DIVISIONAL UNIT: 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
6th Infantry Brigade
31st Battalion - Calgary
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654389
RESIDENCE: Brussels – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: January 13, 1879
Brussels - Grey Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: June 25, 1918 39 years 5 months
MEMORIAL: Vimy Memorial – Vimy –
Pas de Calais - France
PARENT: Mrs. Alexina Buchanan Kerr – Brussels – Ontario
Occupation: Gentleman Religion: Church of England
Enlistment: Brussels – February 1, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 37 years 1 month
After the arrival of the 161st Battalion in England on November 11, 1916 the 161st was located at Witley Camp – Surrey. On February 23, 1918, the 161st Battalion was Struck off Strength after being absorbed in to 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion.
On May 10, 1918 Private Kerr was Struck off Strength of the 4 Canadian Reserve Battalion and proceeded overseas into France as part of the 18th Battalion on May 11, 1918. He was then Struck off Strength from the 18th Battalion and transferred to the 31st Battalion on June 6, 1918 and joined them in the field two days later.
Private Kerr was killed in action in the trenches while his unit was in military operations near Telegraph Hill at Neuville Vitasse.
The weather was cloudy with a fresh wind from the west
The Battalion was raiding the enemy defences in Neuville Vitasse along with the 27th Battalion on the right. The raid began at 1:15 am. The advance went in under the cover of a shrapnel barrage, machine-guns, stokes mortars and Heavy artillery in support. The first objective was a manned enemy trench and this was consolidated. The 31st Battalion used two companies “A” on the right and “D” Company on the left.
The 31st Battalion took heavy opposition with heavy enemy machine-gun fire. They were further hampered by adverse light conditions caused by mist and the enemy fire was difficult to locate. Then casualties were taken when an ammunition dump exploded. They had to deal with enemy machine guns, “pill boxes” and many of the officers had either been killed or wounded.
By 4 am all was quiet in the lines.
The raid proved to be a success with all reaching their objectives. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy with dugouts destroyed and trench mortars being rendered useless along with their emplacements.