DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654636
RESIDENCE: Goderich – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: March 2, 1886
Goderich – Goderich Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 26, 1917 31 years 7 months
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ieper –
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
Panels 18-24 26-30
BROTHER: James McCluskey – Goderich – Ontario.
SISTER: Mrs. Robert Davidson – Dungannon - Ontario
Occupation: Sailor Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Goderich – March 20, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 30 years
Following his arrival in England on November 11, 1916 Private McCluskey transferred to the 58th Battalion on November 30, 1916, proceeds into France on December 1st and after spending time with the 3rd Canadian Entrenching Battalion he joins his unit already in the field on March 6, 1917. He is attached for duty with the 9th Canadian Machine Gun Company on March 17, 1917.
Private McCluskey lost his life while performing his duties during an attack with his unit which was located west of Passchendaele.
This was a day that the 3rd Division would always remember. They advanced toward Passchendaele along the Gravenstafel-Passchendaele road toward the Bellevue Spur. Their advance allowed them to overrun the forward enemy positions before the enemy awakened and brought down a terrible artillery barrage on the Canadians. The advance still moved forward but eventually the enemy fore halted the advance and the Division tried hanging on to their gains but they were forced to fall back, then did in and seek whatever cover they could find. The Division was unable to achieve its objectives even after advancing 1,000 yards. The advance was also slowed by the extreme battlefield conditions that included waist deep mud.
The casualties suffered by the Third Division were 2,900 men with 600 being killed.
The advance was at 5:40 under wet and rain heavy clouds with light winds.
They advanced with artillery support but the enemy artillery replied quickly. The Brigade artillery was seen advancing but it was not even left and right and this was causing casualties.
The 58th / 43rd were the assaulting Battalions with the 52nd Battalion in support and the 116th Battalion in reserve. As the advance moved ahead the Battalion captured some “pill boxes at Lamkerk and Dad Trench and it was here they received very heavy machine-gun fire from the enemy trenches and heavy enfilade fire from Bellevue Farm to the left of the front.
More heavy enemy fire was being taken from Crest Farm and this forced the infantry to find cover anywhere in the many shell holes. Following this there was a bitter, bloody fight for Countour Trench and in the afternoon 64 enemy soldiers surrendered and this was the opportunity needed to consolidate and possess the enemy trench system.
Very heavy casualties had been taken during the advance and the ensuing fighting.
During the night machine-gun posts were established in front of Countour Trench but the enemy made no attempt to try and take what they had lost.
On this day casualties were extreme with 61% if the Battalion either killed, wounded or missing. That number was 303 men out of 500 were casualties.