Enlistment of Decorated Soldier – Lorne Armstrong

Enlistments – May 9, 1916

Six men enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion on May 9, 1916. One man did return home.

654780, ARMSTRONG, (Pte.) Lorne Wilson, “C” Company, D.C.M, enlisted in London, ON on May 9, 1916. His next of kin was his father, George Armstrong of Varna, ON.

After training at Carling Heights in London, Ontario and at Camp Borden, Ontario, Private L.W. Armstrong boarded a train for Halifax, where he shipped out to England. On November 30, 1916, he was one of over 200 men from the 161st Huron Battalion that were taken on strength with (transferred to) the 58th Infantry Battalion, Central Ontario Regiment. He and the other 58th Infantry Battalion replacements arrived in France around December 4, 1916.

Private Lorne Armstrong participated in the Battle for Vimy Ridge in April 1917, Lens in August 1917, Passchendaele in October 1917, Lens in December 1917, Amiens in August 1918 and the second Battle of Cambrai and Canal du Nord in September and October 1918. He suffered severe impetigo infections on December 30, 1917 that sent him to the #9 Canadian Field Ambulance for a week. He was again stricken with the same infections on January 2, 1918, which resulted in him being shipped to #6 Canadian Field Ambulance for two weeks.

During the battle of Vimy, Private Lorne Armstrong was assigned to capture an enemy trench. As he advanced, his squad dwindled in numbers until there was only himself and a couple of new soldiers left. According to his nephew Elmer Stephenson, Private Armstrong told the new soldiers, “If you two retreat I’ll put a bullet through both of you myself.” They captured their objective.

On February 2, 1918, he was promoted to rank of Lance Corporal and on February 17, 1918 was again promoted, this time to the rank of Corporal, followed by a promotion to Lance Sergeant on March 25, 1918.

Lance Sergeant Lorne W. Armstrong was one of three 161st Huron veterans who were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His citation and medal were the result of his bravery at the battle of Amiens on August 8th in the village of Demuin, France, where he was “one of a party that worked round a fortified house and bombed the enemy out, during the fighting in Demuin. His daring and skilled bombing materially assisted in the clearing of this position. He afterwards led his platoon through to the final objective, at all times showing coolness and good leadership.” The next day, he was promoted to Sergeant. While serving in France with the 58th Battalion he distinguished himself with his determination and courage.

Sergeant Lorne Armstrong was also awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.

On September 29, 1918, during the Battle of Canal du Nord and Cambrai, Lorne was wounded in the back left shoulder in fighting near St. Olle. On October 1, 1918, he was taken to a Field Hospital and later transferred to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital at La Treport, France. From here, he was transferred back to England where he remained in various hospitals until June 10, 1919, when he shipped out of Liverpool on the H.S. Essequbibo, that landed at Portland in the U.S. From there he travelled by train to London, ON and was admitted to military hospital. There he endured operations, fevers and pain. On December 4, 1919, he was discharged.

Lorne Armstrong returned home and farmed on the Goshen Line in Stanley Township, near his neighbour, Alan Armstrong, for many years. He died in Westminister War Veterans’ Hospital in London, ON on December 7, 1963.

654785, BUCHANAN, (Pte.) Robert Leslie, “C” Company enlisted in Londesborough on May 9, 1916. His next of kin was Robert Buchanan of R.R. 3, Blyth, ON.

Private Robert Buchanan survived WWI and was living in Auburn, ON in 1935.

654787, HUNKING, (Pte.) Norman, “C” Company, enlisted in Londesborough on May 9, 1916. His next of kin was his father, Thomas Hunking, a farmer on the 13th Concession of Hullett Township.

Private Norman Hunking survived WWI.

When he died on January 8, 1923, his obituary in the Clinton New Era on January 18, 1923 read, “The death occurred at his home, on the 13th Concession of Hullett Township of Norman Hunking, aged 28 years, 6 months after an illness of several weeks. The deceased was born in Hullett and had spent most of his life here. He was a son of Mr./Mrs. Thomas Hunking, now of Goderich. Norman had enlisted and gone overseas with the 161st Battalion. While in France he had taken ill (possibly with trench fever) and was hospitalized for several months, but had recovered and, for a while, after his return (to Huron County) was in seemingly good health. However, his old trouble returned. Last fall he sold his stock and decided to give up farming. He is survived by his wife, the former Miss Lily Lee and two children. Private Norman Hunking is also survived by his father, Tom and a brother, Harvey. Three sisters, Mrs. A. McLeod of Clinton, Mrs Charles Vodden of Clinton and Miss Susan Hunking of this township also survive. The funeral took place at his late residence. Interment was in Hope Chapel Cemetery (in Hullett Township).

654797, RIVETT, (Pte.) George Cameron, “B” Company, enlisted in Goderich on May 9, 1916. His next of kin was Mrs. Roderick Rivett of  Dungannon, ON. Private George Rivett was photographed with Goderich’s Own at Camp Borden, standing in the back row (Soldier No. 37)

While serving overseas in France, Private George Rivett fought with the 58th Toronto Battalion.

Private George Rivett survived WWI. He was photographed with other Vimy veterans during a Vimy banquet at the Goderich branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in April 1967 that was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.

George Rivett died on August 2, 1973.

654788, ROBERTSON, (Pte.) Frederick Montague, “B” Company, enlisted in Goderich on May 9, 1916. Goderich was his hometown prior to WWI.

Prior to enlisting, F.M. Robertson worked for Canada Post in Ottawa. He gave up a good job and returned home to enlist with the 161st Huron Battalion.

Private Fred M. Robertson was photographed with Goderich’s Own in the lower row, 2nd from the left. Behind him, standing is J.W. Straiton (#2), Russ Bell (#3) and to the left of Private Frederick Robertson is Benson Bell.

Private Frederick Montague Robertson did not survive WWI. He was killed in action on April 15, 1917 at Vimy.

654782, STEPHENSON, (Pte.) George Henry, “D” Company, enlisted in Seaforth on May 9, 1916. His next of kin was Mrs. Ida Stephenson of Seaforth, ON.

Private George H. Stephenson survived WWI. In 1935, George Stephenson living in Seaforth, ON.

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