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Remembered Today:

Canadian Infantry, Alberta Regiment

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#1 Deleted_RTAYLOR_*

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:54 pm

My great uncle served in WWI and died there. I am interested in any information out there that would shed light on his whereabouts on his date of death and where he was during his service. ANy information regarding where to find any photos of his unit or better would be greatly appreciated!

William March
Service Number: 79946
Force: Army
Unit: Candian Infantry, (Alberta Regiment)
Division: 31st Bn.

Date of death was September 24, 1916.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

#2 Neil Burns

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 09:31 pm

Researching A Member of the CEF

Welcome to the forum,
The above link has links to the online attestation papers and war diaries for the CEF. Your best bet is to order his full service record from Ottawa.
Good Luck,

#3 delta



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Posted 15 November 2005 - 10:06 pm

31st Bn was part of the 2nd Cdn Division which, in mid - late September 1916, was tasked to capture the ground around Courcellette, a village to to the north of Pozieres, during the later stages of the Battle of the Somme.

31st Bn was part of the Bde that was tasked to capture the sugar factory, supported by the tanks of C Company Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps (later to become the Tank Regiment) on 15th September 1916. They captured the village itself quite quickly bu then there was a slogging battle, from 26th September, to take the ground aound the Regina Trench to the north east of the village.

I have done a quick scan on the key candian sites with no joy. I also cannot find no mention of William March on the Alberta Battalion site but this may be because he was not a native of Alberta.

I would guess that he was killed in the Courcellete area, perhaps by artillery fire, during the build up to the second attack ph34r.gif . However, knowing the Pals, some-one will quickly let me know whtehr i have got it right.

If you wish to know more about the CEF, the Candian Veterans Affairs runs a good web site.

#4 Canadawwi



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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:12 am

The Canadian War Diaries are online and fortunately do have the 31st Battalion's diary for the month of September 1916.

War Diary - 31st Battalion CEF Alberta

Scroll down to Sept. 1916 - and the events for Sept. 24th are on pg 6 - and the casualty summaries are on pg. 9. They write that there were two major engagements for that month, but they only list the officers by name.

On September 24, 1916

31st men at Contay in the morning, marched to Tara Valley, NE of Albert at Noon.

Major engagements for the 31st in September according to the diary entry were on the 14-15th and 25-29th. Casualties for other ranks for Sept. 25-29 were 58 killed, 110 missing. Your relative's name is on the Vimy Memorial so he falls into the latter category.

Hope that helps.


Here is a link to his attestation - William March and you can order the full file (instructions on their site).

#5 jhill



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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:34 am


You are fortunate in that your relative fought with the 31st (Alberta) Battalion. That unit is one of the best documented battalions in all the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I have an interest in them since many local men fought with them. A quick look through the easily available stuff gives us the following:

The 31st Battalion was the Alberta representative in the 2nd Canadian Division. The initial strength was raised about a third in Calgary, a third in Edmonton, and a third elsewhere in Alberta. From the Attestation paper of W. March we see that he was in this third group, having joined up in Medicine Hat.

Pte. March is recrorded as dying on September 24, 1916. There is a problem with this date, since the battalion war diary reports no casualties that date, the unit being temporarily out of the line. They did go back up the next day, preparatory to the so-called Battle of Thiepval Ridge, which kicked off on the 26th, and in which the 31st suffered heavy casualties.

The battalion diary of this unit contains many attachments. For example, we learn that on October 13, 1915, Pte. March was slightly wounded in a "demonstration" at Kemmel. Further, he is listed as a slightly wounded casualty of "B" Company during the action at the St. Eloi Craters in early April, 1916. Finally, he is listed as a reinforcement rejoining "B" Company on September 15, 1916, just before his death.

I am sure there is other detail you can find if you have the patience.

good luck!

#6 Deleted_RTAYLOR_*

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 03:36 pm

Wow! More than i had hoped for gentlemen. Thank you very much. My father will be delighted to learn of this as will I.


#7 Paul Reed

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 04:46 pm

You'll find a little more about the fighting at Courcelette in my book on the subject: