasn’t that same personal connection.
Until this year.
Sunday I received a letter from my mother-in-law with a list of my husband’s (and my children’s) great grandfathers, great granduncles, etc., who fought in the First World War.
Here are a few:
- James Couch joined Canada’s overseas expeditionary force in Victoria BC in 1917, went over to Europe and died at Passchendaele, Belgium 0n 11 N0vember, 1917. He left a wife and 2 small sons in Victoria Canada.
- Thomas Henry Couch – James’ cousin – was killed in action, 22 march, 1918, in Flanders.
- Herbert William Couch – Thomas Henry’s brother – died 1 November, 1914, when the HMS Good Hope sunk off Chile.
- William John Couch, served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry.
- Ellis Garnett died 6 October 1918 of the 1918 Flu, while still in Canada on his way to the war.
- Albert Egerton Grigg was in the 27th Light Horse from 17 April 1916.
- His brother, Herbert George Grigg was drafted 30 Oct 1917. His fate is unknown.
- Percy Israel Down joined 22 may 1918, one month after his 18th birthday. He survived.
- George Aithie Sawers enlisted in the Canadian expeditionary Force on 20 May 1915. He had been in the Royal Scots before that. He survived.
- William Aithie Nelson was drafted in Canada 7 Nov 1917. He survived and went on to serve again in WWII.
- William Wallace Aithie enlisted in the Royal Scots as a private. He was killed in action 16 May 1915. He is buried or remembered at La Touret Memorial, Pas-de-Calais, in France.
- Robert Aithie, in the Royal Scots, Lothian Regiment, died of wounds 27 Jan 1915 in France and Flanders. He is buried at Calais, France.
- James J Aithie, a private in the Royal Scots, Lothian Regiment, 8th Battalion and was killed in Action 16 May 1917, in France, or Flanders. He is buried at Arras, Calas, France.
- James A S Aithie, a private in the 1st Battalion, Cameronian Scottish Rifles (18th Royal Scots), died 8 May 1918, Lonnebeke, West Flanders.
- William Aithie, a private in the Royal Scots, Lothian Regiment, was moved around to three different groups in it with three different service numbers, and lived through it all.
- Charles Aithie was in the Gordon Highlanders, enlisting 13 August 1914 as a private. He served in France and was a prisoner of war.
- Henry Aithie, George Aithie, George K Aithie, John Aithie, Thomas Aithie, all served and got medals. They seem to have lived (no death records).
Some of them enlisted together, up to three or four at one time: some lived, some did not. Twenty-three have been found so far.
I am grateful to each of them for the sacrifices they made and the legacy they have left to my family.