DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Brigade
8th Battalion - 90th Rifles (Royal Winnipeg Rifles)
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 624285
AWARDS: Military Medal
DATE OF BIRTH: September 23, 1888
Hensall – Hay Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: November 10, 1917 29 years 1 month
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
Panels 24 – 26 – 28 - 30
MOTHER: Mrs. Mary Jane Welsh – Hensall - Ontario
Occupation: Merchant Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: January 5, 1916 – Vermillion - Alberta
Enlistment Date: 27 years 3 months
Private Welsh travelled across Canadato Halifax and then boarded the S.S. California for theoverseas journey to England and departed the shores of Canada on October 3, 1916 arriving in England on October 13, 1916. Upon arrival he transferred to the II Reserve Battalion in Shorncliffe – Kent and that same day was Taken on Strength with the 8th Battalion. He then overseas and joined his unit in the filed in early December of 1916.
Sergeant Welsh was awarded the Military Medal on March 13, 1918 which was four months following his death.
The fourth step to take Passchedaele took place on November 10, 1917, with the 1st Division advancing north of the village and they were successful in achieving their objectives and sending the German forces towards the east on to the flat plain at the base of the ridge. The gains were about 1,000 yards with the 1st & 2nd Division casualties being 1,094 with 420 men killed.
November 10, 1917 was a day of heavy rain with winds from the south-west.
Between 3-5 am there was a very heavy enemy barrage with 4.1” & 5.9” shells falling just behind the assembly area. Zero hour was 6 am and the Battalion followed the rolling barrage. “B” Company was right assault; “C” was left assault;
“D” was support and “A” was reserve. By 7 am parts of “B” Company were retiring in disorder and “D” then went to support. The 1st South Wales had lost their way and pushed “C” to the right and the result was the whole of the left flank was exposed. There was now very heavy enemy machine-gun fire from Vocation and Vox Farms which had not been cleared during the advance.
“D” reported they had reached a line and were in touch with the units to the left and right of the line but had dug in because the infantry from “C” were returning in disorder and if they advanced further they would be weakening the open left flank more.
At 7:15 am objectives were reported to be being held but it was also reported that causalties were severe and heavy and that food and water were short.
By 6:15 pm in the evening the front was being held with only 150 men from the Battalion. The men at this point were exhausted and their Lewis guns had been destroyed.
It was during this day of heavy fighting and severe casualties when Sergeant Welsh lost his life in action.