War and History Non-Fiction posted October 13, 2020


soldier WWI

number 1966

by Mary Vigasin


His grave marker is in an abandoned village. The stone sits in front of a falling 2ft decaying fence. The writing on the marker is now covered by weeds and brush; the writing is fading.

On entering the Newfoundland Royal Regiment in 1915, he was 18 years old, 5 ft 8 inches tall and weighed 131 lbs. and as all his army records show, he was assigned and known as #1966.

As it was his first venture outside his tiny village of 500 souls of Little Bay, Newfoundland, his army record in early of 1916 was not spotless; as his conduct sheet shows a few offenses. #1966 was absent from the base a few times also including improper dress and once for being drunk. The punishment ranged from 3 to 6 days without the $1.10 a day pay.

In June of 1916, his unit was shipped to France. He served as a stretcher-bearer in the outskirts of a ruined French village of Gueudecourt. He also signed up for another full year of service.
The battle known as the Somme Offensive devastated the Newfoundland Regiment with two-hundred and thirty-nine casualties.

While it is hard to pinpoint exactly where #1966 was at the time. It is known that he did act as a stretcher bearer. The Somme Offensive lasted from July 1916 to November 1916.

It is known that the Regiment marched into the village of Le Transloy as part of the Offensive and battled the Germans in hand-to-hand fighting and defended their position on October 12. It is known that #1966 was killed in action on October 18, 1916 at the age of 19.

#1966 was buried in France with others from his regiment and a memorial to the battle was preserved in the Beaumont-Hamel War Memorial to honor the WWI dead of the Newfoundland Royal Regiment.
His name also appears in his homeland of Newfoundland among the honored WW1 dead.
With no body to bury, his family placed the marker to honor #1966.

His sister, Bride received his allotment of $6.72 and his personal "kit bag."

For 100 years the life and death of #1966 was unknown to existing relatives. Even his own nephew named after him did not know who he was named after before he died 36 years ago.

Two years ago, since I knew little of my father's side of the family, I did a search of our not so common last name, and the name of #1966 appeared as Private Harold DeLouchrey but the date was 1916.
My dad, also named Harold, birthdate was 1918. I found #1966 was my Dad's uncle.

#1966 rests in a Canadian Cemetery in France as does his other nephew, a casualty of WWII, also buried in a Canadian Cemetery.




War writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story where a character is in war or is about to be in war. Fiction or non-fiction.

Recognized

#365
2020


I found that pictures of a number of companies of the Newfoundland Royal Regiment but of course, #1966 moved it appears from two or three companies so I could not pinpoint to get a picture of him. I just know he is somewhere in the Regiment pictures.
The soldier on the far left has some family features which is only a guess.
Pays 10 points and 1.00 member dollars.


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