Two Recruits Were Later Awarded Medals of Valour

161st Battalion Enlistments – March 11, 1916

Two of the following nine men enlisted, who enlisted on March 11, 1916 were awarded Military Medals for valour in the field .

654569, BARRON, (Pte.) William George, “A” Company enlisted in Brussels, Ontario. His next of kin was Alexander Barron of R.R. 2, Brussels, Ontario.

In 1935, W.G. Barron was a returned soldier, living in Brussels, Ontario, according to N.W. Miller’s nominal roll.

654563, BELL, (Pte.) Russell Melton, “B” Company was one of four Bell brothers who enlisted with the 161st Battalion’s “B” Company. Private Russell M. Bell’s brothers, Wilfred L. Bell and Robert Bell also enlisted with the 161st Hurons. Private Russell Bell returned from the United States, where he had been serving with a Marine Corps to join the Goderich “B” Company.

Private R. M. Bell served with the 7th Canadian Machine-Gun Brigade for active duty in France. In October 1917, at the Battle of Paschendaele, he was wounded. Before his front line duty ended, he was wounded a second time. A July 25, 1918 edition of the Goderich Star reported Private Russ Bell was in a hospital in Chichester, England recovering from that wound.

When the war was over, Russ Bell returned to the United States, moving to Stockton, California, according to his younger brother, Robert Bell, a former Huron County jailkeeper. He died in California in the 1960s.

654570, BEST, (Sgt.) John Harris, “D” Company enlisted in Seaforth, his hometown before and after WWI. His next of kin was John M. Best of Seaforth. He had prior military duty with the 33rd Huron Regiment.

While overseas in England, Sgt. J.H. Best was a member of the 161st’s Sergeants’ Mess and is featured with them in a photo of the Sergeant’s Mess, standing in the 2nd row at the extreme left. John Best survived WWI, but died in 1936. He was buried in the Maitland Cemetery, east of Goderich. Prior to his death, he practiced private law with his family’s law firm in Seaforth. A military funeral was held for John H. Best.

654571, BLACK, (L. Cpl.) William, “C” Company enlisted in Clinton, ON. His next of kin was John Wallis Black of Goderich, ON. He was born in 1896 in Ashfield Township. Lance Corporal Bill Black had a brief overseas stint. He returned from England in 1917 suffering from asthma and bronchitis. According to fellow Battalion member, Bill Shazel’s widow, her husband used to say, “Corporal William Black had flat feet and was scarcely able to pass the army medical.”

By 1935, Bill Black was living at 4171 Saint Joan Street, Detroit, Michigan. He was also listed on the honor roll at the Goderich Anglican Church WWI Honor Roll. He died on June 30, 1969 at the age of 73.

654585, HEARD, (Pte.) John Leonard, “C” Company enlisted in Clinton. His next of kin was Mrs. Isabelle F. Heard of Brucefield, ON.

John Heard served as President of the Clinton Legion branch from 1938 to 1939 and remained an active member.

654573 PteThomasChasLutton

Sgt. T.C. Lutton

654573, LUTTON, (Pte.) Thomas Charles, “M.M” enlisted in Wingham. His next of kin was Tollerton Lutton of Wingham, ON. He was born in Ireland. Before going overseas, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was pictured as a member of the 161st Sergeant’s Mess sitting in the top row, 4th from the left in a photo taken at Witley Camp near Milford, Sussex County in England in December 1917.

He was also profiled in the publication by the Wingham Advance, entitled Huron County War Memorial. According to the publication, “Sergeant Thomas C. Lutton has been gassed and buried in shell holes and gone over the top many times.” Sergeant Thomas Charles Lutton went to France with the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Western Ontario Regiment and while there was awarded the Military Medal for valour in the field.

By 1935, Tom Lutton was at the London Post Office in London, ON.

654583, McKAY, (L. Cpl.) John Blain, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich, ON, his hometown before and after WWI. His next of kin was Ms. Margaret A. McKay of Goderich, ON. Lance Corporal John B. McKay had prior military experience with the Huron 33rd Regiment. John McKay was photographed with Goderich’s Own at Camp Borden in the 3rd row, 19th row from the left.

In a February edition of the Goderich Signal it was noted that Lance Corporal John McKay “has been in France since April, 1917. He was recently admitted to a hospital there, suffering “trench fever.”

After the war, John McKay worked briefly at The Goderich Organ Factory, formerly on East Street, Goderich. He later took a business course at the Clinton Commercial School, was working as a bookkeeper at the Goderich Elevators when he died on October 2, 1924.

654576, McNEVIN, (Pte.) Alexander, “B” Company enlisted in Goderich. His next of kin was Joseph McNevin of Goderich, ON. According to his sister-in-law, Mrs. M. McNevin of West Street, Goderich, “My husband, Joe and Alex., were both overseas during the Great War.”  He served with the 18th Battalion on the European battlefield.

When Alex McNevin returned home after the war, he became a rural mail courier on route 5 (RR 5) in Goderich. He died on February 10, 1953.

654723, TERRY, (Pte.) John Edward, “C” Company enlisted in Clinton, ON. His next of kin was Edward F. Terry of Listowel, ON.

While serving with the 58th Infantry Battalion of the Central Ontario Regiment, Private John Edward Terry was awarded the Military Medal for valour in the field.

On N.W. Miller’s nominal 1935 roll, Pte. E.F. Terry was listed as having died since the war.

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