DIVISIONAL UNIT: 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade
Canadian Machine Gun Corps
SERVICE NO: 427161
AWARDS: Distinguished Conduct Medal
DATE OF BIRTH: February 28, 1878
Clinton – Goderich Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: March 26, 1918 40 years
CEMETERY: St. Sever Cemetery Extension – Rouen –
Seine-Maritime – France
VI J 10A
PARENTS: Mr. James and Helen Fair – Clinton – Ontario
Occupation: Grain Buyer Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: Moose Jaw – Saskatchewan – May 22, 1915
Enlistment Age: 37 years 3 months
He sailed from Halifax on October 23, 1915 and he arrived in Liverpool on November 2, 1915. He then transfers to the Canadian 32nd Reserve Battalion. On March 2, 1916, he is Taken on Strength by the Borden Machine Gun Battery, proceeds overseas to join his unit in the field which he does on March 16, 1916.
Sergeant Fair was wounded in the abdomen on March 24th and died two days later from those wounds at No. 10 General Hospital located in Rouen.
The weather on this day was good.
At approximately 2 am the Battery proceeded to Maricourt and then came under the orders of the 21st Division. Orders then received at 7:15 am to proceed to Clery and to position themselves on the support line.
At 8 am there was a heavy smoke barrage blowing from the east. Two guns were placed in Clery and shortly after this the enemy broke through the flank and over ran the village. One gun was destroyed and the crew from the other gun were killed. The remaining guns were placed in Maricourt – Clery Road in an old shallow trench with no wire protection and situated on the foreward slope of the ridge. From here the onservation was good and there were many targets. The trench was held until 1 pm and at this time casualties were very heavy. The guns kept up their fire until the ammunition supply became critical. The guns were then moved back 50 yards to a trench that was protected with barbed wire but casualties were still mounting.
By 5 pm only 3 guns remained. They were ordered to hold this position until 8 pm but now the enemy attacked in mass from the left flank and front and they were forced to withdraw.
Sergeant Fair was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The Citation read as follows…..for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When one of his gun’s crews had all become casualties this non-commisioned officer continued with great coolnes to handle the gun, pouring belts of ammunition into the masses of the enemy as they advanced and causing them very heavy casualties. He retired only when the enemy was so close that his capture was imminent. He was severely wounded as he was walking to a new position at the rear. The example fof his deliberate courage was an inspiration to all and was worthy of the highest praise.