Source: October 1918 casualty.
William Crowley, Service Number 769411
On New Year’s Eve, 1915, a 21-year-old farmer named William Crowley left his home in Newtonbrook, Ontario and enlisted as a soldier in Canada’s war effort. Pte Crowley was attached to the 18th Battalion and spent the next seven months training in Canada.
He left Halifax on August 7, 1916 and arrived eleven days later in Liverpool, England. He spent the next four months training in England. By February 1917, Pte Crowley joined the 18th Battalion in the field.
On Nov. 8 and 9th, the 18th Battalion was holding the front line in Potijze, Belgium. The Battalion War Diary notes that they were able to “hold this part of the line in the most severe conditions possible”. The diary further states that “mud and water being waist deep in places”. During this battle, Pte Crowley sustained a shrapnel wound to his head and left forearm.
He spent the next two months in hospital in Liverpool, England and healed well from his wounds. On January 21, 1918, he was declared fit for duty. Pte Crowley was attached to the Western Ontario Regimental Depot in Bramshott until September 1918.
On September 9, he arrived at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp in Etaples, France. Pte Crowley re-joined the 18th Battalion in the field on September 14, 1918.
Tragically, he was killed in action at the Battle of Iwuy, France on October 10, 1918. His record notes that he was “instantly killed by an enemy shell in the railway cutting near Iwuy”. Pte Crowley is buried at the Niagara Cemetery, near Iwuy. Mourned by his family, the personal inscription on his headstone reads “One of the best in life”.
By Jill Campbell