FORREST, Charles Barclay

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Wroxeter, Ontario
Original Unit
Regimental Number
Lance Corporal
Date of Death
Age at Death
34 years 4 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        3rd Canadian Infantry Division
                                             9th Infantry Brigade
                                             58th Battalion - Central Ontario
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps 
SERVICE NO:                   654770
RESIDENCE:                    Bluevale – Ontario 
DATE OF BIRTH:            June 20, 1883
                                             Bluevale - Morris Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           October 26, 1917                 34 years     4 months
MEMORIAL:                    Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres –
                                             West Vlaanderen – Belgium
                                             Panels 18-24 & 26-30
PARENT:                           Mrs. Annie Forrest – Bluevale – Ontario
Occupation:                        Farmer                                  Religion:     Presbyterian
Enlistment:                         Wroxeter – May 6, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age:                 32 years     10 months

Shortly after arriving overseas on November 11, 1916 Lance Corporal Forrest transfers to the 58th Battalion on 
November 30, 1916 at Dibgate – Kent. On December 1st he goes overseas into France and joins them in the field on January 4, 1917.
The opening day in the Canadian Corp plan to take Passchendaele began on October 26th. The Canadians were facing two foes. One was the enemy and the other was the battlefield conditions. The battlefield in from the Canadians was a swamp of mud that if a man stopped or paused while advancing might very well be sucked to his death in the mud. There was no drainage and the mud in places was waist deep.
Lance Corporal Forrest was killed in action while with his unit during operations near Passchendaele.
The advance began at 5:40 am and the 3rd Division moved along what once was the Gravenstafel-Passchendaele road toward the Bellevue Spur. They had to advance in the mud which in places was waist deep but still overran the forward enemy positions. It was about this time the enemy brought his artillery to bear on the Canadians which slowed their advance even more. The 3rd Division held onto their gains for a period of time, but the fierceness of the enemy barrage forced a withdraw. The Canadians then dug in as best they could and waited for the next advance. The 3rd Division was not able to achieve their objectives but still managed to advance about 1,000 yards.
The losses for the day were 2,900 with 600 men being killed.
With winds from the south and 10 mph the Battalion standing under heavy falling rain the artillery and the advance began at 5:40 am with the 58th/43rd advancing followed by the 52nd in support and 116th in reserve.
Enemy artillery units replied immediately causing casualties. When the Brigade artillery lifted it was noticed the advance was slower on the left than the right and the barrage was to a depth of 300 yards. This caused casualties within the advance but continued forward. They captured “pill boxes” at Lamkerk and Dad Trench and it was here they came under heavy enemy machine-gun fire from the enemy trenches and from enfilade machine gun fire from Bellevue Farm to the left of the front.
More heavy machine gun fire came from Crest Farm causing the men to find cover in shell holes and this was followed by bloody, severe and heavy fighting for Contour Trench. Then at 2:30 pm 64 enemy soldiers stood up and surrendered. Following that the Battalion was able to gain control of the enemy trenches.
During the advance and the fight that followed the casualties suffered were severe.
On the night of the 26th machine gun posts were established in front of Contour Trench and the enemy made no attempt to counter attack for their lost ground.
The Battalion casualties out of 500 who began the advance were 303 men killed, wounded or missing for a casualty rate of 61%.