BROMBLEY, Charles Edward
NAME: BROMBLEY Charles Edward stone
DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654260
RESIDENCE: Londesborough – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: July 12, 1894
Hullett Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 26, 1917 23 years 3 months
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres –
West Vlaandaren – Belgium
Panel 18-24 & 26-30
PARENTS: Mr. William and Elizabeth Brombley – Londesborough - Ontario
Occupation: Farmer. Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Blyth – January 18, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 21 years 6 months
Private Brombley in late December 1916 transferred to the 58th Battalion and was into France in two days. However, he did not join his unit already in the field until December 22, 1916.
October 26th, was the beginning of the fight to take Passchendaele from the enemy and the Canadian Corps was ready. However, the battlefield conditions would be a battle in itself in reaching the enemy. The ground over which the Canadians would have to pass over was filled with shell holes full of water, thousands of rotting corpses and mud that was waist deep that if a man stopped or paused could lose his life to the mud instead of the enemy.
In addition, the advance would be slow because of the conditions and because of what a soldier would be carrying. He had his rifle, ammunition, shovel, rations, water and other necessary items for survival.
First reports received stated Private Brombley was missing, but in fact he lost his life in action at Passchendaele.
In the early morning hours of October 26, 1917, the 3rd Division began their advance toward Passchendaele in the thick and sticky mud passing over what was left of the Gravenstafel-Passchendaele road toward the Bellevue Spur. The advance was slow and hard because in places the mud was waist deep but still they overran the forward enemy positions. However, the German reply was a deadly artillery barrage which further slowed the advance. The Canadians tried holding onto their gains but were forced to withdraw. They then began to find shelter wherever they could and wait for the next advance. The 3rd Division was not able to achieve its objectives and were only able to advance 1,000 yards.
The casualties were 2,900 with 600 men being killed.
The Battalion was at Wieltje Degout with south winds at 10 mph, under heavy rain in the morning and heavy cloud all day.
The artillery began and at 5:40 am the 58th Battalion / 43rd Battalion attacked with the 52nd Battalion supporting and the 116th Battalion in reserve.
Enemy artillery replied causing casualties and when the Battalion artillery lifted it was seen to be advancing slower on the right than the left distributed to a depth of 300 yards and this caused casualties within the assaulting waves. The advance continued and with the capture of enemy “pill boxes” and Lamkerk and Dad Trench. The advance came under heavy enemy machine-gun fire from enemy trenches along with enfilade machine-gun fire from Bellevue Farm to the left of the Battalion front.
More heavy enemy fire came from Crest Farm causing the men to try and find cover in shell holes and this was followed by a heavy, severe and bloody fight for Contour Trench. At 2:30 pm 64 Germans stood up and surrendered. Following this control of the enemy trenches took place.
During the advance and during the following battle the casualties taken were severe.
On the night of the 26th machine-gun posts were established in front of Contour Trench and the enemy made no effort to recapture any of its lost ground.
As the day came to a close 303 men were killed, wounded or missing. Casualties stood at 61%.