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Private Emmett Bernard McLeod In early November, 1918, in what was to be the dying days of World War I, the 85th Battalion Canadian Infantry (the Nova Scotia Highlanders), part of the 12th Canadian Brigade, 4th Canadian Division pushed against the rear-guard of the retreating German army. The advance was difficult with heavy fighting and resistance. Emmett McLeod a Private in the 85th Highlanders has been in the firing line seven weeks. On November 4, the battle line was pushed forward about two miles by the 4th Canadian Division. The village of Onnaing and the western part of Rombies fell after severe fighting. The 4th Division continued its attack on November 5, and clearing Rombies and the southern part of Quarouble, crossed the River Aunelle River between Rombies and Marchipont. The German army fought with great stubbornness in an attempt to prevent the crossing. But, with this advance the first troops of the Canadian Corps crossed into Belgian territory. On the morning of November 6th at 5.30 in the morning, on instructions from Brigade Headquarters and in conjunction with the 78th Battalion on the left and the 102nd Battalion on the right, an attack was launched by "A"and "B" Companies of the 85th. The goal was the capture of Fosse No. 2, the town of Quievrechain, with the Aunelle River as the objective with bridgeheads to be established across the river in Belgium. Machine guns from the 4th Canadian Machine Gun Corps and Vickers guns from the Motor Machine Gun Corps were attached directly under the orders of the Battalion. "C" Company was in support and "B" in Battalion reserve. The attack took place on a four-platoon frontage under cover of a heavy rolling barrage. "A"' Company met stiff opposition at Fosse No. 2 and sent two platoons to the right and two to the left of it, enveloping the Grassier and Fosse buildings. After severe fighting, both hand-to-hand and bombing, they cleared the German soldiers from the area and at 6.30 advanced toward Quievrechain. "D" Company on the left, in the face of strong opposition cleared Quievrechain of the enemy, having gained all objectives at 7.21 a.m. Posts were pushed forward across the Aunelle River along the line of the Honnelle River, in Belgian terrirory. Severe artillery and machine gun fire was encountered during the day, but the artillery was brought to bear and the enemy machine gun fire reduced. The six inch Newtons were brought up to engage a German sniping gun that was causing some trouble; but before they could be placed in position the offending gun had been withdrawn. The Newtons, however, pounded other targets. The Vickers guns kept up a harassing fire all along the line, and were very effective in covering the bridgeheads on the different company's frontage. The advance achieved important progress. The villages of Marchipont, Baisieux, and the southern portion of Quievrechain were taken by the 4th.Canadian Division. During this, the last operation of the war in which the 85th Battalion took part, the casualties were comparatively heavy. Lieutenant Lantz, and 14 other ranks were killed, and 3 officers and 27 other ranks wounded. The 2nd Canadian Division relieved the 4th Canadian Division during the night of November 6 and 7. The 4th Division were withdrawn to rest in the Anzin-Aubry area, just west of Valenciennes. It was in the heavy fighting and chaos of the battle on November 6, in the face of the enemy artillery fire, machine gun fire, exploding shells and hand to hand fighting that Emmett McLeod severely injured was taken from the battlefield to the battalion aid station. He did not survive the injuries. Emmett was born on March 28th, 1895 Town Road in Prince Edward Island, the son of Raymond and Jane McLeod. He was a painter by trade and was 22 years 9 months old when he was called before the Army Medical Board. He appeared before the medical board in Summerside on October 22, 1917. His medical record showed his height at 5 feet 7 inches and a weigh of 129 pounds. His complexion was recorded as medium; his eye colour blue and hair colour brown. The medical record displayed the spelling of his first name as “Emmet”. He was called to service on February 26, 1918. His Regimental Number was 3204062. His Form of Will, dated the same day bequeathed his personal estate to his mother, Jane McLeod. Emmett arrived in England aboard the troop ship SS Ulua April 19, 1918. The Ulua was constructed as a passenger ship for the United Fruit Company and completed in 1917. The ship was requisitioned as a British troopship and carried a total of 728 officers and 15,344 troops on military voyages. On April 24, 1918 he was transferred to the 85th Battalion from the 17th Reserve Battalion. Transfer orders were issued for a transfer to the 38th Battalion on Oct 4 and to the 112 Battalion on Oct 17; however both orders were cancelled and Emmett remained with the 85th. News that Emmett had been killed in action was received by his parents on Thursday, November 21st in a telegram from Ottawa. The news would come as a shock after the armistice of November 11 and his expected arrival home from overseas with the end of the war. Emmett Bernard McLeod is buried in the Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Plot: I. C. 4.
Private Emmett Bernard McLeod 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Regiment) World War I
From Summerside, Prince Edward Island Newspapers (November 1918)
KILLED IN ACTION Private Emmett Bernard McLeod 1895 - 1918 Another gallant Summerside boy laid down his life for freedom and liberty. The shocking message was received by Mr. and Mrs. Ray McLeod, Summerside on Thursday November 21st, stating that their youngest son Emmett Bernard McLeod was killed in action on Nov 6th. The death of Pte. McLeod's sister, Miss Maude which occurred three months before her brother's death in action makes a double bereavement in this home. The news caused a terrible shock in the home. After the news of victory was made known the terrible message was not expected and his parents were looking to his home coming. Pte. McLeod was twenty-three years of age at the time of his heroic death. This hero was a painter by trade and was one of Summerside's valued citizens and a large number of friends mourn his early death. He left home early in March, was transferred to France in the 85th Highlanders has been in the firing line seven weeks. His broken hearted parents, one brother Fred who was wounded in September but now is convalescing in the 1st Canadian Hospital, Cambridge, England and another brother Daniel and Mrs. Jerry Doucette, Lillian and Margaret of Summerside and left to cherish the memory of one who has fought and died for … humanity. May he rest in peace
Private Emmett Bernard McLeod A terrible shock came to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond McLeod of Summerside on Thursday, when even though the cessation of hostilities seems stale news now, they received from Ottawa a telegram stating that their son, Private Emmett McLeod had been killed in action on Nov 6th. This is the second affliction that has befallen them this year, their daughter, Miss Maude having passed away last summer. The late Private McLeod was a painter by trade and one of the most popular and valued citizens of Summerside and only went overseas in March last. To the bereaved family our heartfelt sympathy is extended.