Lance Corporal

Service # 126708

Elgin Earl Eby was born November 18th, 1895 in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario. He was the son of Dilman and Catherine Eby. When he attested (signed up for service) in Woodstock on September 23rd, 1915 he indicated his closest relative was his sister Candace Eby, at 136 Queen North, Kitchener, Ontario, c/o J.B. Shantz of Berlin.

136 Queen St. N, Kitchener, today

His mother, Catherine Eby was deceased, and Elgin “willed” his share of the estate to his sister, in case of his death in service. Also to be notified was his uncle, David Eby, notary public, Debus Block, New Hamburg.

This is 84-88 Huron St, New Hamburg,(Debus Block) today

Fred Debus operated a feed store here from 1916 for 38 years. It’s unclear whether Elgin’s uncle had his notary business here on the lower level or actually lived here, probably on the upper level? In any case, it would be good ‘politics’ to locate in a building owned by a major employer, the Town Reeve and then County Warden.

Elgin gave his trade as a moulder, which probably meant that he made moulds for castings in a foundry, maybe in New Hamburg (?).

[In New Hamburg at this time there was Samuel Merner’s foundry (he built Puddicomb House – and the Alfred Hahn Brass factory.]

Eby was 19 years 10 months old, not married, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 lbs., had a “tan” complexion, blue eyes,  light sandy hair, a scar on his left cheekbone and aligned with the Church of England. He did not give his present address. He had prior military experience as he had been in the 29th Regiment militia for 3 years.

Upon enlistment, he was placed in the 71st Overseas Battalion. On January 4th, 1916 he shipped out of Halifax on the “S.S. Olympic” and arrived at Liverpool on April 11th. On May 28, 1916, he was transferred to the 11th Brigade Machine Gun Company, Oxney Camp, and on August 2nd, 1916 to the 75th Infantry Battalion, C.E.F. On August 11th, 1916, from Bramshott, he was ordered “overseas” (to France) on the next day he arrived at Havre, France.

On August 15th, 1916, he was evacuated because he was “wounded” in an “accident”. He went to the No. 22 Gen. Hosp. at Dannes Camiers, on the coast of France and was treated for burns on both hands and slight burn to his face, and then to the No. 6 Convalescent Depot at Etaples, France on October 27th.

On November 11, 1916, he “forfeits 2 days pay for Conduct to the prejudice of good order & Military Discipline in that he lost part of his kit (Mess Tin Cover). On November 14, 1916, he rejoined his unit in the field (France).

By December 10th, 1916, in the field, he was “In arrest awaiting trial. As of January 1, 1917, he had been “Tried and convicted by F.G.C.M. [Field General Court Marshall] of “when on Active Service Negligently wounding himself, and sentenced to Three Months F.P.”. This sentence was “Confirmed by G.O.C. [General Officer Commanding] 11th Can. Inf. Bde., 1-1-17.”

On February 7th, 1917 he was “Sentenced to One day’s forfeiture of pay for negligently losing kit.”

His service record shows that on March 3rd, 1917, “Gsw. (L) Elbow”, “Gsw (R) Elbow”. On April 4th he was at Adm 1 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples for the Gsw to the R. elbow. On April 25th he was in the military hospital at Devonport. On May 5th he was in Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Bearwood Wokingham and was discharged on the 17th.

On May 17th, 1917 he is listed as “Posted to 1st Cent. Ont. Regt. Depot” at Sutcliffe. On the 25th he was transferred from the 75th Battalion at West Sandling. On July 31st, 1917 he was discharged from the 1st C.C.D. at St. Leonards to the 12th Reserve Battalion, and from there to the 75th Battalion on November 24, 1917. On December 5th he joined his unit.

On September 9th, 1918 he was appointed Lance Corporal. On September 30, 1918, he was “R.F.B. Killed in Action” while with the 12th Canadian Reserve Battalion reinforcing the 75th Battalion. [R.F.B. > Reported From Base]

[Source: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/Documents/infantry%20battalions.pdf Page 323]

Elgin Eby was killed at the Battle of the Canal du Nord, during the “Hundred Days Offensive” against German positions on the Western Front in France. The Allied forces’ long-term tactical goal was to move inland from the English Channel coast, across France, and thus into Germany. To avoid having the German forces able to move extensive reserves up into a battle line, the plan was to spread out the attack across a wide series of “fronts” so that the German commanders would have to spread out their reserve troops to be able to move them wherever and whenever they were needed to resist Allied attacks.

The plan had Allied attacks at four separate points on four successive days. 1) The Meuse-Argonne Offensive started September 26, 1918. 2) The attack on the Canal du Nord began on September 27, 1918. 3) The offensive in Flanders started on September 28, 1918. 4) The Battle of St. Quentin Canal started on September 29, 1918.

The attack on the Canal du Nord was tasked to the British First Army, with the Canadian Corps, under the leadership of General Arthur Currie of Strathroy, Ontario, leading the attack. Once the Corps was across the canal, they were to capture the Marquion Line, the villages of Marquion and Bourlon, Bourlon Woods, and then secure the line between Fontaine-Notre-Dame to Sauchy-Lestreé. The Battle of the Canal du Nord started on September 27th and was successfully completed by October 1st, 1918. Lance Corporal Elgin Eby was killed on September 30th.

 

 

Military documents are attached below.

The War Diary narrative of events from September 27th to October 1, 1918, are below: