Two Men. Two Scouts. One Raid.

On the night of July 26/27 men of the 18th Battalion carried out a “minor trench raid”. The weather was “Fine but dull”[i] on that day. In that raid were two men, originals with the Battalion, who both have quite different stories. Private Forrester Private Alfred Forrester, reg. no. 53648[ii] war service started out rather... Continue Reading →

A “Soldier of Fortune” Returns…

Private Gordon Wellington Wilder, regimental no. 54265[i] of the 18th Battalion, CEF is an enigma. From his attestation papers on his enlistment he was a 30-year old Anglo-Irish British subject that indicated prior military experience with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and had served 2-years in the Sudan; 3-years in South Africa; and 13-months in China.... Continue Reading →

Remembering my Great-Grandfather, and the Battle of Vimy Ridge

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100 years ago today, my great-grandfather, Russell Emerson Poste, joined 100,000 other Canadians in capturing Vimy Ridge.

Early in the morning on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began. For the first time in the First World War, all four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield. They progressed quickly, and by April 12, the entire ridge was under Allied control. With the capture of Hill 145, the highest feature on the ridge, the operation was considered a resounding success. The ridge remained in Allied hands for the duration of the war. The victory at Vimy Ridge did not come without cost: Canadian casualties reached 10,602, of which 3,598 were killed.

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Russell Emerson Poste had enlisted in the 18th Western Ontario Battalion when he was only 17 years old. He fought in the trenches alongside his brothers, Ernest and Arthur. Unlike so many, all three came…

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Poetry and Regret

Some time after the Armistice in 1918 and July 1921 a former private of the 18th Battalion wrote a poem and published it in pamphlet form. It is now an obscure document and would be lost to history save for the work of Canadiana Online. Hidden, waiting to be found was the pamphlet with its... Continue Reading →

“We Kingsville boys…”

A letter published in the November 4, 1915, edition of the Kingsville Reporter relates some of the experiences of Private "Harry" Sirverns, late of Kingsville, Ontario. The letter covers the early experiences of the 18th Battalion as it goes into the line and furnishes another lens from a foot soldier of the war from his... Continue Reading →

“Scouts should be picked men…”

On August 4, 1915, the London Advertiser published a picture on page 3. In this picture was the image of seventeen young men who were scouts for the 18th Battalion. The photograph appears to be taken in England as the Battalion was in training at West Sandling, near Hythe, Kent. In this picturesque and bucolic... Continue Reading →

The War Begins

The pace in rural Ontario was slower than the cities. An illustration of this was the manner in which the printer media could inform its readers of significant events. The First World War started on August 4, 1914, and the Vancouver Daily Province newspaper declared, “Britain and Germany Now at War” on that very date.... Continue Reading →

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