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Name; Private Edwin Woollard Regimental Number: 283236 Rank: Private Service: 219th Battalion/85th Battalion; (Nova Scotia Regiment) Date of Birth: August 23, 1892 Place of Birth: Richmond, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: March 28, 1916 Place of Enlistment: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Address at Enlistment: South Ohio, Nova Scotia Age at enlistment: 23 Height: 5 Feet 8 Inches Complexion: Light Eye Colour: Light Blue Hair Colour: Light Brown Prior Military: 29 Battery, C.F.A. Yarmouth NS Trade: Butcher Marital Status: Married Religion: Baptist Next of Kin: Mrs Elsie Woollard (Wife), South Ohio, Nova Scotia Date of Death: October 30, 1917 Cause of Death: Missing, presumed Killed at Passchendaele Age at Death: 25 Memorial: Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 26 - 30) Listed on the Nominal Roll of the 219th Battalion. Commemorated on Page 353 of the First World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on July 30 and July 31 Edwin Woollard was the son of Captain Frank Woollard. He was married to Elsie L. Woollard, of South Ohio, Yarmouth Co., Nova Scotia. He was the adopted son of William Durkee, Richmond, Yarmouth Co. NS. Edwin enlisted at Yarmouth with the 219th Battalion and in England was attached to the 17th Reserve Battalion until he joined the 85th Battalion on June 7, 1917. He was reported wounded and missing in action on October 30th, 1917. The following letter was received by his wife, Elsie in April, 1918.
Edwin Woollard
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France, March 27, 1918 Dear Mrs. Woollard I am going to write a few lines and give you what information I can about your husband. We are in the front lines trenches and I am writing this in my dugout. I was going to wait until we got out of the line but we never know when that will be, so i will try and tell you what little I know about your husband. He was a man we all knew and all liked. As he was attached to our medical office for a few weeks we knew him well and since the Battle of Passchendaele we have all hoped for the best. But now it is useless to hope for I think, Mrs. Woollard, that your husband has paid the supreme sacrifice and has given his life for his God and country. Well I do remember the morning of the 39th October and never will I forget it as long as I live. At 9:40 our big guns spoke and we were away in that hell of bursting shells and flying shrapnel. We were only able to advance a few hundred yards when we were held up by the Germans for a period of twenty minutes. It was only then that we had all our casualties and it was then that the stretcher bearers were busy. I am a B Company stretcher bearer but our company was right next to your husband’s Company and in the battle I got in with that Company. I saw your husband lying in a shell hope and when he saw me he waved his hand for me to hurry up and come to him, but I had a good many cases to look after before I could get to where he was. When I finally got there I found him lying in the side of a shell hole in water up to his knees and helpless. The first thing I did was to get him out of the hole with the help of a German Red Cross prisoner, who by the way, helped me to dress his wounds and stayed with me for over a half hour. When I finally got to Mr. Woollard’s wounds I found that he was wounded in two places in the left leg close up to the body and in the back. That was the worst one, if not fatal. It took us some time but your husband took it all fine. The only thing he said was, “I am all in”. I told him not to worry and he would make “Blighty”all right. After dressing his wounds I covered him up with his greatcoat and told him that the stretcher parties would soon pick him up. I had lots of work to do so I had to leave him and that was the last I saw of him. It was some time before our stretcher bearers were able to get on that hillside to pick up the wounded and in that time the German artillery had got busy and were pounding that side of the hill all to pieces. I really think that hill or ridge changed its face of nature about ten times in the next twenty-four hours and should your husband have lived I am afraid that another shell would have finished its deadly work. But, Mrs. Woollard, I think the wound your husband got was fatal. There is no possible chance that he was taken prisoner for our front line was then about 500 yards in front of where he was wounded and if he had got out, the system that the hospitals have should have let you know at once. I am sorry if this letter has hurt you, Mrs. Woollard, but I thought you would want the plain facts and I have given them to you as it was. I regret that I haven’t that German Red Cross fellow’s name for he was a man if ever there was one in Germany. So, now, Mrs. Woollard, I think we will have to resign ourselves to the fact that your husband has gone to a better front where all is peace and quiet and there he awaits your coming and all we can do is to “carry on” until our Father calls us home to live with Him. If there is anything more you would like to know I would be only too pleased to tell you but I think I have told you all. I am, Yours very truly, Pte. Gerald B. Mills 85th Battalion
Sources: Canadian Virtual War Memorial Library and Archives Canada A Monument Speaks, Arthur Thurston