DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654709
RESIDENCE: Belgrave – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: June 6, 1894
Huron County - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 26, 1917 23 years 4 months
CEMETERY: Passchendaele New British Cemetery – Ypres –
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
V B 10
PARENTS: Mr. & Mrs. Charles Wightman – Belgrave - Ontario
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Blyth – March 25, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 21 years 9 months
Private Wightman and the 161st Battalion travelled from Huron County to Halifax and then departed Canada bound for England and arrived there are November 11, 1916. They then moved to Shorncliffe – Kent. He then went overseas into France at the end of November and joined his unit in the field on December 22, 1916.
The morning of October 26, 1917 saw the Battalions of the 3rd Division leave their positions and begin the advance towards Passchendaele. Their advance had them follow the destroyed Gravenstafel-Passchendaele road towards the Bellevue Spur. They advanced and overran the enemy forward positions and about this time the enemy brought his artillery to bear on the advancing Canadians. Still the advance continued in the waist deep mud and water. The enemy artillery and machine guns plus the battlefield conditions stopped the advance of the Canadians. The decision was made to fall back, did in and seek whatever protection they could find. They did however manage to advance 1,000 yards. The Division was ot able to achieve nay of its objectives on this day.
Casualties numbered 2,900 with 600 men losing their lives,
In the early morning of October 26th the Battalion assembled for an advance on the enemy at the jumping off point.
“D” Company was holding the front line; “A” Company was in support; “B & C” Companies being in reserve.
At 05:40 hours the British barrage began and the 58th Battalion followed very closely. The enemy replied with a barrage on the Ravebeck area causing some casualties.
When the British barrage lifted it was seen to be slower advancing on the right than on the left and was distributed to a depth of 1,000 feet. The barrage was uneven and caused a number of casualties in the first waves of infantry. They continued to advance and took possession of three “pill boxes” at Lamkerk together with DAD trench. In doing so the infantry of the 58th Battalion were subject to very heavy enemy machine-gun fire from the trenches and “Pill boxes” and enfilade machine-gun fire from Bellevue Farm which was to the left of the front. There was also enemy fire from Crest Farm.
The men then occupied shell holes in front of their positions and a severe fight followed for possession of Contour Trench which went on until 2:30 pm. At this point 2 enemy officers plus 60 other ranks surrendered. This enabled the Battalion to gain possession of the German trench on the front. As the Battalion consolidated those trenches they suffered heavy casualties from enemy “pill boxes” and trenches. These obstacles were finally cleared.
During the night machine-gun posts were established in front of Contour Trench. The enemy made no effort to gain back what they had lost.
It was during this day of heavy fighting that Private Wightman lost his life while in the field and performing his military duties.