Humphreys, John: Service no. 413050

CVWM Page

Source:  Remembering the Great War by the WR Record

Digitized Service Record

Find-A-Grave

Humphreys, John: Service no. 413050. Source: https://snake43.webs.com/ballymenacanadiansak.htm

413050 Private John Humphreys enlisted on the 24 March 1915 at Lindsay, Ontario and was to serve in the 39th and 18th Battalions. He said he was an Anglican, single and a concrete finisher by trade. He indicated that he was born on the 24 March 1887 (local records say 1 February 1887), and he was reported to be 5′ 7″ tall and with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. His file shows he had a brother, B Humphreys, living in Toronto, but he named his mother, Mrs Jane Humphreys, Layde, Cushendall, as his next of kin.

Duncan Humphreys, a farmer of Layde, Cushendall, had married Jane McLarty sic (or McClarty), also of Layde in Cushendall Parish Church on the 22 December 1884. The 1901 census records them living at Layde. John & Mary McClarty (90) appear to be the householders, and Duncan (41) and Jane (41) shared the property with them. The latter couple listed their children present on the day of the census: John (14 – born 1 February 1887), Bernard (12 – born 14 April 1889), James (10 – born 21 January 1891), Lizzie (8 born 22 August 1893), Denis (5 – born 16 July 1896) and Frederick (1 – born 3 January 1900). The family do not appear to be listed in the 1911 Irish census return, though Elizabeth may have been working for the Dobbs family.

John Humphreys left Canada on the 17 June 1915 aboard the SS Missanabie and went to Shorncliffe Camp. He was in the Central Military Hospital, Shorncliffe from 7 September 1915 and underwent surgery for appendicitis. Thereafter he was cared for by the Charing VAD until his release to light duties. He went to France after the 20 January 1916 and wasn’t with his unit, ‘C’ Company, 18th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, until the 4 February 1916. He was killed in action about four months later on the 13th May 1916. The Circumstances of Death Register says, ‘He was with two comrades sitting in the bay of a trench in front of St Eloi, about one am on May 13th, 1916, when a shell burst amongst them instantly killing Private Humphreys and one other.’

His death came shortly after that of his brother Denis. 1478 Rifleman Denis Humphreys, 8th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 24th March 1916.

Source

Summary of Service for Private John Humphreys, reg. no. 413050

DateEventRemarks
March 24, 1887BornBorn at Cushendall, Antrim, Ireland to Mr. and Mrs. Jane Humphreys.
March 24, 1915EnlistsEnlists with the 39th Battalion at Lindsay, Ontario. He is a 28-year-old concrete finisher standing 5’7”. He has listed his mother as his next-of-kin and she resides at Layde Cushen Dali, Antrim, Ireland.[i] He has no prior military experience and has listed his religion as Church of England. He is recorded having a dark complexion, hazel eyes, dark brown hair and a scar on the left ear. He weights 138 pounds. He has no present address. He also notes that a Mrs. Haire at 132 Lisgar Street, Toronto, Ontario is to be notified re. authorizing letter dated June 5, 1915. He also includes his brother, B. Humphreys at the same address, authorizing letter dated June 20, 1916.
Approx. June 1915Assigned PayAssigns $10.00 per month to this mother. Assigned pay documents missing. Taken from pay ledger.
July 3, 1915Arrives England 
August 2, 1915Forfeits PayForfeits 2-day’s pay. No reason given. Mostly likely AWL.
September 7, 1915AdmittedAdmitted Central Military Hospital, Shorncliffe for appendicitis.
September 21, 1915TransferredTransferred to Charing.
October 26, 1915Discharged and TransferredDischarged from Central Military Hospital, Shorncliffe. On this day is transferred to the 18th Battalion.
January 21, 1916ArrivesArrives Canadian Base Deport, Etaples, France and TOS with 18th Battalion.
February 2, 1916Proceed to Join Unit 
February 4, 1916Joins UnitJoins 18th Battalion in the field.   The Battalion is in Brigade Reserve at RIDGEWOOD and the War Diary notes, “-Ditto- [Routine] 2 other ranks admitted to hospital. 70 reinforcements arrived.”
May 12/13, 1916Killed in Action.Initial report indicated he was killed in action May 12 but subsequent communication indicated he was killed at 1:00 AM May 13, 1916.   The Battalion had entered to the line on May 9k 1916 at 8:30 AM relieving the 29th Battalion. It served in this area of trenches 15 to 19 inclusive and it was noted that on May 12 to other ranks were killed in action. The War Diary entry for the 13th only indicates 4 other ranks wounded.   His Circumstances of Death Card, however, gives a more complete telling of his death, “He was with two comrades sitting in the bay of a trench in front of St. Eloi, about one A.M. on May 13, 1916, when a shell burst amongst them instantly killing Private Humphreys and one other.”   Note that there is a blog post specifically addressing this incident.
On or About May 15, 1916InterredBuried at Voormezeele Enclosure at grave XXX. His epitaph states HIS SERVANT SHALL SERVE HIM AND THEY SHALL SEE HIS FACE REV. 22. 3 & 4.   He is buried with 13 other members of the 18th Battalion.
April 12, 1920Memorial Scroll DespatchedMemorial Scroll dispatched to his mother, Jane Humphreys at Layde, Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland. Reference no. 23051.
September 23, 1920Memorial Cross DespatchedMemorial Cross dispatched to his mother, Jane Humphreys at Layde, Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland. Reference no. C24160a.
December 23, 1921Memorial Plague DespatchedMemorial Plague dispatched to his mother, Jane Humphreys at Layde, Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland. Reference no. p22170.
June 14, 1922B Page DespatchedB. Page despatched, no. A30754.

Acronyms

AWLAbsent Without Leave: Generally, a soldier would be deducted 1-days pay for every day absent. In some cases, the soldier would be confined to barracks. Sometimes it was a combination of both.
A ClassificationMedical Board Classification that determined your fitness for duty. A1, A2, A3 and A4 were assigned to different units with the expectation that these men would be able to serve with active combat units. See this link for more information.
B ClassificationMedical Board Classification that determined your fitness for duty. B1, B2, and B3 were assigned to different service units such as railway and forestry corps. See this link for more information.
D ClassificationSee this link for more information.
CAMCCanadian Army Medical Corp
CBConfined to Barracks: a punishment for minor infractions.
CCDCasualty Convalescent Depot: a depot at a base where men, in their final stages of convalescing, would be prepared for duty depending on their rating.
CCHCasualty Clearing Hospital
CCRCCanadian Corps Reserve Camp
CCSCasualty Clearing Station: this facility was attached to rail transportation from the front to hospitals on the coast of France
CDCCanadian Dispatch Camp
CFACanadian Field Ambulance/Canadian Field Artillery. Most common usage would be Canadian Field Ambulance.
DAHDisorderly Action of the Heart
DRSDivisional Rest Station
GSWGun Shot Wound – this was a generic term for all projectile penetrating wounds.
In the FieldThis term relates to a soldier arriving at an active-duty unit after transporting from England, to France, and then to his duty assignment. The routing varied from soldier to soldier and could take 2-3 days to several months.
MDMilitary District
PUOPyrexia of Unknown Origin: This was a term used for any illness that could not clearly be identified and typically was related to influenza symptoms.
SOSStruck Off Strength
TOSTaken On Strength
CAMCCanadian Army Medical Corp
CCHCasualty Clearing Hospital
CFACanadian Field Ambulance
DRSDivisional Rest Station
GSWGun Shot Wound – this was a generic term for all projectile penetrating wounds.
MDMilitary District
PUOPyrexia of Unknown Origin
SOSStruck Off Strength
TOSTaken On Strength
WORDWestern Ontario Regimental Depot

[i] In a later document the address is recorded as Layde, Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland.

31829_B016693-01204
“Killed in Action” He was with two comrades sitting in the bay of a trench in front of St. Eloi about 1 a.m. May 13, 1916, when a shell burst amongst them instantly killing Pte. Humphreys and one other.

4 thoughts on “Humphreys, John: Service no. 413050

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to collect all of these records. In the picture, the man on the right is his brother Denis Humphreys, who served with the Royal Irish Rifles. John is on the left. His sister, Elizabeth is my great grandmother.

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