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Name: Celestin Doucette Regimental Number: 282672 Rank: Private Battalion: 219th Battalion / 47th Battalion Date of Birth: February 25, 1898 Place of Birth: Quinan, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: March 9, 1916 Place of Enlistment: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Address at Enlistment: Wedgeport, Nova Scotia Age at Enlistment: 18 Height: 5 Feet 5½ inches Complexion: Dark Eyes: Dark Brown Hair: Dark Brown Prior Military: 29th Battery, CFA, Yarmouth NS Marital Status: Single Trade: Fisherman Religion: Roman Catholic Next of Kin: Joseph Saulnier, (Step Father) Wedgeport, Yarmouth Co., NS Date of Death: September 6, 1918 Age at Death: 20 Cemetery: Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension Pas de Calais, France; Plot: IV. A. 58. Commemorated on Page 399 of the First World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on August 28 Listed on the Nominal Roll of the 219th Battalion Celestin was the son of Sylvia Saulnier, of Wedgeport, Yarmouth Co., Nova Scotia, and the late Gervais Doucette. He joined the 219th Battalion and trained in Canada from enlistment to October 1916. He embarked Canada at Halifax on October 12, 1916 and disembarked in Liverpool, England on October 19, 1916. He sailed on the SS Olympic. At Bramshott Camp he was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on January 23, 1917 and transferred to the 161st Battalion at Witley Camp on February 8, 1917. On February 28, 1918 he proceeded overseas to France for service with the 47th Canadian Battalion and was struck off strength with the 161st Battalion. He joined the 47th Battalion in the field on March 4, 1918. The Drocourt–Quéant Line ran between the French cities of Drocourt and Quéant and was part of a defensive system that ran from a point within the Hindenburg Line, eleven miles west of Cambrai, northward to within seven miles west of Douai and terminated along the front east of Armentières. The Drocourt–Quéant Line incorporated a number of mutually supporting lines of defence. The system consisted of a front line system and a support line system, each consisting of two lines of trenches. The system incorporated numerous fortifications including concrete bunkers, machine gun posts and heavy belts of barbed wire. On September 1, 1918 the trench strength of the 47th Battalion was 29 officers and 772 other ranks. The Battalion was billeted in the Beaurains area and received orders to move at 3:00 pm into the forward area, preparatory to attacking the Drocourt-Queant trench system. The march was made via Wancourt and Neuville Vitaase to the assembly positions allotted to the Battalion which was reached about 2:00 am on September 2. An enemy gas concentration was encountered when crossing Remy Valley but no casualties were incurred. At 5: 00 am On September 2, the Battalion was in position in front of Servins Copse and went over in conjunction with the 85th Battalion on the right and the 50th Battalion on the left. The attack was covered by a creeping barrage. The belts of enemy wire were found uncut, but a few gaps were located and others cut by hand. The support companies leap-frogged the assault companies on reaching the 2nd line according to plan and the support companies advanced to the fourth trench line which was the objective set. The enemy protective barrage was prompt and heavy but the soldiers got away so quickly that only a few casualties were incurred. Enemy garrison in the trench system put up a stiff resistance, chiefly by their machine gunners, but the whole were very quickly overrun and either killed or taken prisoner. The tanks, which co-operated in the attack prevented the enemy machine guns crews from functioning. The number of prisoners taken by the Battalion was approximately 500. The battalion lost 12 soldiers killed in the action, with six officers and 115 other ranks wounded. On September 2, 1918, Private Doucette after having reached the objective of the battle was severely wounded in the chest by shrapnel from an enemy shell. He was immediately attended to, but succumbed to his wounds four days later on September 6, 1918 at No 42 Casualty Clearing Station. He was buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, eight and one half miles north west of Arras, France.
Celestin Doucette
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