DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
3rd Infantry Brigade
15th Battalion - 48th Highlanders of Canada
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 27315
DATE OF BIRTH: September 5, 1887
Walkerton – County of Bruce – Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: April 24, 1915 27 years 7 months
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ieper –
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
Panel 18-24 & Panel 26-30
BROTHER: Harry Bunston – Kinistino – Saskatchewan
SISTER: Hattie Reaburn – Woodstock - Ontario
Occupation: Machinist Religion: Wesleyan
Enlistment: Valcartier – September 18, 1914
Enlistment Age: 27 years
Private Bunston is listed on the Brussels cenotaph. The only connection to Huron County we have is that his sister Laurette married William Leatherdale who resided in Brussels.
Private Bunston sailed from Canada on October 3, 1914 and arrived in Engand in mid October of 1914. At some point either in late 1914 or early 1915 Private Bunston went overseas into France and joined his unit already in the field.
The 1st Canadian Division had arrived in France in near the end of February and were assigned the front lines near Armentieres and it was here the Canadians took their first casualties from the guns of enemy snipers. Then in the middle of April they relieved the French. By April 22nd the Canadian front ran from the Ypres-Poelcappelle road to the Grafenstavel-Passschendaele road. April 23rd was a quiet day for the Canadians but the next day the enemy released more gas onto the Canadian positions and the 15th Battalion line collapsed and broke. The German forces attacked through the open gap at attacked St. Julien and the Canadians on the Grafenstavel Ridge. At the end of April 24th St. Julien had fallen and seven out of a dozen Canadian battalions were mostly annihiliated.
On this day, April 24th, the weather was fine and warm.
At 05:30 hours the enemy began a very heavy barrage onto the original front lines of the Brigade. This barrage was then followed by an assault using gas and after resisting strongly the Brigade was forced to move back. Each time the Brigade retired and set up new positions they were forced back again due to the extreme enemy shelling coming down on them.
The men of the 15th Battalion were literally blown from their positions time and time again.
The enemy then attacked in very heavy strength with infantry and cavalry and this resulted in extreme casualties taken by the 15th Battalion.
On April 25th the Battalion was in the reserve trenches to the noth of Ypres. On April 26th the Battalion was relieved and they marched to Tranport between Vlamertingue and Ypres. At 08:00 hours they marched to take up reserve positions at La Brique. Then at 2:30 pm the Battalion took up a line of trenches at Wieltje. On April 27th the enemy shelled Wieltje and the surrounding trenches. During this day the Battalion was relieved from their positions in the trenches and marched to Transport.
The Battalion diaries state that between April 22nd to April 24th the Battalion losses were staggering. Men killed numbered 17, men wounded numbered 24 and the men missing numbered 650.
On April 28th the Battalion was in a position on the main road between Ypres and Poperinghe and on this day the enemy artillery was active. On April 29th it was reported that enemy activity of all kinds was very quiet.
We must mention how poor his service file is. It does not tell us what took place in England until the day he lost his life on the field of battle. From all indications to us we believe that Private Bunston lost his life during the fighting that took place on April 24th.