Next of Kin: Charles Henry and Jane (Jennie) Brimicombe, Goderich, Ontario
Personal Details: 5 ft. 10 ½ in., 158 lbs., medium complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, Church of England
Reginald “Samuel” Brimicombe was the youngest of six children born to Charles and Jennie Brimicombe, who farmed in Goderich Township. Sam excelled at school, and was attending Goderich Collegiate Institute when he enlisted with the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was athletic, enjoyed dramatic acting, and was an elected councillor in the G.C.I. Literary Society.
Sam’s older brother Harry also enlisted with the Canadian Mounted Rifles, and together the brothers sailed for England on October 25, 1916 aboard the S.S. Mauretania. Upon their arrival at Shorncliffe on October 31st, they were quickly transferred to the Fort Garry Horse Reserve Regiment, and then to the 11th Battalion. On Valentine’s Day, 1917, the brothers were moved to the 27th Battalion, and proceeded to France where they joined their unit in the field on February 20th.
By August 1917, the 27th Battalion found themselves near the coal mining town of Lens. Under the command of Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, Canadian forces were preparing for a major battle to capture a strategic elevation, known as Hill 70, on the outskirts of the town. Fighting began on August 15th, with the Canadians capturing the heights and repelling numerous German counter attacks in the days that followed.
An attack on Lens was planned for August 21st in an attempt to force the Germans to withdraw their troops from the heavily fortified town. It was to be a night attack and the battle would be in a destroyed town with an enemy who knew what was coming. Zero hour was set for 4:35 am under fair weather. The 27th Battalion was in position in the front line of Chicory Trench, with the 29th Battalion on their left and the 50th Battalion on their right. The Companies of the 27th were assembled in fighting formation - “A” on the right, “B” in the centre, and “C” on the left, with “D” in support. At zero hour all companies advanced, with “B” held up by an enemy concrete strongpoint while the others got through. Severe hand to hand fighting took place all day, although the official war diary states “Spirit of Officers and Men superb.” The enemy tried counter attacking a number of times but each time they were thrown back. At noon the enemy was successful in advancing into a trench being held by the 29th Battalion on the left, and because of this “C” Company had to withdraw so they could keep in touch with the rest of the 27th. At dusk the battalion made a well-planned and careful withdrawal from the battlefield.
On this day 35 men were killed in action, 248 were wounded and 14 were listed as missing. It was during this bloody and bitter day of fighting that Private Brimicombe fell in battle. His body was never found. Samuel Brimicombe is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.