DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
10th Infantry Brigade
46th Battalion - Saskatchewan
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654352
RESIDENCE: Wingham – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: February 28, 1897
Southampton – Saugeen Township – County of Bruce - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: September 2, 1918 21 years 6 months
CEMETERY: Dury Mill British Cemetery – Dury –
Pas de Calais – France
II D 28
PARENT: Mr. William Kewenzie – Southampton - Ontario
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: January 29, 1916 – Wingham – into the 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 18 years 11 months
Following the departure of the 161st Battalion from Canada and their arrival in England on November 11, 1916 the Battalion was based at Witley Camp – Surrey.
Private Kewenzie was first reported missing on September 2, 1918 but this was later changed to killed in action. He had been mortally wounded in the head from enemy shrapnel and died immediately.
On January 24, 1917, he is Taken off Strength of the 161st and transfers to the 107th Battalion at Witley Camp - Surrey. Then on February 3rd, he transfers to the 128th Battalion. From there he transfers to the 19th Reserve Battalion on April 1st. Then on April 19th he is Taken on Strength by the 46th Saskatchewan Battalion and proceeds overseas into France on February 28, 1917
The Battle of Arras in 1918 marked the beginning of the drive to break the Hindenburg Line and achieve the
breakthrough that if successful would mean the defeat of Germany. During the Battle of the Scarpe the 46th Battalion moved into support positions on August 28, 1918 and the strength was listed as 1,097 men of all ranks.
The Drocourt-Queant Line represented the west edge of the Hindenburg Line and the Canadian 1st and 4th Divisions, took the line and then advanced to the west bank of the Canal du Nord. The 46th Battalion had attacked on September 2, 1918 and took the village of Dury and then held off a German counter-attack. The Battalion took 320 casualties or 30% of their strength.
Late in the evening of September 1st and into the early hours of Sept 2nd there was some heavy enemy shelling. Zero hour was 05:00 am and the Division artillery barrage onto the enemy was excellent. At 08:20 am the Battalion had taken their objective. At 12:35 pm word was sent from “D” Company on the left that they had been forced to withdraw due to heavy casualties and enemy attacks. Shortly after “D” Company was ordered to retake their positions with the aid of one platoon from “B” Company. Shortly after “D” Company reported they had retaken their lost positions and the village was clear of the enemy.
In the early evening it was noticed that there were enemy parties of five men each coming over the skyline and appear to be occupying trenches and gun pits. Division artillery was notified and they immediately went into action.
From the research we did by looking at his military file, looking at the Battalion / Brigade diaries we do not know for certain if Private Kewenzie was killed in action on September 1st or September 2nd.
The 46th Battalion was in the field for 27 months and in that time period became known as the “Suicide Battalion”. Their casualties were 1,433 men killed and 3,484 men wounded for a casualty rate of 91.5%. The Battalion was awarded 16 battle honours.