DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 491161
RESIDENCE London - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: May 27, 1896
Varna – Township of Stanley – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: October 8, 1916 20 years 4 months
MEMORIAL: Vimy Memorial – Vimy –
Pas de Calais - France
PARENTS: Mr. Samuel and Letitia Rathwell – Waterford - Ontario
Occupation: Student Religion: Wesleyan
Enlistment: March 25, 1915 – London into 33rd Battalion.
Enlistment Age: 18 years 10 months
Prior to his enlistment, Arnold was attending school in Lucknow
Private Rathwell boarded the SS Lapland and embarked from Canada on March 17, 1916 arriving in England on March 26, 1916. He transfers to the 36th Reserve Battalion at West Sandling on July 7, 1916 before transferring to 58th Battalion and going overseas into France on August 25, 1916. He then joins his unit in the field on September 20, 1916.
On this day the winds were southeastery and it was fair and warm. The advance would be against the enemy held Regina Trench. With each Company was one section of bombers and 2 Lewis guns.
As they advanced through “No Man’s Land” the left Company and part of the central Company suffered heavily and took severe casualties as they encountered enemy machine-gun fire. All three Companies encountered wire 30-60 feet out from Regina Trench. On the left it was 4 feet high and 4 feet thick. In the centre it was 4 feet high and 5 feet thick. The Brigade artillery had failed to cut the wire and as the Companies tried to cut through the wire they had to deal with heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. The right Company found a way through and were able to establish a position in Regina Trench. Both the right and centre Companies had a footing in Regina Trench. However, the left Company tried numerous times to get through the wire but were mowed down by enemy fire. The right Company in Regina Trench was unsupported and the enemy counter-attacked them. This company lost its guns, ran out of ammunition and was basically wiped out.
All companies took shelter in shell holes and worked there way back from shell hole to shell hole through the battle field, through ‘no man’s land” and back to the jump off point
It was this day’s actions that took the life of Private Rathwell in battle during this attack north-west of Courcellete.