DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
Canadian Corps of Engineers
3rd Tunnelling Company
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 503000
RESIDENCE: Goderich - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: March 26, 1890
Portsmouth – Hampshire - England
DATE OF DEATH: July 27, 1916 26 years 4 months
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
PARENTS: Mr. Thomas Redfern - Goderich
Occupation: Carpenter Religion: Church of England
Enlistment: February 11, 1916 – London
Enlistment Age: 25 years 10 months
He left Canada for England on the S.S. Metagama and arrived overseas on March 26, 1916. He transferred to the 3rd Tunneling Company and went into France on July 3, 1916 and joins his unit in the field July 9, 1916.
Canada’s tunnelling units were occupied in offensive/defensive mining which involved the placing and maintaining of mines under enemy lines, as well as other underground work as the construction of deep dugout for troops, digging subways, saps (narrow trenches approaching enemy trenches) and underground chambers for Signallers and Medical Personnel.
The 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company was established st St Marie Cappel in January 1916. In early 1916 they were at the Bluff and then into summer they were at Hill 60. The British began the underground work and when the Canadians relieved them in April 1916 and they finished the access gallery (Berlin Tunnel) and this led to two chambers (Hill 60A) beneath Hill 60 and (Hill 60B) beneath the Caterpillar. Hill 60 A was to be charged with explosives in July 1916.
However, during the evening of July 25th the enemy blew a mine in an old gallery after they were heard working near Trench 29. This caused considerable movement at Hill 60, which was located at Zillebeke in Belgium.
Powder was then placed by the Canadians in an enemy gallery and following this the 3rd Battalion – Toronto Regiment replaced the 8th Regiment – Winnipeg Rifles on the right.
At 7:45 am on the morning of July 27th the enemy blew another mine and this explosion trapped five men.
One man was killed and it is believed that this man was Sapper Redfern and his remains were never found, while four men were rescued but lost their lives shortly after this following a gas attack by the enemy.