Source: Undated London Free Press article entitled “Fourteen Heroes Came Home To-Day” sourced from @LdnOntWW1 Twitter feed.
Father to Adam and Watson (402509). Adam (53911) served in the 18th with his father. All survived the war.
FOURTEEN HEROES CAME HOME TO-DAY[i]
Pte. John Nutkins[ii] Says the Huns Had a “Pick” on 5th C.M.R.
“The Fritzes seemed to have a pick on the 5th C.M.R.’s,” declared Pte. John Nutkins, 836 Queen’s avenue, who returned with 13 other invalided soldiers to-day. Pte. Nutkins was wounded a couple of times in the sin and in the knee while fighting with the 5th C.M.R.’s at Hill 60 during July of this year. He cannot remember the exact date, as his wounds were followed by pneumonia and high fever in Boulogne Hospital, during which his memory was a blank.
As an evidence of the “pick” the Germans had on his unit, Pte. Nutkins declared that on June 3 of this year the 5th went into action some 1,000 strong. After the engagement only 57 answered the roll call, he said. “However, we got a lot of them,” he added with satisfaction[iii].
Five Londoners, including Pte. Nutkins, were in the party, which was met at the depot by representatives of the Returned Soldiers’ Association, of this city and the 118th Battalion Band. The returned men were escorted to the Tecumseh House[iv], where a dinner was tendered them.
Pte. H. Olney[v], 63 High street, who went overseas with the first contingent detachment from the Army Service Corps, was one of the party. He enlisted here in September, 1914, and has been hard at work in France, practically ever since.
J.H. Pollard[vi], 349 Wortley road, was another man whom illness caused to be invalided home. He went overseas with the 91st Battalion.
H.R. Davidson[vii], 75 George street, was wounded in the leg on September 15 of this year during the Somme Drive. He went overseas with the 70th Battalion, being later transferred to the 18th. He describes conditions on the Somme as “very good under the circumstances.”
George Wales[viii], Woodstock, a member of the 71st Battalion, who was later transferred to the 51st, was invalided home from England on account of rheumatism.
- Fitzell[ix], of Kincardine, was a member of the original 18th Battalion. He was wounded by shrapnel in the back and knee in the Ypres salient on July 19 of this year.
J.A. Humphries [Humphreys][x], of Appin, was another one of the party who “got his” at Hill 60. He was wounded in the back by shrapnel while in the trenches on July 8, 1916. He went overseas with the 33rd Battalion, being transferred to the 2nd Battalion on arrival in England.
Another Kincardine man, J.B. Boyer[xi], a member of the original 18th, was sent home on account of a partial fracture of the knee.
W.H. Ward[xii], of 168 Colborne street, Chatham, was twice wounded. He was serving with the 4th Battalion, with which he enlisted at Acton, Ont., when wounded for the first time at Ypres. That was in April 1915. He was hit in the jaw by a rifle bullet. The second wound was received on March 10, 1916, in front of Messines, when a rifle grenade burst near him and a portion hit him in the thigh.
- Reid[xiii], of St. Thomas, 31 Marion street, St. Thomas, enlisted in the 91st. He was invalided from England owing to illness.
- [Oswald] Baker[xiv], of St. Thomas, was buried by a shell and wounded in the back between Ypres and Kemmel in September, 1915. He went overseas with the 91st, but was later transferred to the 18th.
Sleeping in the trenches produced sciatic fever for A. White[xv] of Petrolia, and this resulted in partial blindness, necessitating his being invalided home. He enlisted in the 70th Battalion, but was transferred in England to the 39th.
Shell shock brought on illness which caused H.J. Elliot[xvi], of Fingal, a member of the 2nd Pioneers, to be invalided home.
[i] With special thanks to the web sites of “Elgin County & Great War” and “Doing Our Bit” for having the nominal rolls available. A special note to Doing Our Bit for having links to almost every relevant nominal roll involving units of the C.E.F.
[ii] Nutkins, John Ash, reg. no. 124537.
[iii] It is believed that the action referred to occurred during the day and night of June 2 and the morning hours of June 3 and is described in detail in the War Diary of the 5th C.M.R. See pages 3 to 10 of the War Diary for more detail. The casualty figures are more accurate. Private Nutkins may be referring to the number of soldiers remaining from his Company (typically 250 soldiers at full strength) and not the entire battalion.
[iv] The Tecumseh House was a popular hotel in London. See James Stewart Reaney’s article My London: if these walls could have talked… for more information.
[v] Olney, Henry James, reg. no. 30759.
[vi] Possibly Pollard, Jonathan Hollingsworth, reg. no. 189855.
[vii] Davidson, Henry Robinson, reg. no. 124022. This soldier was released from service for being overage and was suffering from previous medical conditions.
[viii] Wales, George Frederick, reg. no. 126715.
[ix] Fitzell, Levi, reg. no. 53912. His son, Adam, reg. no. 53911 also served in the 18th. They both enlisted on the same day and have consecutive regimental numbers. His son, Watson, reg. no. 402509, also served in the C.E.F. They all survived.
[x] Humphreys, Alexander James, reg. no. 401066. This soldier suffered from a severe case of “shell shock”.
[xi] Boyer, Joseph Blair, reg. no. 54083.
[xii] Ward, William Henry, reg. no. 11158.
[xiii] Reid, Samuel, reg. no. 190047.
[xiv] This soldier is not found at this time. The 91st Battalion Nominal roll lists no “D.Baker.”
[xv] White, Alexander, reg. no. 124224.
[xvi] Elliott, Herbert John, reg. no. 166244. Note that the nominal roll for the 2nd Pioneers lists his reg. no. as 166247.