DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
1st Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion - Western Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 643863
RESIDENCE: Orilla – Ontario
AWARDS: Military Medal
DATE OF BIRTH: August 10, 1897
Clinton – Goderich Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: May 3, 1917 19 years 6 months
MEMORIAL: Vimy Memorial – Vimy –
Pas de Calais – France
PARENTS: Mr. David and Mary Ann Cantelon – Clinton - Ontario
Occupation: Clerk Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: Orillia – Ontario - January 28, 1916
Enlistment Age: 18 years 4 months
Private Cantelon arrived in England on October 28, 1916 and one month later transferred to the 1st Battalion. He arrived overseas in France at the end of November 1916 and joined his unit already in the field on December 2, 1917.
The Battalion was involved at the Arleux Loop under fine and warm weather with the winds light from the north and north-west. On May 1st all men received 48 hours of water and the movement of supplies was alright until evening of May 3rd. After that because of heavy enemy artillery activity it was difficult to get water and food.
The Battalion advanced at 03:45 hours under a heavy enemy barrage in front of the jump off trenches but were able to follow the Division barrage. The situation at 04:20 hours was confusing but it was felt the flanks were checked. At 04:50 hours with “D” Company on the left flank, they gained their objective but with very heavy fighting going on. By 05:40 hours “B” & “C” Companies had gained their objectives but “C” Company swung around left flank to prevent being cut off. Enemy was strong on left and expected to counter-attack. At 06:33 hours heavy enemy machine-gun fire from left flank and the enemy were massing on ridge and on the road and approached from the high ground from Bois Villoian. At 08:15 hours much enemy activity was taking place and they were shelling Fresnoy heavily. At 10:30
hours the left flank situation was obscure and with artillery support they secured the left flank.
In the early afternoon was when the enemy counter-attacked along the whole front but were repulsed by machine-gun fire and artillery. At 1:25 pm more enemy activity was noticed indicating another counter-attack and an intense and heavy enemy artillery barrage caused severe casualties. At 2:37 pm the enemy laid down a barrage on the left and the Bois Villian Wood is full of the enemy. By 7:15 pm “A” Company has no surviving officers with most NCOs being lost; “B” only had one wounded officer left and “C” & “D” Companies had two officers each very few NCOs and specialists. They have been under a severe enemy shelling for the last 15 hours. Now at 10:20 pm the machine-guns are being moved forward and then a report has arrived that an SOS is seen on the left front and the artillery was notified
By the end of the day 1st Battalion had only four officers remaining but that the left flank was in better shape.
From the information we have gathered we believe that Private Cantelon was killed in action when a shell exploded very close to him during this bloody and bitter day of battle and he lost his lower limbs.