SERVICE NO. 859988
RESIDENCE: Tugaske - Saskatchewan
DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division 10th Brigade 44th Battalion - Manitoba Canadian Infantry Corps
DATE OF BIRTH: July 29, 1892 - Towbship of Howick - County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: May 10, 1917 24 years 10 months
MEMORIAL: Vimy Memorial - Pas de Calais - France
PARENTS: Mr. Robert and Barbara Jane Black - Wroxeter - Ontario
William was Presbyterian. He enlisted in Tugaske - Saskatchewan - April 21, 1916 - 23 years 9 months into 179th Battalion. His height was 5' 10", his complexion was fair, his eyes were brown and he had fair hair.
Following his enlistment of April 21, 1916 he would have trained for approximately 5 months before travelling to Halifax prior to his embarkation from Canada on the S.S. Saxonia arriving in England on October 13, 1916. Shortly after this he transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then in mid November transferred to the 179th Battalion.
Very early in 1917, he transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion before bring posted to the 44th Battalion and joining them in the field on January 10th, 1917.
Private Black was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.
The Battalion was positioned near La Coulette and during the day the enemy shelled the front and support areas through the use of gas shells, rifles and grenades and despite of this the Battalion held their positions in their advance posts and previously captured trenches known as the Triangle. The upcoming advance was scheduled for the evening of May 9th and the artillery barrage came down on the enemy positions as ordered and it was well placed with good coverage.
The first lift in the creeping barrage took place after 4 minutes and the infantry advanced with little resistance. There was a second lift in the barrage at 01:00 hours and now the infantry began to experience some enemy resistance from enemy rifle fire and machine gun fire. Objectives were reached and at zero +14 the Clucus Party moved out and then established a block at the enemy wire but this position was untenable as they were too close to the barrage and the enemy occupied trenches beyond the block.
They then moved back 50 yards and established a second block that provided them much better command. The scouts then ran tape and a trench was dug using the tape as a guide from Clucus block to the enemy wire.
There was still an unbroken distance between the wire and the enemy front lines. By day-light a reasonable trench had been dug from Clucus to the enemy wire.
At 02:00 hours the enemy grenadiers brought down very heavy rifle grenade fire onto the Battalion trench blocks and the Battalion took very severe casualties. Private Black lost his life performing his duties in the field but we do not know if he fell during the advance or if he fell during the enemy rifle grenade attack.