EARLS, John Thomas

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Regina, Saskatchewan
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
24 years 9 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        1st Canadian Infantry Division
                                             2nd Infantry Brigade
                                             8th Battalion  -  90th Rifles (Royal Winnipeg Rifles)
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   105464
RESIDENCE:                    Bellcarres – Saskatchewan 
DATE OF BIRTH:            November 14, 1892
                                             Wroxeter – Howick Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           August 15, 1917                   24 years     9 months
MEMORIAL:                    Vimy Memorial – Vimy –
                                             Pas de Calais - France
PARENTS:                         Mr. Robert and Agnes Earls – Wroxeter – Ontario
SISTER:                              Mrs. M. Grainger – Bluevale - Ontario
KIN:                                    Miss. Margaret Earls – Wroxeter - Ontario
Occupation:                        Farmer                                  Religion:     Church of England
Enlistment:                         Regina – Saskatchewan – November 22, 1915
Enlistment Age:                 23 years

Private Earls departed from Canada on May 1, 1916 and arrived in Liverpool on May 7, 1916. On June 18th, he was drafted to the 8th Battalion and went overseas into France and joined his unit in the field on June 21, 1916.
Private Earls was killed in action while he was performing his duties with his unit while located near Loos.
On August 14, each man was fitted with his assault equipment, such as wire cutters, Adams attachement and extra rations. All Companies were clear of Les Brebie by 10 pm and moved to the fitting dump to load up with bombs, rifle grenades and sandbags.
“A” & “D” Companies were assigned to take the Green Objective and were assembled by 2:30 am with “B” & “C” Companies moved to their assault positions directly behind the 5th Battalion by 3:15 am. During the night it had rained heavily but at Zero hour which was 4:25 am the weather was fair and dawn was breaking. At 5:45 am “A” & “D” found that the Division barrage was too high, playing on the Red Line on the left of the 8th Battalion and the 7th Battalion on the right and between them was 500 yards of the Red Line that had not been touched. All available men were formed to assault the Red Line and the Green Objective at 6 am. They had, however, at this point been subject to enemy machine-gun fire from the right and front and it was found there was not enough push to take the Green Objective. The Green Line was occupied by a few posts but they were destroyed by our guns. At 4 pm, a barrage came down on Negro Trench, lifting at 4:05 pm but this barrage was so accurate and devastating that the Germans fled both Negro and Hercules Trenches for safer ground. During the day the infantry had been moving from shell hole to shell hole as they advanced and were under constant enemy fire from all areas. The enemy artillery barrage began at 4:27 am and lasted the majority of the day with much intensity in their barrage during the early afternoon hours. The infantry was also subject to fierce enemy fire from batteries to the east that consisted of 5.9s, 4.1s and 77 mms.
Prior to the attack the Brigade numbered 114 officers and 3,256 other ranks. At the end of the day 249 men had died, 1,177 wounded, 225 missing for a total of 1,651 casualties or a 49% casualty rate 
The 8th Battalion began with 720 officers and men of which 400 were killed, wounded or missing for a 56% casualty rate.