DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
10th Infantry Brigade
47th Battalion - West Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654115
RESIDENCE: Seaforth – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: July 30, 1895
Seaforth – Tuckersmith Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: September 29, 1918 23 years 2 months
CEMETERY: Anneux British Cemetery – Anneux –
Nord – France
III F 86
PARENTS: Mr. William and Annie Westcott – Seaforth - Ontario
Occupation: Bookkeeper Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Seaforth – December 8, 1915 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 20 years 4 months
Private Westcott had travelled to Halifax with the 161st Battalion and then sailed from this location arriving in
England on November 11, 1916. From the time of his arrival in England until March of 1918 he was at Witley Camp – Surrey. He then went overseas and on April 2, 1918 joined his unit in the field.
Most of the Marcoing Line was in Canadian hands, the units were exhausted and their numbers were depleted. They were also aware this was a fight to the finish with the enemy. The only plan was to advance and attack and achieve their objectives. On September 29th they advanced and attacked along the Cambrai-Douai Road to the north-west of Cambrai. They encountered heavy enemy machine gun fire and uncut barbed wire making the advance difficult. The 116th moved on St. Olle and Cambrai; the 1st & 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles attacked the western edges of Cambrai,and suffered heavy casualties; units of the 3rd Divison and 4th Divison attacked the enemy positions along the Cambrai-Douai Road.
On September 29th, the wind was from the north-west and the weather was good with good visibility.
In the trenches on this day were 351 men of all ranks.
At 8am the 12th Infantry Brigade began their advance onto the enemy positions following a well placed artillery barrage. The 12th Brigade passed through the 10th Brigade and the 47th Battalion and continued to push forward. The 10th Brigade then went into reserve near the Bourlon Wood. During the morning “B” Company was sent forward to eliminate an enemy menace which was successful and at noon “B” Company was reported to be clear. A short time later “A, C & D” Companies were reported clear as well. The Battalion was then sent to a new position.
It is believed from our research that Private Westcott was killed from enemy shelling at midday when a number of fatalities took place.
This day of battle was costly with heavy casualties and very little gain. Only one unit was able to advance, attack and breakthrough to capture the village of Sancourt.