Frederick William Gray was born in Lyn on September 6th 1895. He was the second child born to his parents John Henry and Smiena (known as Mimmie) her maiden name was Graham. His parents were farmers and after attending high school at Brockville Collegite Institute, Frederick followed in their footsteps and worked on the family farm.
He had a sister Hattie who was one year older than he was and a brother George eight years younger born in 1903.
The war broke out in 1914 and on July 14, 1915 at the age of 19 Frederick decided to enlist and fight for King and Country. At the time of his enlistment he stood 5’4” with blue eyes and light brown hair. He enlisted in Brockville in the 59th Battalion and was later transferred to the 20th Battalion.
After training in Canada the day finally arrived, April 5th, 1916 when he and the rest of his fellow soldiers sailed from Halifax to Liverpool, England. It was upon his arrival on April 11th, that he was transferred to the 20th Battalion.
On June 6th, 1916 he was sent to France to join the rest of the 2nd Canadian division. He would eventually move to the front lines and live in the labyrinths of trenches dug for his safety. He would live like this for the next year and a half, dodging bullets and just trying to stay alive.
In 1918 the war was drawing to a close and the Allies wanted to put on a last big offensive to try and break through the enemy lines and bring the war to a close. Plans were made for what would later be called the Battle of Amiens.
The Battle of Amiens-
“Canadian and Allied troops won a major victory against Germany at the Battle of Amiens between 8 and 11 August 1918. Amiens was the first in a string of offensive successes that led to the end of the of the First World War and culminated in the 11 November 1918 armistice.
The attacking force comprised the Canadian Corps, the British Fourth Army, the French First Army, the Australian Corps and others. In early August, the Allies tricked the Germans by appearing to weaken their front line so that German officers expected no assault. Troops moved to the front lines at night to fool the enemy. False moves were also made in daylight, amid much noise, dust and bogus radio communication.
Secrecy was so important that the soldiers saw the warning “KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT” added to their service and pay book.
The Allies sneaked into position with thousands of heavy and super-heavy field guns, howitzers, more than 600 tanks, and 2,000 aircraft. The Germans were greatly outnumbered and, in the words of German military chief Erich Ludendorff, “depressed down to Hell.” The Germans were protected by three lines of trenches, which were poorly wired for communications and without good dugout shelters.
The Canadian Corps was assigned to hit the German Fourth Army. The attack was scheduled for 8 August at 4:20 a.m. Unlike earlier attacks in the war, the Amiens assault would not be preceded by bombardment. This would keep the assault secret as long as possible.
A Royal Air Force squadron laid smoke screens over the battlefield to hide the attacking Canadians. A heavy mist also concealed no man’s land as the attack grew nearer on that moonless night. At exactly 4:20 a.m., 900 Allied guns opened fire and the infantry headed toward the German lines. Tanks roared across the battlefield and planes droned overhead.
The Germans were entirely unprepared for this scale of attack and many surrendered at the first chance. Allied soldiers fought through woods to clear German machine-gun positions and take prisoners. The tanks lagged behind, struggling across boggy terrain and in thick fog. Canadian forces captured several key targets and pressed forward amid waves of German prisoners being marched back behind Allied lines.”(The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Unfortunately Pte. Frederick Gray was wounded with a gunshot to the head during the first day of the attack on August 8th. He was removed to Base Hospital No. 6 in the nearby city of Rouen.
In the First World War the city was safely behind the lines and became a major logistics centre with numerous base hospitals. Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city.
Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for the duration of the war.
On the champ de courses on the outskirts of Rouen, the British established
Nos.5, 6, 9, 10, and 12 General Hospitals
Nos.1, 3, 8, 11, and 12 Stationary Hospitals
Whether Pte. Gray ever regained consciousnesses or not we will never know. What we do know is that he lay in a hospital bed at No 6 Base Hospital for 32 days until he died on September 9th. Just a few days after his 23rd birthday.
He was laid to rest in St. Sever Cemetery and Extension long with his fellow soldiers who died on that battlefield.
(We have no photo of his grave marker)
St. Server Cemetery
The St. Sever Cemetery and Extension (Rouen) is situated about 3 kilometres south of Rouen Cathedral and a short distance west of the road from Rouen to Elbeuf. If travelling from Elbeuf or Caen on the N.138, follow Avenue Des Canadiens right down to the roundabout. Then take the fourth exit into Rue Stanislas De Jardin, and the cemetery lies 150 metres on the left. The CWGC signpost is located at the entrance of the cemetery. The cemetery covers an area of 49,885 square metres. The War Stone is on the boundary of the original Cemetery and the Extension, facing the City of Rouen War Memorial. The Cross is raised on a terrace on the further side of the Extension. The Chapel, cruciform and surmounted by a dome, is in the middle of the Extension.
During the Second World War, Rouen was a hospital centre and the extension was used for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation. There are 332 Canadians buried here from the First World War and 38 Canadians from the Second World War. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
Stanley Clarence Darling was born on November 26th, 1894 in Lillies just north of the Village of Lyn. His mother was Fanny Darling and his father Wells. He was the oldest in a family of two boys and three girls. His brother Grant was born a year after him in 1895.
We know very little about his early childhood, except that growing up on a farm he would be expected to help out with the daily chores. Living in Lillies he would have attended the Lillies one room school house.
When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Stanley would have been 20 years old and would have read with keen interest the events of that far away war.
On January 6th, 1917 he took a big step and enlisted in the 253rd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces. At the time of his enlistment he stood 5’7 tall, weighted 165 pounds with brown eyes and red hair.
On April 29, 1917 he sailed for England aboard the SS Olympic. He would remain in England for the better part of a year and finally his unite sailed for France and the front lines, arriving on March 8th 1918. When Pte. Darling arrived in France he was attached to the 102nd Battalion as an infantryman.
On September 3rd, 1918, six months after he arrived in France, Pte. Stanley Darling took part in the battle for the Canal du Nord.
The story of that battle is as follows:
On September 3, 1918, the day after the Canadian Corps breached the Drocourt-Quéant Line, a directive was issued for a general Allied offensive on the entire front from the Meuse to the English Channel, with four great hammer-strokes to be delivered at crucial points. The timetable for these blows called for striking the enemy on four successive days. The second of these assaults was to take place on September 27, and was a joint attack by the First and Third British Armies in the general direction of Cambrai to capture the northern part of the Hindenburg Line. Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig ordered the First Army to seize Bourlon Wood and cover the Third Army’s left flank as the latter advanced on Cambrai and subsequently on to Valenciennes. The capture of Bourlon Wood was assigned to the Canadian Corps, which would then push forward to establish a defensive flank northeast of Cambrai. Farther south the British Fourth Army, supported by the French First Army, would join the battle on September 29 in an assault on the main Hindenburg position.
The first obstacle General Sir Arthur Currie’s forces had to overcome was the Canal du Nord. Because the Canal du Nord was impassable on the northern part of his front, General Currie had his boundary with the Third Army shifted 2,377 metres to the south, and proceeded with preparations for the Canadian Corps to make its initial attack through a dry area between Sains-lez-Marquion and Moeuvres. It was an intricate operation introducing the difficult problem of moving the whole Corps through a narrow opening before fanning out with four divisions engaged on a battlefront that would rapidly expand to over 10,000 metres.
In the dusk of the evening of 26 September the Canadians moved forward. By midnight they were assembled opposite the dry section of the canal, huddled together for warmth, and for the most part in the open. The night wore on and there was no evidence of enemy counter-preparation. Suddenly, as dawn was breaking, the opening barrage flashed out, shocking the enemy into action. Before they could retaliate, the initial waves had crossed the canal and were fanning out from the bridgehead. Nevertheless, the follow-up troops suffered casualties as the enemy, alive to the danger, subjected the canal bed to a violent bombardment. The results justified Currie’s generalship. He acquired the canal at relatively light cost, but more than that, Bourlon Wood the essential objective, was also taken.
Unfortunately it was at this point during the start of the battle on September 27th that Pte. Stanley Clarence Darling was killed by enemy fire in his 24th year. He was killed in the vicinity of “Inchy-En-Artois”. Fate took its’ toll and less then two months after his death on November 11th 1918 at 11 o’clock armistice was signed and World War I ended.
Stanley is buried in the Bourlon Wood Cemetery in France.
Today, the Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial commemorates the attack across the Canal Du Nord on ground donated by the Comte de Franqueville, then Mayor of Bourlon. The great stone block is at the top of a hill. It is approached by climbing steep, stone steps past terraces cut into the hillside, and bears the message:
“THE CANADIAN CORPS ON 27TH SEP. 1918 FORCED THE CANAL DU NORD AND CAPTURED THIS HILL. THEY TOOK CAMBRAI, DENAIN, VALENCIENNES & MONS; THEN MARCHED TO THE RHINE WITH THE VICTORIOUS ALLIES”
Ancient lime trees line both sides of the steps that lead to the Memorial. They are the original trees, and though shattered by shellfire in the battle, they were nursed back to health. The terraces are planted with a rich variety of coniferous shrubs and shade-loving plants. The Memorial is beyond the village of Bourlon, which is just south of the Arras-Cambrai road, three kilometres beyond Marquion.
(note information on the history of the battle and grave site was taken from the Canadian War Museum’s website)
The year was 1887 when Andrew Salomnson was born (Andres Salomonsson) in Kall, Kall County, Sweden. If you were to look on a map you would find that Kall is located in the middle of Sweden, a pretty little village on the side of a lake. He was born on Tuesday, February 8, 1887 to his parents Keistokonson Salomonsson and Anne Hyttsten.
Little is know about his early life in Sweden, except that he did have brothers and sisters, so he was not alone in his youth. At the age of 19, in 1906, he left home to go to Newfoundland. There was a saw mill there owned by a Swedish man and he would bring over other Swedes to work in his mill and for logging in the dense forest of Newfoundland. After saying good-bye to his parents and family, he set off to Goteborg. It was there, that on April 27th he boarded a ship to Hull, England, where he then took another ship to St. John’s, Newfoundland, which at that time was not part of the Canada we know today.
On this trip, he was accompanied by a cousin on his mother’s side, Brita A. Jonsson who was four years his senior. We do not know what happened to his cousin Brita, but in 1907 Andrew left Newfoundland and went by ship and arrived at North Sidney, Nova Scotia on August 20th. He eventually found his way to Cochrane, Ontario.
He worked for a few years as a labourer and on his Military Enlistment record, his occupation is shown as a “Concrete Contractor”.
War broke out in 1914, but Andrew probably thought it would end soon and didn’t enlist immediately at the start of the war. Instead, he waited until 1916 when on April 13th, he signed his Attestation Papers.
Andrew enlisted in the 159th Battalion (1st Algonquin CEF), 97th Regiment, based in Haileybury, Ontario. He, along with his regiment, sailed to England in November 1916, where his battalion was absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion on January 20, 1917. In England he was stationed at the large training camp at Seaford. It was here that he, because of his background as a Concrete Contractor, was assigned to a labour group.
He went to France on February 10th, 1917 and on November 25th of the same year, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and assigned to the 2nd Canadian Labour Battalion, in France.(For the record his service number was 648830)
After the Armistice was signed on November 11th 1918, be returned to England and eventually to Canada. He was discharged from the military on March 20, 1919.
Little is known of the next few years of his life; perhaps he went back to Cochrane, Ontario to resume his previous life as a cement contractor. The next time we see Andrew is when he is hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal with tuberculosis in the mid 1920’s.
It was there while in hospital that he fell in love with his nurse, Gertrude May Johnston of Elizabethtown. The love was mutual and on June 21st 1927, they were married in Muskoka, Ontario. On the marriage certificate his occupation is listed as “Prospector”.
Gertrude was the second of four daughters of John and Lilly Belle Johnston being born in 1894 at the family home on the Lyn Road. She was seven years younger than Andrew.
Gertrude and Andrew purchased a small home in Gravenhurst and settled down to start their new life together. Unfortunately it wasn’t too long after their marriage that Andrew’s TB returned, and unfortunately after spending time nursing and working with TB patients, his wife Gertrude developed tuberculosis as well.
They lived close to the Muskoka Tuberculosis Sanatorium and it was there that they sought treatment. Unfortunately Andrew passed away on March 3rd, 1934, at he age of 47 after being married to Gertrude for only seven short years.
After Andrew’s death, Gertrude moved back to live with her parents. It was here, suffering from TB, that she would spend the remainder of her days. Four years after the death of her husband, Gertrude passed away on June 10th, 1938, at the age of 43.
Both Andrew and Gertrude are buried at the Oakland Cemetery just west of Brockville. They had no children.
Every once in awhile, a forgotten soldier from the past re-surfaces. Thanks to notes and photos received from the great niece of William James MacNamara, Barbara Dunster (nee Quinn), we can piece together his life and pay tribute to this forgotten soldier who gave his life in World War I.
William James MacNamara was born in Lyn on January 10th 1892. He was the son of John T. MacNamara and Beatrice (Cook). John was a farmer and stone mason living in the Lyn area. The family consisted of thirteen children, with their youngest child dying shortly after birth and one daughter dying of consumption at the age of thirty-three.
Growing up in Lyn, William would have attended the two story, relatively new, Lyn Public School on the west side of the village. He would have enjoyed village life, fishing in the Lyn pond, and in the winter skating on that same pond.
As a young man he joined the “Boys Cadets” and spent two years with them. Later on in his late teens, he was a Lay Minister at the Presbyterian Church in Lyn. He worked in general construction in and around the Lyn area.
When the war in Europe broke out on July 28th, 1914, William, like all the other young men his age, wanted to do their service for King and Country. On September 23rd, 1914 William at the age of 22, joined the army at Valcartier Quebec, the primary training base for the First Canadian Contingent in 1914.
On August 10, 1914, the government established the strength of the First Canadian Contingent for overseas service at 25,000, the figure requested by London. Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes, eager to lead and coordinate personally a speedy call-up, chose to forgo the established mobilization plan and issued a more direct call to arms. Men from all classes and ages rushed to enlist at armouries and militia bases across the country. They all traveled to a single, hastily prepared camp at Valcartier for equipment, training, and preparation for war. Eventually the camp held over 35,000 troops.
We are not sure of William’s training dates or when he left for England, but we do know that he was assigned as a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. The chances are very good that he met up with the 3rd Battalion as they were training at Camp Bustard in England.
Before leaving for Europe, William became engaged to Ethel MacKenzie of Lyn.
Through the war diaries of the 3rd Battalion, we are given a look into what his life would have been like.
“On Sunday Feb. 7th, 1915 during a heavy rain storm the battalion was preparing to leave England and move to the front. On Feb 17th they reached Armentieries, France (Northern France, near Belgium) and were billeted there and given instructions on the trenches at the front.”
We are going to skip ahead to November 6th when the 3rd Battalion was moved to Dranoutre to relieve the 2nd Battalion. An 8PM entry, notes: “Relief completed. Mud very bad, dugouts fallen in. Parties of 4th C.M.R. attached for training, about 15 O.R. to each of our companies. 2nd Canadian Division on our left, 4th Battalion on our right.”
A November 16th entry finds them still in the trenches at Dranoutre.
“9 a.m. Our guns opened on German line near PETITE DOUVE FME., and continued intermittently until dusk. 3:00 p.m. Heavily shelled by a 5.9” on a train, using A.P shells. Lt. H.C. JONES and 7 O.R. wounded by one. Our heavies retaliated. Two 9.2” shells landed in our own lines, fortunately causing no casualties. 6:00 p.m. 1 O.R. wounded in D4 by rifle grenade. 9-10p.m. Our heavies pounded PETITE DOUVE steadily
2 p.m. 5th and 7th Battalions raided German line near PETITE DOUVE, bayoneting some 20 or 30, bombing others, and returned with 12 prisoners. Germans failed to retaliate. D section profoundly peaceful throughout the night. Weather –unsettled.”
On Sunday, December 5, 1915, we see the first entry noting Lt. MacNamara: “Location: DRANOUTRE 10:30 a.m. Church parade, A & D Corp. REV. CAPT. GORDON took the service.
CAPT. COOPER, LT. MACNAMARA and 21 O.R. went on leave. 2:30 p.m. Band gave concert in the square. CAPT. VALIQUET went to 1st Bn. Weather—rain, later fair Mild.”
We know from other sources that Lt. MacNamara would go to London for leave and stay at the home of Mrs. J. Hueston. At the time, she lived at Isleworth Court, 22 Palace Rd., Streatham Hill, London, SW. It was very common for Londoners to open their homes to servicemen on leave.
An entry from December 19, 1915 gives an idea of what life was like for William MacManara:
“Location: In Trenches 3:00 am Heavy rifle fire from YPRES salient. 5:25 am Heavy gun fire from YPRES salient. (Word received Germans had attempted a gas-attack , but were stopped by our guns.) 5:45 am Gas very noticeable in our trenches. 3-4pm Heavy gunfire from YPRES salient—Gas again very noticeable.”
The next two entries where we see Lt. MacManara’s name, is when he was promoted to Captain on Feb. 23rd, 1916.
“Wednesday, January 19, 1916
Entry: Capt TROY, Lts. BURKE, MacDONALD and MacNAMARA & 4 n.c.o.’s returned from DivisionalTraining School. Played the Highland Light Infantry at football, wining 3-2.
Wednesday, February 23, 1916
Entry: Gas Alert. Working parties. Still cold, snow on the ground.
Dinner by Capt DYMOND and Capt. MacNAMARA to wet their stars.”
Life continued for the men of the 3rd Battalion and the next three entries can help to give to an idea of what the daily life would have been like for the now Capt. MacNamara.
“Thursday, March 2, 1916
Location: BRIGADE RESERVE
Entry: 4:30 am – Field guns, heavies & hows all opened up. MGs opening indirect fire on approaches appalling now. Germans contributed a splendid display of rockets & flares. The strafe lasted violently for 30 minutes, then gradually died down. It was a demonstration to cover attack on International Trench in YPRES salient. Attack was successful. Little reply to our bombardment. Draft of 26 O.R. reported. Bathing & working parties. Gas Alert. Weather – snow.
Monday, March 13, 1916
Entry: Our guns active all day. Meagre reply from enemy. Minenwerfer fairly active, wounding 1 O.R. Relieved by 2nd Bn, and moved to billets at DRAMOUTRE.
Monday, March 27, 1916
Entry: Violent bombardment by our artillery from 4-5 am, trench mortars joining in. Little retaliation. Germans shelled us heavily but without effect about 12 noon and about 5 pm.”
The next mention of Captain MacNamara is on Sunday, April 2nd and Monday April 10th, 1916 when he went on leave, again presumably back to London.
“Location: SCOTTISH LINES
Entry: Church parade. Rev. Capt. GORDON took the service. Capt ALLEY, Capt MacNAMARA and Lt ANGLIN with R.S.M. and 6 n.c.o.s went up to check over Brigade Support positions.
Moved to Brigade Support. Owing to UPPER GORDON TERRACE and KINGSWAY having been badly smashed by shelling this afternoon, whole Battalion quartered in BEDFORD HOUSE. Sgt EVANS wounded near R.10. Weather fine.
Monday, April 10, 1916
Location: BEDFORD HOUSE
Entry: Capt MacNAMARA and Lt. McLEAN and 15 O.R. went on leave. Lt. KIDD wounded in leg in front trench. Moved to relieve 2nd Battalion. 2 O.R. wounded by shell at BEDFORD HOUSE. Relief complete 11.15 pm.
On Saturday, April 22, 1916 we see that he has returned from a 12 day leave. Location: POPERINGHE
Entry: Rainy. Capt MacNAMARA and Lt McLEAN from leave. Lt McDONALD to be Brigade Wiring Officer.
On Monday, May 29, 1916, he was transferred to “D Company” Location: TRENCHES
Entry: German and British aeroplane brought down. Capt McNamara to duty with D Coy.
On June 1, 1916, he was transferred back to “C Company” Place: Dickebusch Huts
Entry: Arrived from trenches about 2 am. Colonel Allan, acting Brigadier General in absence of Brigadier General HUGHES. Capt DYMOND returned from leave. Capt. McNAMARA posted to C Company, Lieut SIMMIE to Grenadiers.”
Little did he know that 12 days later, at the age of 24, he would die in an attack on the German Lines. His wounds and death are recorded in the following entry on June 13th 1916.
Entry: 12.45 am – 1.30 am Intense bombardment by our artillery. 1.30 am, artillery lifted to our original support lines, and front line, and C, A and D Coy’s, with bombers and M.G., rushed German front line from S.P. 11 to MACHINE GUN TRENCH. Right attack met little opposition and bayoneted the Germans in the trench. C and A Coy’s met rifle and M.G. fire, but pushed on, carried trench and bayoneted most of the occupants. Capt. MACNAMARA was hit in both legs in this attack. Capt DYMOND was wounded. 1.40 am B Coy left X TRENCH, and two platoons to consolidate German front line. From 12.45 am on, the German shell fire along X TRENCH, and in front of it was very heavy.
1.50 am our artillery lifted to original German line, and the attack pushed forward to the crest, two platoons of B Coy. supporting the right. The crest was carried with slight loss, many Germans being bayoneted before they could get away. Some 60 or 70 wounded and unwounded prisoners were sent back. The consolidation of the line was at once begun. Capt. COOPERS, Lt. WILLIS, Lt. HUTCHISON, Lt. SLOANE, Lt. HOBDAY, Lt. GRASSETT, Capt. MARANI, Lt. WEDD were all wounded in this stage of the fight. Major MASON, in charge of the forward lines, was hit in the head, and later in the foot, but carried on until noon when he had to come out. The 1st Canadian Battalion, in support, sent a company forward to 1st German line, and later sent two companies, and then the remaining companies forward to our regained front line to help consolidate and hold the position. Two of our Lewis guns became choked with mud, and Lt. CRAWFORD turned three captured German guns on the enemy.
From this time – 2.30 am – on, German artillery fire on our new positions, especially on MOUNTSORRELL and on X TRENCH, was heavy, and continuous throughout the day. The woods and trenches were searched with shrapnel and H.E. and many casualties were caused. The band under Sgt. YOUNG, displayed great devotion in carrying wounded to the rear. Lt. KIPPEN, Intelligence Officer, and his scouts, before and during the attack, gained at great risk much valuable information and got it to Battalion H.Q. The signalers’ efforts to keep communication with MOUNTSORRELL were excellent, but the heavy shelling cut lines as fast as they were laid. A party under Sigr BLACKHALL, which went forward with the attack, got communication for enough time to give Battalion H.Q. in X TRENCH, information as to our new positions, but the lines were soon cut. The lines to Brigade were also cut and pigeons proved most valuable. After Major MASON was forced to leave, Lt. Col. CREIGHTON of the 1st Canadian Battalion took over immediate command on MOUNTSORRELL. Lt. SIMMIE was wounded while endeavouring to get supplies of grenades forward.
During the afternoon the enemy’s artillery fire increased Lt. Grasett who though wounded had carried on, was killed, Lt. GORDON, badly wounded, started for the rear but up to the 16th inst has not been heard of Lt. Weston was killed. Capt. MacNamara was carried out, bleeding to death. He died on the 14th. A direct hit on the H.Q. dugout on MOUNTSORRELL killed Capt. Vandersmissen, and fatally wounded Lt. Col. Creighton, who died on 16th June. A hit at the door of Battalion H.Q. in X TRENCH wounded 2 O.R. inside and slightly wounded Lt. Col. Allan, who carried on.
11 PM, relieved by 8th Canadian Battalion, and moved to F Camp. Total casualties:- 3 officers killed, 1 officer died of wounds, 1 officer missing, 11 officers wounded. 40 O.R. Killed, 92 O.R. Missing, 207 O.R. wounded.”
From family notes we have learned that William, as we read above, was wounded in the field and left to die. A close comrade of William’s begged to stay with him, but William encouraged him to go and be safe. He related this story to William’s mother when he returned to Canada after the war.
William would have been removed to No.3 Causality Clearing Station where according to official notes, he died of his wounds on June 14th, 1916, one day after he was critically injured in an attack on the German lines.
There is a note on Captain MacNamara’s record to indicate that he may have first been buried at Dickebush New Military Cemetery, Belgium, but another notes states that he was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium Plot 6, Row A, Grave 20.
On December 3rd, 1916, his mother Beatrice received a hand written letter from Mrs. H.F. Hueston.
“He was a dear, dear friend of mine, and has been my guest here at this house every time he was on leave in London. I have your dear Son’s best uniform in my possession, and ask if you would like to have it. Perhaps the sight of it may be altogether too painful for you, and that is the reason for writing to ask you about it before sending it. The uniform I speak of is one that he kept for best wear while in London and that is how it comes to be in my possession. I used to look after it for him while he was away at the front.
Dear mother of his, I am truly sorry to re-open your wound in this manner, He spoke of you so very often to me, and told me how proud you would be of him being a Captain. May God have mercy on the lad, and grant his dear soul eternal rest and peace. Hoping to hear from you and offering my sincere and heartfelt sympathy in your irreparable loss. Yours very Sincerely, J.Hueston”
And so our story of William James MacNamara comes to an end. Remembered by only a few over the past 100 years, now his life has re-surfaced to be with us once more.
We owe our eternal gratitude to all those men like Captain MacNamara who gave their lives so we could live in freedom today.
For his service Captain MacNamara would have received the following two medals:
The Victory Medal (also called the Inter-Allied Victory Medal), is a United Kingdon and British Empire First World War Campaign medal.
The British War Medal is a campaign medal of the United Kingdom, which was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces for service in the First World War.
After the war, William’s family would have received:
The Memorial Plaque, which was issued after the First World War to the next-of-
kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.
Note, for additional reading:
For the complete diary of the 3rd BN, it can be found at the following website: