DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
12th Infantry Brigade
85th Battalion - Nova Scotia Highlanders
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 3130151
RESIDENCE: Brussels – Ontario.
DATE OF BIRTH: March 5, 1884
Seaforth – McKillop / Tuckersmith Townships – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: September 2, 1918 34 years – 6 months
CEMETERY: Dury Mill British Cemetery – Dury –
Pas de Calais – France
I A 25
PARENTS: Mr. Alexander & Susan Barron – Brussels
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Swift Current – Saskatchewan – October 26, 1917
Enlistment Age: 33 years – 7 months
Archibald was residing in Dunhelm, Saskatchewan and he joined the 1st Depot Battalion Western Ontario Regiment on January 3, 1918. He had been drafted under the Military Services Act of 1917.
Private Barron embarked from Canada on the S.S. Cretic on February 21, 1918 and arrived in England on March 4, 1918. Private Barron once in England transferredto the 18th Battalion and went into France on August 20, 1918, moves to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on August 23, 1918. He then is dispatched to the 85th Battalion and joins his unit in the field on August 27, 1918.
The objective was to break through the Drocourt-Queant lines and capture and consolidate the Sunken Road followed by the establishment of outposts.
The Canadian Corps had been successful at Amiens but now their objective was to advance and breakthrough the well protected enemy defences on the north joint of the Hindenburg Line. The first advance was August 26, 1918, then August 27th, August 28th, August 29th, August 31st and then September 1st. While this battle was occurring the 4th Division was to advance on September 2, 1918 against the Drocourt Queant Line at Dury. When they advanced they were able to reach Dury village but the Germans were still there fighting. South of the village the 75th, 87th, 38th & 85th Battalions were being cut down by the enemy fire.It was not at all successful and casualties were heavy.
5:00 am was zero hour and “A & D” Companies as they advanced cleared the area of enemy machine gun posts which were 50 yards from where they began their advance and untouched by their own artillery barrage. In the first 300 yards the Battalion suffered 50% of the casualties for the whole advance. There were still enemy strong points to deal with defended by 88 men and 18 heavy machine-guns. Following severe fighting the first objective was taken at
06:16 hours. At this time “C” Company needed to be reinforced after taking heavy losses in the first part of the advance. Heavy enemy machine-gun fire was now being encountered from the front and from both flanks from enemy posts in the Mill and the Sunken Road. The Battalion could not gain the superiority with their firepower of rifles and Lewis guns and the call went out for the rifle grenades. “B” Company after being reinforced from the rear was then able to move and take their final objective on the Sunken Road.
Enemy enfilade fire was now so heavy and casualties were becoming so severe that the attacking wave was forced to reorganize in a communications trench. They then pushed forward and took the final objective and outposts were established forward on the Red Line at 09:30 hours. The enemy was holding a position about 100 yards ahead of the Red Line plus a portion of Dury. A heavy enemy barrage came down on our Red Line but there was no counter-attack. Heavy casualties were taken. The Battalion held the Red Line until 11:00 hours when they were relieved. And by 6:00 pm the whole Battalion had been relieved.
It was during this heavy fight where Private Barron lost his life from wounds to his chest from enemy machine-gun fire. He had just joined the 85th Battalion and it was his first time he had been on the front lines. He had been with his Battalion for six days.
On the very same day in another part of France the brother of Private Barron was wounded in battle but survived.