DIVISIONAL UNIT: 37th British Infantry Division
111th Infantry Brigade
13th Service Battalion - King’s Royal Rifle Corps
SERVICE NO: 82051
DATE OF BIRTH: May 11, 1893
Exeter – Stephen / Usborne Townships – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: April 15, 1917 23 years 11 months
CEMETERY: Etaples Military Cemetery – Etaples –
Pas de Calais – France
XVII B 4
PARENTS: Mr. William and Hanna Penhale – Exeter - Ontario
Occupation: Student Religion: Wesleyan
Enlistment: April 17, 1916 – Shorncliffe - England
Enlistment Age: 22 years 10 months
Thomas was educated at Stephen Public School, Exeter High School and Clinton Collegiate Institute.
He had gone overseas with the 2nd draft of Canadians as a candidate in the Canadian Officers Training Corps candidates for Imperial Commissions.
Thomas is remembered on the University of Toronto Service Roll.
He was sent to France in December of 1916 and joined the 13th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He reached the trenches about Christmas.
Lieutenant Penhale spent about 14 weeks at the front in the Arras sector before being severely wounded in the thigh while leading his men at Monchy in the Battle of Arras on April 11th. He fought to live for 4 days at St. John’s Ambulance Hospital in Etaples but his wound was too serious.
The Battle of Monchy-le-Preux was south of the Vimy Ridge and it was imperative for the British to take this village. The village was on the high ground and who ever controlled this high ground would then control the battlefield. This day the British would put an all out effort to take the high ground because the enemy had taken the last 48 hours to reorganize and prepare for the attack. The British were holding the positions in and around the village but the German artillery was still intact.
The 111th was the left attack and the 112th was the right attack. At 5 am in the cold snow the infantry and tanks set off across the snow, but the supporting artillery was late getting into position and when they were in the right position and began firing the shells began to fall on their own advancing infantry. However, the infantry did capture the village this day.
It was during this advance where Second Lieutenant Penhale was wounded.