DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
12 Infantry Brigade
78th Battalion - Winnipeg Grenadiers
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 928200
RESIDENCE: Howick Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: November 11, 1894
London – England
DATE OF DEATH: September 2, 1918 23 years 10 months
CEMETERY: Dury Mill British Cemetery – Dury –
Pas de Calais – France
I A 4
PARENT: Mrs. Marion Bates – Sydney – New South Wales – Australia.
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Harriston – Ontario – November 29, 1915 into 153rd Battalion
Enlistment Age: 21 years
Douglas arrived in Canada with his brother at Quebec in early May 1906. They were part of a large group of 262 children
going to a Bernardo home in Toronto.
The census of 1911 shows Douglas at the age of 17 working on the farm of George and Olive Rinox in Howick Township. They lived on Lot 28 Concession 11 or 16. They may have had another property at lot 21 on concession 15 or 16. The census also shows that Douglas had been with the Rinox family for about a year. He worked 60 hours a week on the Rinox farm and earned $30.00 per month.
Private Bates arrives in England and then entered a segregation camp at Bramshott - Hampshire on May 7, 1917. On February 15, 1918, he transferred to the 4th Reserve Battalion. Following that he transferred to the 18th Battalion and went overseas into France on March 28, 1918. Once he had arrived at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp he transferred to the 78th Battalion and then joined his unit already in the field on April 3, 1918.
While fighting was taking place elsewhere the 4th Division was ordered to advance onto the Drocourt-Queant line. The 38th, 75th, 87th & 85th Battalions who were south of the village of Dury were being mowed down as they advanced on the village. The enemy was well positioned and used tht to his advantage. Losses were very heavy.
On September 2nd, the Battalion was in position by 03:00 hours and the men received breakfast at 05:00 hours and by
05:30 hours the men were to be assemblied in the trenches and ready to begin the advance at 06:00 hours.
“A & D” Companies would advance as an “advance guard” covering the 38th & 72nd Battalions. “B” Company was in support. “A” Company was right and “D” Company was left. At zero + 1 hour the Battalion would advance and take up a position in the westerly two trenches of the Drocourt Line. Then at 7:30 am they would move and cross the Red Line at 8 am and advance to the objective on the high ground. “C” Company arrived with the Brigade forces and they were in reserve. The Battalion was located in the two westerly trenches of the Drocourt Line prior to advancing. The battle plan was that the 78th Battalion was to be only used to capture the Drocourt Trenches.
At 05:50 hours it was observed that the Battalion was well over the crest of the high ground and being subjected to very heavy enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. They were being stopped and “A” Company tried moving forward but could not as there was no support. Then at 4:30 pm the Brigade ordered the Battalion to fall back which was completed by 7:30 pm. Any resistance that came from the enemy came from places where the Battalion least expected it. It was during this day of heavy fighting where Private Bates lost his life in battle near Dury.