161st  Battalion Events – May 16, 1916

By May 16, 1916, the Huron Battalion had 35 officers and 790 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men.

Enlistments – May 16, 1916

Eight men enlisted in the 161st Huron Battalion on May 16, 1916. One man did not come home from battle.

654840, BUTCHER, (Pte.) Norman Leslie, “A” Company, enlisted in Wingham on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was Mrs. Mary Butcher of Wingham, ON.

Private Norman Butcher was photographed with “A” Company (aka Wingham/Brussels/Wroxeter boys of 161st Battalion) squatted in the front row, 10th from the left.

During the war, Private Norman Butcher served with the 43rd Winnipeg Battalion.

Private Norman Leslie Butcher survived WWI. According to Wingham editor, William McCool, he served as the bailiff in Wingham for many years after the war. By 1935, he was located at 142 Wellington Street in London, ON.

Norman McCool he died on March 3, 1969, at the age of 72. At the time, he was living in North Bay and was a member of the North Bay branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

654831, BUTTERY, (Pte.) Charles Wesley, “A” Company, enlisted in Brussels on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was William Buttery of Brussels, ON.

Private Charles Wesley Buttery survived WWI and returned to Huron County. By 1935, Charles Buttery was living in Monkton, Perth County, ON.

654832, COUTTS, (Pte.) Andrew Donald, “A” Company, enlisted in Brussels on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was Mrs. Mary Coutts of Jamestown, north of Brussels, ON.

Private Andrew Donald Coutts survived WWI.

In 1935, he lived in Walton, ON. Andy Coutts was killed in a car accident between 1966 and 1967. Andrew D. Coutts is commemorated on the WWI Honor Roll in Duff’s United Church in Walton, ON.

654863, DAVIS (DAVIES), (Pte.) George Newton, “C” Company, enlisted in Clinton on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was George Davies of Clinton, ON. Private George Newton Davies had previous military experience with the Huron 33rd regiment.

Private George Newton Davies survived WWI.

George Davies was a tailor in Clinton for many years and was friends with 161st Battalion veteran, Tom Herman, who ran a men’s clothing store in Clinton. According to Sandy MacDonald, another veteran, J. Silcock, remembered that “Newt Davies … showed me how to waltz.” Newt Davies and his sisters, Margaret and Bessie used to own cottages at Kintail Beach.

Newton Davies died on November 11, 1963, Remembrance Day.

654825, HUNTER, (Pte.) John Graham, “C” Company, enlisted in Exeter on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was William Hunter of R.R. 3, Exeter, ON.

Private John Hunter survived WWI.

In 1935, he was located at R.R. 3, Exeter, ON.

654826, KESTLE, (Pte.) Rufus Wilmer, “C” Company, enlisted in Exeter on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was Ed Kestle of R.R. 1, Centralia, ON.

Private Rufus Wilmer Kestle survived WWI and returned to Exeter, where he married his wife, Lila.

654820, STERLING (STIRLING), (Sgt.) John Dempsey, “C” Company, enlisted in Clinton on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was J. Sterling of Clinton. Sergeant John Dempsey Sterling had also served with the 33rd Huron regiment.

While overseas, Sergeant John Sterling was a member of the 161st Sergeants’ Mess and was listed on the December 1917 Christmas card sent from Witley Camp, England sent home to Robert Redfern’s wife in Goderich, ON.

Sergeant John Sterling survived the war.

John Sterling died on August 8, 1960 and is listed on the Stirling monument in the Clinton cemetery as John D. Stirling 1882-1960. His grave is also marked by a Royal Canadian Legion marker.

654838, WATT, (Pte.) Earl, Blyth’s Own, enlisted at Blyth on May 16, 1916. His next of kin was Mrs. William Riddell of Thornhill, ON. Private Earl Watt was photographed with Blyth’s Own squatted in the front row, 2nd from the left. He and his brother, Private Leo Watt, enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion.

When Private Earl Watt arrived in England, he and his brother were transferred in early December 1916 to the 58th Toronto Battalion and went to the front lines in France. Both brothers survived the battle for Vimy in April 1917.

Private Earl Watt did not survive WWI. He was ordered, along “with other infantrymen, to attack an enemy trench …(and was) killed during hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy on November 9, 1917 at Passchendaele, according to his nephew, Archie Watt, son of Leo Watt. He is commemorated as Earl Watt on the Great War Memorial plaque in the Blyth Memorial Hall.