DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
3rd Infantry Brigade
13th Battalion - Royal Highlanders of Canada
Canadian Infantry Corps
Serving with 2nd British Army
SERVICE NO: 24558
DATE OF BIRTH: April 30, 1885
Brussels – Grey / Morris Townships – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: April 24, 1915 30 years
MEMORIAL: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres
West Vlaanderen – Belgium
Panels 24-26 & 28-30
PARENTS: Mr. John and Sara Reid - Seaforth
Occupation: Salesman Religion: Methodist
Enlistment: September 23, 1914 – Valcartier - Quebec
Enlistment Age: 29 years 5 months
He sailed from Quebec with the Canadian First Contingent on October 4, 1914 and arrived in England some ten days later.
This soldier went overseas into France on February 7, 1915.
On the night of April 21st, the 13th Battalion took over the positions at the front from the 14th Battalion. Then during the day of April 22nd, the Germans began their attack and for the first time sent poison gas onto the Canadians.
April 23rd for the 1st Division was quiet but today – April 24th it would change. The Germans would release gas against the 8th & 15th Battalions. The main cloud of gas was south of the Ypres-Poelcappelle road and the cloud overwhelmed the 15th Battalion, a gap opened up in the line and the enemy poured through this opening toward St. Julien. The Germans attacked St. Julien and Fortuin to the south and the Canadians on the Grafenstavel Ridge to the east. St. Julien fell and many men of three Canadian Battalions were captured. The fighting at the base of the Grafenstavel Ridge was very fierce nut it slowed the enemy advance.
On the morning of April 24th, the 13th Battalion found themselves in the middle with the 15th Battalion on the right and the 14th Battalion on the left. Soon after daybreak the enemy again sent gas toward the Canadian front and their intense artillery fire destroyed some of the shallower trenches. Casualties were being taken here. Under cover of their artillery the enemy crept closer to the 13th Battalion. All Companies were forced to retire because the unit on the right had retired and the 13th Battalion could not hold.
No. 1 Company which did retire as it had not received this order. This Company was down to 40 men and they had to cross 50 yards of open ground. They attempted to do so but few made it safely.
As the other Companies retired they were constantly under enemy machine gun and rifle fire. Finally, they were ordered to “stand fast”. For the whole day the Battalion held this position and were all line the while under heavy and constant enemy fire.
Lance Sergeant Reid lost his life in action during an attack at St. Julien on or since April 24, 1915.