161st Battalion Enlistments – March 22, 1916

On March 22, 1916, two of the fourteen men enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion did not return home after the war.

654621, ANGER, (Pte.) George Hugh, “A” Company enlisted in Wroxeter, ON. Private George Anger’s next of kin was William Anger of Gorrie, ON. Private George Anger’s older brother, Jim Anger also enlisted with the 161st Battalion.

George Anger was photographed with Wroxeter’s Own in the middle row, first on the left. He was also photographed with his brother, Jim, in a Flags of Freedom setting at the Bramshott Military Studios. (Photo on p.187 in Huron Overseas).

George Anger recounted that, “While I was overseas, in England, I was an army cook for the 25th Reserve at Bramshott Camp. I was transferred to this battalion in February 1918 after the 161st Huron Battalion was broken up.”

George H. Anger continued cooking after the war, when cooked for his brothers, who were running a logging camp in Howick Township, despite many offers from logging companies in northern Ontario. George Anger moved to Shuter St., in Wingham and became a life member of the Wingham branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. He rode with ten other 161st Battalion veterans in Goderich’s Jubilee 3 parade on July 9, 1977.

654600, BEATTIE, (Pte.) Thomas Alexander, “D” Company enlisted in Seaforth, ON. Private Thomas Beattie’s next of kin was Ms. Elizabeth Beattie of Seaforth, ON.

Thomas A. Beattie returned from WWI and was living in Seaforth, ON in 1935.

654670, BEERE, (Pte.) Wyndam Irby F., “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, ON. He was a native of South Africa, whose next of kin was Ms. Eleanor Beere of Goderich, ON. Private Wyndam Beere had former military experience with the Imperial Forces in the Boer War.  Private Bill Beere was photographed with Goderich’s Own squatted in the front row, 2nd from the left.

While overseas, Private W.I.F. Beere served with the Labour Battalion in France. After 11 months of work at the front, he was overcome with rheumatism and returned to Canada.

When he returned to Goderich, he worked at the Goderich Organ Factory as a night watchman. He was also a bugler and played his bugle at Remembrance Day memorial services at the Goderich cenotaph.

654602, CARPENTER, (Pte.) Raymond Hurtel, “D” Company enlisted in Seaforth, ON. Private Raymond Carpenter’s next of kin was his uncle, George Sills of Seaforth, ON. Private R.H. Carpenter was born in the U.S.

According to Frank Sills of Seaforth, “George Sills was my grandfather and founder of our store. Raymond Carpenter was his wife’s nephew. Ray’s mother died while he was still quite young so he was sent to Seaforth where our grandfather raised him as one of our own. Ray went to elementary and high schools here in Seaforth. When the 161st was being organized, Ray enlisted and went overseas. After the war, he became a bank clerk. At one time, he was working for a parole board.”

Ray Carpenter was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He was photographed in the 161st Sergeant’s Mess standing in the top row at the extreme left and was identified as Sgt. R. Carpenter.

654694, CLAIRMONT, (Cpl.) Maximillian, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, ON, his hometown before and after WWI. Corporal Max Clairmont’s next of kin was Ms. Mary Clairmont of Goderich, ON.  Corporal Max Clairmont was photographed with Goderich’s Own seated at the end of the 3rd row (#32) and in the 161st Sergeant’s Mess photo in the 3rd row, 9th on the left.

During his front line duty with the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Western Ontario Regiment, Corporal M. Clairmont was awarded the Miltary Medal for bravery on the field.

After the war, Max Clairmont returned to his pre-war job in marine salvage and construction. He gained international recognition as an expert commercial diver. Max Clairmont was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 109 when he died on August 13, 1968.

654627, CURSON, (L. Cpl.) James Robert, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, his hometown before and after the war. Lance Corporal James Curson’s next of kin was Ms. Nellie Curson of Goderich, ON. James R. Curson was born in England. He was photographed with Goderich’s Own in the 2nd back row, 21st from the left.

When James R. Curson returned from overseas, he became a lifelong employee of the Victoria Public School as their custodian. He died on May 26, 1967.

654605, GRISDALE, (Pte.) Leslie Alwin, “A” Company enlisted in Wingham, ON. Private Leslie Grisdale’s next of kin was Ms. Mary Grisdale of Wingham, ON. Private L.A. Grisdale had previous military experience with the 33rd Huron Regiment. He was photographed with “A” Company, standing in the back row, 10th from the left.

This A Company photo was featured in the April 6, 1967 edition of the Wingham Advance-Times as part of the Vimy’s 50th Anniversary feature.

654628, HALL, (Pte.) William Victor, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, ON. His father William J. Hall was also a member of the 161st Battalion. Private Bill Hall Jr was photographed with Goderich’s Own in the second back row, 22nd from the left.

In October 1918, the Goderich Signal reported that “Private Wm. V. Hall was recently gassed during the Battle for Cambrai. He survived the war

In 1935, Bill V. Hall was living at 126 Adelaide St., in Toronto, ON.

654610, JOHNSTON, (Pte.) Milton Alfred, “D” Company enlisted in Hensall, ON. Private Milton Johnston’s next of kin was Thomas Johnston of Zurich, ON. Private M.A. Johnston was photographed with the “D” Company standing in the 2nd back row, 18th from the left.

According to Private M.A. Johnston, “After going over to England, I was drafted to the “scouts section’ of the 47th Battalion. During my front line duty, I was wounded at Roclencourt in October 1918. It was Dr. Fred Thompson of Clinton who bandaged my wounds that night.” After some months in military hospitals in England, Milton Johnston was invalided home to Canada.

Milton A. Johnston was discharged on May 13, 1919. He started farming west of New Liskeard in northern Ontario. When he and his wife retired in 1972, they moved into New Liskeard. He later moved in with his married daughter in Kingsville in Essex County, ON.

654665, JOHNSTON, (Pte.) George Reginald, “D” Company enlisted in Hensall, ON.

Private George Johnston did not survive WWI. While fighting with the 58th Battalion in France he was fatally wounded on April 10, 1917 at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Private G.R. Johnston was remembered on the Royal Canadian Legion Cenotaph #468 in Hensall, ON as G.R. Johnson as well as on the Village of Exeter’s Great War Memorial for fallen WWI soldiers.

654612, LEPPINGTON, (Pte.) Wilbert, “C” Company enlisted in Clinton, his hometown before and after the war. Private Wilbert Leppington’s next of kin was William Leppington of Clinton, ON. Private Bert Leppington had previous military experience with the 33rd Huron Regiment. Both he and his brother, Tom Leppington, served with the 161st Huron Battalion.

The two brothers also served overseas with the 58th Battalion.

Bert Leppington was killed in a sudden accident at the Clinton Flax Mill on September 6, 1922.

654616, McKAY, (Pte.) Kenneth, “D” Company enlisted in Seaforth, ON, his hometown before WWI. Private Kenneth McKay’s next of kin was Adam McKay of Seaforth, ON. Private Ken McKay was photographed in a snap taken in Witley Camp, England by 161st band member, A. Rollinson and identified as Saddler McKay.

During the war, Private Kenneth McKay served with the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Western Ontario Regiment in France. He was awarded the Military Medal for valour on the field.

After the war, in 1935, Ken McKay lived in Vancouver, British Columbia.

654649, ROWLAND, (Pte.) Clifford Edward, “A” Company enlisted in Brussels, ON. Private Clifford Rowland’s next of kin was J. Edward Rowland of R.R. 1, Ethel, ON.

Clifford E. Rowland survived the war and was living in St. Catherine’s, ON in 1935.

654650, SHARPIN, (Pte.) Melville, “A” Company enlisted in Wroxeter, ON. Private Melville Sharpin’s next of kin was James Sharpin of 14 Rhodes Ave. Toronto, ON. Private Mel Sharpin was photographed with Wroxeter’s Own in the middle row, 11th from the left.

Mel Sharpin died March 18, 1935 on N.W. Miller’s nominal roll in 1935.

654652, STEELS, (L. Cpl.) Frederick, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, ON. Lance Corporal Frederick Steels’ next of kin was his mother, Mrs. Philip Steels of Sheppardton in Colborne Township. Lance Corporal F. Steels was photographed with Goderich’s Own standing in the back row (#32).

According to Fred Bates, a fellow 161st member, Fred Steels was “one of three best-groomed men in “B” Company and won a prize of ten shillings.” Private Fred Steels was killed in action on September 27, 1918 at Cambrai.