DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
3rd Infantry Brigade
13th Battalion - Royal Highlanders of Canada
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 127337
RESIDENCE: Brussels – Ontario.
DATE OF BIRTH: December 21, 1891
Londonderry – Northern Ireland
DATE OF DEATH: September 4, 1916 24 years 8 months
CEMETERY: Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 – Serre –
Somme – France
XXV H 13
SISTER: Margaret Crampsey – Londonderry - Ireland
NEXT OF KIN: Mr. J. Crampsey – Toronto - Ontario
Occupation: Labourer Religion: Roman Catholic
Enlistment: Brussels – October 12, 1915
Enlistment Age: 23 years 10 months
Private Crampsey sailed from Halifax at some point in the middle of November 1915 and arrived in England on
November 30, 1915 and from there he went immediately to West Sandling - Kent. On April 23, 1916 he transferred to the 13th Battalion and then overseas into France and joined his unit already in the field on May 15, 1916.
The 1st Division had entered the line on September 2/3 and were attached to the II Australian Army Corps
The Battalion was located on the Drocourt Queant Line near Courcelette and during the early morning hours it had been raining but it cleared by late morning of September 4th.
When each man went into the front he carried 6 sandbags along with 2 trench bombs.
The enemy had been shelling the front lines and support trenches very heavily during the night of September 3rd &4th and then all day of September 4th. In addition, the enemy had mounted a heavy counter-attack on the right and this was repulsed.
The enemy shelled all day and the continuous rain that was falling also hindered the Battalion. No. 1 Company had been without rations for 24 hours, began to forage and came up with excellent coffee in glass jars. No. 2 Company was also short of food and they too were suffering from the enemy artillery.
At 6:00 am a Red Cross flag appeared in between No. 1 Company and the enemy lines. There was no firing while both sides retrieved the dead and wounded. Following this the enemy artillery barrage increased and the enemy was observed pouring up their communication trenches and the Canadian and Lahore artillery soon put a stop to the beginning of an enemy counter-attack. The enemy increased their fire onto No. 1 Company. Now the casualties for this company were at 60%.
No. 1 Company bombed down the enemy trenches and put in blocks. All the while they were being subject to havy enemy fire but they held on until 5 pm when they moved to the right flank. At the same time the trenches were blown in. They did not have any contact as all their runners were wounded or killed. No. 2 Company drove an enemy patrol off which had started from Mocquet Farm. No. 4 Company occupied the quarry. By now the men in the front were isolated and could not be reached.
The casualties were extreme and by noon 16 men had been killed and 64 had been wounded. By the end of the day the number had risen to 150 wounded or killed.
The file of Private Crampsey, the 13th Battalion war diaries and the Brigade war diaries do not indicate how Private Crampsey was killed. We do not know if he lost his life to the enemy shelling, if it was from the enemy counter-attack or from the extreme enemy fire. He gave his life in action performing his military duties.