Smith, William Ernest: Service no. 775571

Digitized Service Record

Source: Lori Oschefski post at the 18th Battalion Facebook Group.


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Prisoner of War at Passchendaele.

Sadly, this man perished when he fell 40 feet off a windmill fracturing his skull.

Smith, William Ernest: Service no. 775571. Via Find-A-Grave.

This man enlisted with the 126th Overseas Battalion at Brampton, Ontario on 12 January 1916. He was a farm labourer and had no prior military experience. He listed his guardian as the superintendent of the Barnardo Home at 15-52 St. Peter Street, Toronto, Ontario.

He was 23-years and 8-months old at attestation and stood 5’ 4.5” tall with a medium complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair. He was an adherent of the Church of England.

He assigned his pay to his wife, Mrs. Margaret Annie Smith (married 6 March 1916) of Caledon East, Ontario. He assigned $20.00 a month to her.

He had a clean service record with the 126th Battalion from January to August 1916 but he contracted influenza requiring hospitalization from 3 July 1916 to 6 July 1916 at the Niagara Camp Casualty Hospital.

Within the month his unit sailed for England on 14 August 1916 aboard the SS Empress of England arriving England 10-days later.

He was transferred to the 116th Reserve Battalion on 15 October 1916 at Bramshott Camp. He then was then sent to the Canadian Base Depot on 29 November 1916 and was recorded to have joined his new unit, the 18th Battalion, “in the field” on 3 December 1916.

He served with the 18th Battalion until he was sent to the 1st Army Rest Camp on 29 August 1917 and then was reported sick and sent to a Field Ambulance on 12 November 1917. On the same day his service record records him “Missing” and then a leger dated 22 January 1918 officially reported him a Prisoner of War at Limburg-A-Lan, Germany.

View of the Prison Camp at Limburg: This photograph provides a general overview of the prison camp at Limburg from a watch tower, showing the one-story wooden barracks, found in many west German prison facilities, which accommodated the prisoners. In the background is the twin-spired cathedral in Limburg, overlooking the Lahn River. Circa 1915. Source:

He did suffer from a social disease and was placed on pay stoppages from 15 January 1919 to 18 March 1919.

He was reported released on 4 December 1918 and was at No. 36 Camp, Ripon, England. He was repatriated as a former prisoner of war at Ripon and was eventually transferred to O Wing at Ripon, Western Ontario Regimental Depot.

He embarked on 25 June 1919 aboard the HM Tuscania.

He was discharged at Toronto, Ontario on 4 July 1919. He indicated that he planned to live at Caledon East, Ontario after his service.

It was recorded in his service file that his mailing address was no R.R. No. 1 Grand Valley, Ontario as of 4 March 1921.

He died due to a fall from a windmill from 40’ at Amaranth Township, Dufferin, Ontario and is buried at Caledon East Public Cemetery, Caledon East, Caledon, Peel, Ontario.


Orangeville Banner, Date: 14 Dec 1944, Page: 9, Column: 3, Type: Obituary

Orangeville Banner, December 14, 1944, WILLIAM E. SMITH:

William E. Smith, a well-known farmer of North Amaranth, died at his home on Saturday, Nov. 25th, from injuries received in falling from the ladder of his windmill five hours earlier. Mr. Smith was born in Birmingham, England, May 10th, 1892, and came to Canada in 1901. He spent four years at Huntsville, four years at Mono Mills and enlisted in the 126th Peel Infantry Battalion on Jan. 12th, 1916. He went overseas in August and landed in France on Nov. 5th of the same year and was in all the engagements in which the Canadians took part, including Vimy Ridge, and Passchendale, where he was buried alive, after which he was taken prisoner, and worked in a coal mine for one year in Germany, being released when the war ended. In November 1918, on returning to Canada, he bought a farm. lot 21, con. 9, Amaranth Township, where he lived for 23 years. He was a loving husband and kind father, a good neighbor, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.

His demise is mourned by his wife, five sons, Norman, serving in the R.C.A.F. at Yorkton, Sask., Russell, Donald, Kenneth, Freddie and one daughter, Sylvia, at home.

Mr. Smith was a member of Mono Mills Anglican Church, and had attended Campania United Church for years. There was a large attendance of relative and neighbors at the funeral, which was held from his late home on Thursday, Nov. 30th, to Caledon East Public Cemetery. Rev. E. Warren, of Laurel, conducted the services.

The pallbearers were Messrs. Geo. Finlay, Lorne Davis, Austin Walker, George Patton, Carrick Young and Wilfred Galbraith.

The floral tributes were – Pillow, Wife and Family; wreath, mother-in-law, Mrs. H. Atchison; spray, Mr. and Mrs. George Finlay and Family; wreath, Shelburne High School Staff and V. L. Society; wreath, United Church, Campania; spray, Teacher and Pupils of S.S. No. 8; wreath, Mr. and Mrs. Ken McKitrick and Family; basket, Oakley Galbraith, Glen Sproule, Allen Elgie, Ralph Davison, Meredith Newell, Kay Fewster, Marg. Allen, Marg. Davison, all school pals of Ken and Sylvia, son and daughter, who attended Shelburne High School.

The flower-bearers were Messrs. Stuart Baxendale, Ross Nurse, Wm. Finlay and Peter Goymour. – Star and Vidette.

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