Mississauga Remembers 1914-1918
Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 9-12, 1917
Heritage Mississauga will be flying the Canadian Red Ensign at The Grange in March and April, 2017 in remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War. In the First World War Canadians fought under an earlier version of the Red Ensign, the unofficial flag of Canada.
96 residents from historic Mississauga lost their lives during the course of the First World War. During the Battle of Vimy Ridge itself, from April 9-12, 1917, the Canadian attack involved some 15,000 Canadians fighting as a combined 4 divisions for the first time. They succeeded in capturing Vimy Ridge, Hill 145 and the “Pimple”. This stunning success had a steep price: 3598 Canadian killed, 7000 wounded. More than 50 soldiers from historic Mississauga saw action at Vimy, with 7 killed and 11 wounded.
Private Dennis Ainger of Erindale was killed in action on March 1, 1917, during reconnaissance leading up to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He lost his life trying to aid an officer who had also been shot. He served with the 75th Battalion (now the Toronto Scottish), was unmarried, and 24 years old when he died. Private Eli Rossiter of Clarkson was killed in action on the morning of April 9, 1917 during the initial Canadian advance on the village of Thelus on Vimy Ridge. He served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, He was 32 years old when he died, and left behind a widow, Hannah, and a young son, Arthur. Hannah remarried and moved to Pennsylvania. Descendants of Arthur Rossiter, Eli’s son, have been traced to Petrolia, Pennsylvania today. Private Joseph Clarke of Streetsville, a cook and aspiring baker, was killed in action in the initial advance at Vimy on April 9, 1917 at the age of 31. He also served with the 75th Battalion (now the Toronto Scottish).
Private William (“Billy”) Kidd was a Toronto resident who for many years had worked for George Adamson as a farmhand in Clarkson. Billy, along with his brother Walter, both served overseas, leaving no immediate family behind them. He served with the 3rd Battalion (perpetuated today by the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto). Billy was killed in action at Vimy on April 9, 1917 at the age of 32. A special service was held for him in Clarkson on June 14, 1917 where he was fondly remembered. Sergeant Thomas Cartwright of Erindale worked as a local farmhand, attended St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Erindale, and was a well-regarded baseball player. He had previous militia experience with the 36th Peel Regiment (now the Lorne Scots) before enlisting with the 75th Battalion (Toronto Scottish). He was killed in action on the morning of April 9, 1917 during the initial Canadian advance at Vimy. He was 21 years old.
Very little is known about Private John “Jack” Young. He is listed as a farmer and gardener and he worked on the Shook farm in Clarkson, with his next of kin listed at Mrs. Robert Shook of Clarkson. He served with the 33rd Battalion (perpetuated by the Royal Canadian Regiment). He was killed in action on April 11, 1917. Lieutenant James Howard Fawcett was born in Streetsville, son of A.R. Fawcett, editor of the Streetsville Review newspaper. When James enlisted he was living in Burk’s Falls, Ontario where he had established the Burk’s Falls Arrow newspaper. His family still resided in Streetsville, and James himself played hockey and lacrosse in Streetsville where he was a well-regarded athlete. He was wounded in the Canadian advance at Vimy, and died of his wounds on April 11, 1917 at the age of 28.
In addition to those who lost their lives, individuals wounded during the Battle of Vimy Ridge with ties to historic Mississauga include:
Private Christopher Sullivan of Port Credit, wounded at Vimy and received a Military Medal (killed in action on August 27, 1918); Lieutenant Jeffery Filder Smith of Cooksville was wounded at Vimy (killed in action June 29, 1917); Sergeant David Edgar Kissock of Dixie was wounded at Vimy, wounded again at Fresnoy, discharged with permanent disability; Private Arthur Durie of Clarkson was in the first wave of the Canadian advance at Vimy as a stretcher bearer, wounded, survived; Captain George Osborne Hall of Port Credit was wounded at Vimy, wounded again at Fresnoy (died of wounds on June 16, 1917); Private Ernest Victore Hare of Port Credit was wounded at Vimy on April 10, 1917, survived; Private William Fawcett Taylor of Lorne Park was wounded at Vimy, survived ; Lieutenant Wallace Stevenson Duncan of Port Credit was wounded at Vimy and received the Military Cross for “Conspicuous Gallantry and Devotion to Duty” at Vimy; Lieutenant Arthur Douglas Gray of Port Credit was wounded at Vimy and received the Military Cross for “Conspicuous Gallantry and Devotion to Duty” at Vimy (died of influenza October 25, 1918); Private Sylvester Osborne of Burnhamthorpe, wounded at Vimy, survived; Lieutenant Douglas Cameron Thomson of Port Credit served at Vimy, wounded, received field commission (killed in action September 2, 1918); lastly, Corporal Harry Kee of Streetsville served at Vimy and received a Military Medal for his conduct.
We remember them.