Fraser, Hugh: Service no. 412730


Digitized Service Record

Source: September 1916 K.I.A.


This soldier enlisted with the 39th Battalion at Lindsay, Ontario on March 2, 1915, indicating his trade as a rigger. He was almost 31-years-old and was born in Singapore.

He sailed for England on June 24, 1915, with his unit and landed in England on July 3, 1915. He was transferred to the 18th Battalion while at Shorncliffe on September 10, 1915, just as the Battalion was preparing for active service on the Continent.

He served with the Battalion from that date, initially in Belgium until September of 1916, when the Battalion moved to the Somme for operations in that theatre.

He went missing during the attack on Courcelette and was later determined to have been killed in action. As his body was never positively identified he is memorialized at the Vimy Monument.

“Previously reported missing, now killed in Action.”
This letter was in this soldier’s service file. The reason for its placement here is unknown. Rough draft transcription below.

6 Oct 1915

Dear Mother,

I hope these few lines will find you and Donald in the best of health as it leaves me at present. No doubt Mother you will be surprised to learn that I am somewhere in Belgium and in fact I am writing you this letter in the firing line of trenches for we have been in the first line of trenches for a week but we are going out tomorrow night at 8 p.m. for a weeks rest and wash up for we badly need it.

We have been very lucky in the trenches so far we have only had seven casualties – killed and wounded in a weeks time so that is not bad but bad enough. Dear Mother I came over from Canada with the 39th Batt. and landed at Plymouth on the 2nd of July we were stationed just outside of Folkestone. We were told when we landed that we would all get a pass to go home before the front well there was a lot [of them who ] got them I tried twice to get one but failed them there was an order came out that we had to go to a town called Lydd for shooting practice we went to Lydd came back there there was a order that the Company that I belong to was to Reinforce that Batt. going to the 18th Batt. So this is my address Pte. Hugh Fraser 412730 B. Coy. 2nd Contingent 4th Brigade Brigade. War P.O. London the erason for my not writing since I joined last March was to come home unaware in anyone one and be a surprise to you but I guess that is all over now

Dear Mother this is our first experience in the Firing line as we only landed in France on the 15th Sept then we had to come through France nearly all on foot but we will be glad when we get out of the trenches if it is only for the wash and change of clothes.

Dear Mother how is my brother Donald getting along he must be a big fellow by this time and Please tell my cousins all of them especially Miss Annie Willcox that I was asking for them all and don’t forget my Uncle Bill. Tell Annie to write if she will oblige and tell Donald to let me know all the news that he can about my Relatives.

Mother I had a letter from Miss McClure before that I left Canada telling me that you had changed your address well Mother I may tell you that in my papers you are my next of Kin and the address in the papers is this Hugh Fraser 30. Years born in Singapore. Inda Rigger by trade. Address 49 Dun St Toronto. Can Next of kin. Mother Mrs. A. Fraser 21 King St. Mile End. Glasgow. Scotland.

Mother it might be handy to keep all this letter in case any thing goes wrong because we never can tell The reason for that Singapore Ind is this. I tried to join the First Contingent but my eyes failed. So the next time I told them I was born in the Service and they jumped at me so that is the Reason for the lie and it got me in the service to the other side I would not be in it. I think I will draw to a close write soon But Please don’t Scold

I remain

Your son


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