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HERN, Loftus Roy

War
1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Valcartier, Quebec
Original Unit
Regimental Number
18955
Rank
Private
Date of Death
Age at Death
23 years 4 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        1st Canadian Infantry Division
                                             1st Infantry Brigade
                                             4th Battalion  -  Central Ontario
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   18955
RESIDENCE:                    Exeter – Ontario 
DATE OF BIRTH:            December 29, 1891
                                             Whalen - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           April 23, 1915                      23 years     4 months
MEMORIAL:                    Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres –
                                             West Vlaanderen – Belgium
                                             Panels 18-24 & 26-30
PARENTS:                         Mr. Philip and Carrie Hern – Exeter – Ontario
Occupation:                        Bookeeper                            Religion:     Methodist
Enlistment:                         Valcartier – September 21, 1914 into 9th Battalion
Enlistment Age:                 22 years     9 months

Private Hern left Quebec on the S.S. Zealand on October 4, 1914 as part of the Canadian 1st Contingent. He then transferred to the 4th Battalion based in Tidworth, Wiltshire on February 27, 1915. He was drafted to France on March 21, 1915 and joined his init in the field on March 26th.
April 23rd was a day of fighting in what became known as the 2nd Battle of Ypres. During the 23ed the 4th battalion was brought into the front from their reserve positions and they were ordered to re-capture the Mauser Ridge south of the village of Pilkem. The enemy on Mauser Ridge was seen preparing their positions and the British Command ordered the Canadians to attack the ridge in daylight hours across open ground against a well defended enemy position. They failed and had to halt and lie low on the ground to save themselves. In the middle of the afternoon they agin were ordered to advance and they closed the open flank. Heavy losses had been taken.
Private Hern had previously been reported as missing in action, but for official purposes Private Hern was killed in action performing his duties in the vicinity of St. Julien.
The Battalion was located near Vlamertinghe. At 12:30 am the Battalion moved and crossed No. 4 Pontoon Bridge of the Yser Canal at 4:10 am. At 4:30 am the Battalion halted at a farm house 1,200 yards west of Pilkem where the enemy was entrenched.
At 5:25 am the advance began towards the ridge with “B” Company in the lead. They occupied a portion of the 150 yard front and the other Companies followed. The enemy was very strongly positioned on the ridge and the Battalion was heavily engaged. The enemy artillery and machine-gun fire was very heavy and the Battalion was holding the lower slopes of the ridge and valley but the advance forward was very slow. At this point the advance halted and the Battalion entrenched 400 yards away from the enemy.
At 8:20 am the Battalion sent out an urgent call for artillery support so that the 1st Battalion could reach them and reinforce. The casualties are now extreme with 505 men killed, wounded or missing.
By 10.50 am the Battalion front extended from the Ypres-Pilkem Road to 600 yards east of the road.
It was during this bitter day of fighting when Private Hern was killed in action performing his military duties.