DIVISIONAL UNIT: 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
6th Infantry Brigade
31st Battalion - Alberta
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654200
RESIDENCE: Fordwich – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: May 28, 1889
County Tyrone - Ireland
DATE OF DEATH: June 26, 1918 29 years 1 month
CEMETERY: Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension – Aubigny-en-Artois -
Pas de Calais – France
IV L 53
WIFE: Mrs. Isabella Evelyn Laird – Fordwich – Ontario
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Church of England
Enlistment: Wroxeter – January 7, 1916 – 161st Huron battalion
Enlistment Age: 26 years 8 months
Private Laird and the 161st Battalion arrived in England on November 11, 1916.
On February 23, 1918, the 161st was absorbed into the 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion and on February 28th he transferred to the 1st Canadian Battalion Overseas and then on May 27th Private Laird transferred to the 31st Battalion in the field.
Private Laird was wounded in action with wounds to his right shoulder. He was moved to No. 42 British Casualty Clearing Station - Aubigny and died there as a result of those wounds a day later.
The 31st Battalion began preparing for an upcoming raid scheduled for June 25th.
The day of June 25th began cloudy with a fresh wind blowing from the west.
The raid was against the German defences at Neuville Vitasse and the 27th Battalion was on the right. The raid was successful with all Companies reaching their objectives. Large numbers of the enemy were killed, dugouts and trenches were destroyed, trench-mortars along with machine guns were rendered useless.
Prior to the raid there was an artillery barrage and the use of smoke barrels. The raid was carried out by small parties in two advancing waves. The battle became fierce and bitter as the Canadians cleared out enemy dugouts and cellars. There were violent confrontations as the 31st tried clearing out enemy machine-gun nests.
As the raid was drawing to a close and all objectives had been achieved and enemy equipment and soldiers had been eliminated the wounded were evacuated.
The Union Jack was planted in the middle of the German defences during the raid and attached to the pole was a note written in English for the German commander telling him of the successes of the Allies in Italy.
This raid began early on the morning of June 25th and from our research we have determined that Private Laird was wounded during the raid but was not able to be evacuated from the field until the objectives had been accomplished and enemy equipment eliminated. He would have been tended to in the field but it would have been a period of time before he would have been taken to the Casualty Clearing Station.