DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
1st Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion - Western Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 6883
RESIDENCE: Wingham - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: August 9, 1894
Teeswater – Bruce County - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: July 10, 1915 20 years 11 months
CEMETERY: Ramsgate and St. Lawrence Cemetery – Ramsgate –
Kent – England
PARENT: Mrs. William Aitchison – Wingham – Ontario
Occupation: Butcher Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Valcartier – September 22, 1914 into 1st Canadian Battalion.
Enlistment Age: 20 years 1 month
Private Aitchison sailed from Canada on October 3, 1914 and eleven days later on October 14, 1914 he arrived in Plymouth. Private Aitchison reached France in early 1915.
It is our view that Private Aitchison was wounded during the day of May 23rd while his unit was positioned near Le Youret and Festubert. On May 22nd the Battalion came back to the front and took up their positions in the reserve trenches on Willow Road. Later in the day they moved forward to the front line positions and relieved the 8th Battalion. Then on May 23rd there was heavy artillery fire onto the enemy positions all day. In the evening, they were assigned the task of digging a new trench that was to be 500 feet long. While they were doing this they came under an enemy artillery bombardment. Casualties were taken and we believe that one of the wounded was Private Aitchison.
We have read his file and have gone throught the war diaries of the 1st Infantry Battalion and 1st Infantry Brigade for the month of May 1915 and we have come to the conclusion that this is when he was wounded.
We have also noted that his wound was not seen until May 29, 2015 and when he was seen he was reported as seriously ill. The facts are that he was wounded and just kept going not thinking it was serious.
He was admitted to No. 5 Stationary Hospital located in Abbeville, France with wounds to his back either on May 30th or 31st. On May 31, 1915 he was taken to No. 16 General Hospital based at Le Treport. While he was in France an operation was performed to remove the piece of shrapnel in his back and to remove a portion of his spine. Both his legs were paralyzed as was his bladder and rectum. He was then taken to England by the Hospital Ship Anglia on June 6, 1915. On June 11, 1915 he was admitted to a temporary hospital located at Harbour Parade in Ramsgate. He was then moved to a hospital in Shorncliffe on July 8, 1915.
The people of Ramsgate, England erected a memorial over his grave.
Private Aitchison died at Ramsgate hospital from the severe wounds we believe he received on
May 23, 1915.