MacDIARMID, Alexander Duncan

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Lance Corporal
Date of Death
Age at Death
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        3rd Canadian Infantry Division
                                             8th Infantry Brigade
                                             4th Canadian Mounted Rifles  -  Toronto
                                             “D” Company
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   112250
DATE OF BIRTH:            January 8, 1892
                                             Lucknow – Ashfield / West Wawanosh Townships –
                                             County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           June 2, 1916                         24 years     5 months
MEMORIAL:                    Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial – Ypres –
                                             West Vlaanderen – Belgium
                                             Panels 30 - 32
PARENTS:                         Mr. John and Annie MacDiermid – Lucknow - Ontario
Occupation:                        Farmer                                  Religion:     Presbyterian
Enlistment:                         February 8, 1915 - London
Enlistment Age:                 23 years

Private MacDiarmid left Canada bound for overseas on the S.S. Northland and arrived there on July 9, 1915. He transferred to the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles based at Ceasars Camp in Bedfordshire. He then went into France on October 24, 1915 and the following month was appointed Lance Corporal. When the Canadian Mounted Rifles were re-organized in January of 1916 he transferred to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles 
The 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles were located south-east of Zillebeke on June 2, 1916
At 7 am about 20-30 enemy trench mortar shells fell onto the 4th Cabadian Mounted Rifles. Then about 8:30 am the enemy started a very heavy bombardment and when it increased on the front lines, the support and reserve trenches were taking hits. While this was taking place there was an enemy trench mortar bombardment onto the front lines.
This enemy barrage brought a deafening detonation and a cloud of steel which had no precendent for its weight or violence. Every conceivable type of enemy guns was pouring shells onto the Division front. This rain of death and destruction continued for 4 ½ hours.
The trenches the men were in were no more as they were destroyed. Shelters caved in and Sanctuary Wood, Armaugh Wood and Maple Copse had been denuded of vegetation.
At 1 pm the ground quivered and then gently heaved and then suddenly came apart as a mine exploded on the Battalion front. Sanbags, wire, machine guns, corrugated iron and men were all heaved skyward. Then the enemy appeared and began to advance in confidence as they believed none of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles were living. 
The order was given to withdraw. By this time the whole front line trench system had been flattended out by the enemy artillery and trench mortars. Very few of the Battalion now remained to carry on.
Three officers out of twenty-two came back and the next day 73 men out of 680 were left.
During this day of heavy enemy artillery and bombardment was when Lance Corporal MacDiarmid was killed in action while performing his military duties.