Tuesday 13 November 2012

Captain William Vernon, MC

Born on 10 December 1889 in Peak Frost[?], Derbyshire, England – son of Samuel and Hannah Vernon, Toronto, Ontario – at the time of his enlistment in 1915: trade as commercial traveller; single; no current or previous military service; Church of England; height of 5 feet 10 inches; chest of 38 inches fully expanded; dark complexion; brown eyes; brown hair.

Joined No.3 University Company in Toronto, Ontario, on 28 July 1915 (number 476053) – taken on the strength of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, CEF, on 30 November 1915 – wounded on 2 or 3 June 1916 – invalided to England on 9 June 1916 – commissioned and promoted to lieutenant with the 7th Reserve Battalion, CEF, on 14 February 1917 – transferred to the 38th Battalion, CEF, as a lieutenant on 9 July 1917 – invalided sick to England on 11 March 1918 – rejoined the 38th Battalion on 23 August 1918 – appointed battalion adjutant on 14 September 1918 – killed in action on 29 September 1918 – buried in Bourlon Wood Cemetery (grave II.A.1), France.

Awarded the Military Cross – official citation: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of his company during five days’ operations. He was at battalion headquarters when the enemy opened an intense barrage, and he passed through it in order to reach his company. His judicious disposition of his platoons from time to time was undoubtedly responsible for the small number of casualties.” – unit recommendation dated 6 November 1917: “During operations Oct. 29th to Nov. 2/17 this Officer was in command of ‘A’ Company. He was Hdqrs 85th Bn. on duty when a heavy bombardment was put on apparently preparatory to a counter attack. He immediately returned to his Company through the barrage. His excellent example and entire disregard for personal safety had an excellent effect on his Platoon Leaders and men.”

(sources: Library and Archives Canada (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca), online attestation papers; Canadian War Museum, 19740281-001, Manu 58F 2 3, 207th Canadian Infantry Battalion and 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Nominal Roll; The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum, A400-0007, Master Personnel List for the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force; Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “Debt of Honour” register, www.cwgc.org; Canadian War Museum, 19680229-001, Manu 58C 1 2.18, Honours and Awards, 38th Battalion (Records of recommendations for honours and awards and mentioned in dispatches 19161121 19190117))

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