RASMUSSEN, John Alexander

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Toronto, Ontario
Original Unit
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
19 years 10 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        1st Canadian Infantry Division
                                             1st Infantry Brigade
                                             3rd Battalion  -  Toronto 
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   1024432
RESIDENCE:                    Wroxeter - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH:            October 18, 1898
                                             New York City – New York - USA
DATE OF DEATH:           August 8, 1918                    19 years     10 months
CEMETERY:                     Toronto Cemetery – Demuin
                                             Somme - France
                                                  B     16
PARENTS:                         Mr. Soren and Margaret Rasmussen – Wroxeter
Occupation:                        Labourer                               Religion:     Presbyterian
Enlistment:                         November 8, 1916 - Toronto
Enlistment Age:                 18 years

Private Rasmussen departed Canada on the S S Scandinavia and arrived in Liverpool on April 29, 1917. Near the end of the year he transferred to the 3rd Battalion and then went overseas and joined his unit on 
December 27, 1917.
Between August 7 – 11th was part of the Third Battle of the Somme. The Battalion on August 8th was positioned at Boves Wood.
The morning of August 8th was exceedlingly misty as the Brigade artillery opened up against the enemy positions at 4:20 am. The Canadian 3rd Bride was attacking and the 1st Brigade was in support. At 5:10 am the Battalion advanced in two waves 100 yards apart. At 5:55 am the Battalion begins to pass old enemy front lines, the fog is thickening and the men cannot see more than 20 yards and it comes to the point where they have to begin using their compasses. By 6:30 am the fog has lifted and now they encounter heavy enemy machine-gun fire from the eastern side of the Morgamont Wood.
At 6:40 am Headquarters and No. 4 Platoon come to Tittle Copse and they find the enemy machine-gub fire is very heavy. At 6:45 am the Company on the right says they are 300 yards away and have been in a heavy fight for 15 minutes and that the casualties are heavy. At 7:10 am it is noticed the enemy is not retiring, there are no 3rd Brigade troops in immediate area and at 8:20 am the Battalion was scheduled to advance to the green line, Headquarters troops along with No. 4 platoon advance againt the enemy and are taking very heavy machine-gun fire with heavy casualties, but they push and when about 60 yards from the enemy he retires with Battalion troops after them. By 8:45 am all companies and platoons have reached their objective being the green line.
At 9:00 am the Battalion is in a gulley and passing between Courcelette Wood and Le Mair Wood and begin their advance on Lemair Wood, and between Le Mair Wood and Stove Wood there are enemy strong points. At 9:55 am the Battalion cannot move ahead until support arrives. Casualties very heavy here. At 10:15 am the advance is still halted and the enemy is holding the ridge and is making a stand. The Battalion Lewis guns are effective but their commaning position stops the advance. At 10:40 am the 6 support platoons establish 12 Lewis Guns on the eastern edge of Le Mair Wood and provide covering fire as the advance begins to move again. With the support of the tanks and the Lewis guns the advance quickens and the enemy is in disorder. At 11:00 the high ground along the ridge is taken and the advance moves on. At 11:25 am the advance comes upon three enemy machine gun strong points and a number of platoons work around these nests, rush them and put them out of commission.
At 11:55 the red line objective is reached and one company advances to secure the high ground at Luce. Outpost are established east of Luce and as the Battalion begins to form a line of resistance.
It was during this day of fighting and advancing when Private Resmussen gave his life in battle. He was attached to Headquarters Signal Section and when advancing with them toward the green line south-west of Marcelcave the enemy appeared in large numbers with heavy enemy fire being met and Private Rasmussen was struck in the body and died instantly.