Next of Kin: Andrew and Margaret S. Archibald, R.R. #4, Seaforth, Ontario
Occupation: School Teacher
Personal Details: 5 ft. 7 in., 130 lbs., fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, Presbyterian
Born February 4, 1892 in Hibbert Township, Perth County, Andrew William Archibald was the third generation of his family to bear the name “Andrew Archibald”. In the early 1900s, the family moved to Tuckersmith Township, where they took up farming on Concession 7. Andrew received his education at Tuckersmith Public School and Seaforth Collegiate Institute, and went on to receive a First Class Teacher’s Certificate from the University of Toronto. He had teaching assignments in Hullett and McKillop Townships, as well as the Village of Zurich. At the time he enlisted, Andrew was a school teacher at Dufferin School in Toronto. His brother, Samuel Wallace Archibald, also a teacher, enlisted with the 119th Overseas Battalion early the following year.
On August 26, 1915, Private Archibald’s battalion arrived at Shorncliffe Camp, and was taken on strength by the 23rd Reserve Battalion. On January 19, 1916, Andrew was transferred to the 18th Infantry Battalion and proceeded overseas with his unit to France. A week later, Andrew was admitted to No. 9 Stationary Hospital in Havre, France, where he spent approximately 3 months being treated for the effects of an STD. As per military disciplinary action, his pay was reduced by .50 cents per day as a result. In mid-April, Andrew was discharged, and he rejoined his unit in the field on April 20, 1916.
On October 19, 1916, he received minor wounds to his scalp and right arm and was admitted to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance. After a few days of recovery, he was discharged fit for duty and returned to his unit on October 23rd. Andrew was transferred to the 14th Machine Gun Company effective January 16, 1917. On April 2nd the company sent four guns to the 6th Infantry Brigade, positioned at Mont-St. Eloi, and prepared for the defence of the Village of Neuville St. Vaast. The morning of April 4th dawned dull and rainy, and part of the day was spent cleaning ammunition and refilling ammunition belts. Later that day the Battalion launched an operation against enemy ammunition dumps that saw approximately 13,000 rounds expended. It was during this action that Private Archibald was fatally wounded, the only member of his company to lose his life on this day. A letter written by his section officer, Lt. L. White, and sent to Andrew’s parents, provided more details of his death:
“Your son was only with me a short time, a little over two months, but we all learned to respect and admire him for his strict attention to duty, and the quiet cheerfulness with which he performed even the most unpleasant tasks. It is a consolation to know that he did not suffer at all as he was killed instantly. A shell dropped close by and two small pieces struck him, either of which would have proved fatal. I was not with him, at the time but two other men of the section were and they got him to a dressing station at once. This was about two o’clock in the morning. We carried him back behind the lines and he was buried by Major Moffat, senior chaplain…”
Andrew Archibald was mentioned several times in a book authored by his friend, “Somewhere in France, The Letters of John Cannon Stothers”, including:
“When you are down Seaforth way next try to look up Mr. A. Archibald R.R. either #3 or #4. He is “Archies” father, Archie was teaching in Toronto and was killed a year ago in April. He was about the best fellow I ever met.” (Letter to his brother Steve, Somewhere in France, May 23, 1918)