BROTHERS GIVE LIVES FOR EMPIRE
Pte. Arthur Bailey Aitken, on the left, son of Fire Chief John Aitken, to-day reported to have been killed in action on September 27 , and his brother, Corp. Herman Aitken, who made the supreme sacrifice on May 9, 1917. while serving with the 18th Battalion. Pte. Arthur Aitken was with the 15th Battalion when he met his death. He enlisted in the 241st Scottish Borderers before he was 18 years old and was wounded on a zeppelin raid on their camp in Folkestone, England. He was transferred to another unit on recovering.
WAS KILLED INSTANTLY. – Fire Chief John Aitken to-day received advices from Ottawa to the effect that his youngest son, Pte. A.B. Aitken, who was killed in France on September 27, 1918, died instantly from an enemy machine gun bullet while employed as a Lewis gunner with his battalion.
CORPORAL AITKEN, SON OF FIRE CHIEF, DIES FOR EMPIRE
Well-Know Young Londoner Gave His Life for His Country in France
Another of London’s boys has made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of humanity and liberty in the person of Corp. Herman Aitken [Note that the news story erroneously states his rank a Corporal.], of the 18th Battalion, who, according to the official word received on Sunday afternoon by his parents, Chief and Mrs. John Aitken, 170 Bruce street, was killed in action May 9 . Corp. Aitken enlisted as a Private in the 2nd Divisional Calvary unit raised under the command of Lieut-Col. Ibbotson Leonard and went to England and later France with that unit, but in France he was transferred to the 18th Battalion, which unit he was serving at the time of his death. He was made corporal in the trenches.
From the last letter received by Chief Aitken, written on April 18, it would appear that Corp. Aitken had returned to the trenches from the rest camp only a few days before he met a hero’s fate. In the letter Corp. Aitken says, “You would be glad to know that I have passed through safely so far.” And so far as his parents know he never suffered any sickness in his nearly two years of service.
Besides his parents, Corp. Aitken is survived by three brothers, Pte. Arthur Aitken, of the 241st Battalion (Kilties), not in England; John, of the Grand Trunk Railroad; and George, of the city fire department, and four sisters, Bessie, Irene, Evelyn and Hazel, all at home.
Corp. Aitken was born in London and educated in the public schools and, although he passed his entrance examination, he did not go the the Collegiate Institute. He was a well-known hockey player and was playing with the Western University team when the won the N.H.L. championship in 1914.
The death of their hero son was a terrible blow Chief and Mrs. Aitken. The latter for a time was prostrated, but the chief, who has many times faced death in his capacity as a fireman, concealed his grief. Herman Aitken was a young man of whom any mother might be proud. He was loving and kind to all, and was the soul of fair play in the sports he took part in.
When the members of the Irish Benevolent Society heard the sad news, their condolences and sincere sympathy poured into the bereaved couple. Chief Aitken has for many years been a prominent worker in the society, and his hear is chairman of the committee.
Mayor Stevenson and other prominent Londoners also expressed their deepest sorrow at the early death of this heroic young Canadian.
Source: Possibly London Free Press. Circa Mid-May 1917.