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A Soldiers Story


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Title: A Soldiers Story

A Soldiers Story
Corporal Edmond Allain 44137
1892 - 1982
By Paul Poirier
Born on May 15, 1892 in Rogersville, New
Brunswick. He was the son of Abraham Allain and
Marie Arseneau.
Marie and Abraham Allain
He had three brothers and six sisters.
Marie and Abraham Allain
His father Abraham was a stonemason and
plasterer, who helped build the Rogersville
Church and later, the town monument.
Typical at the time his mother was a
housewife and attended to the needs of raising
the children and doing what was needed to provide
for the family.
Marie and Abraham Allain
As a young man Edmond worked in farming and as
a laborer.
World War I
August 4, 1914 Britain Declares War on Germany
Sir Wilfrid Laurier spoke for the majority of
Canadians when he proclaimed "It is our duty
to let Great Britain know and to let the friends
and foes of Great Britain know that there is in
Canada but one mind and one heart and that all
Canadians are behind the Mother Country." Prime
Minister Robert Borden, calling for a supreme
national effort, offered Canadian assistance to
Great Britain. The offer was accepted, and
immediately orders were given for the
mobilization of an expeditionary force.
World War I
August 6, 1914 Canada makes the decision that an
appropriate force to send to Britain would be one
On the same day the first recruit arrives in
Montreal and the Canadian 1st Division begins
to build itself
Canadian 1st Division
1st Division
1st Brigade
2nd Brigade
3rd Brigade
4th Brigade
1st Battalion
5th Battalion
13th Battalion
9th Battalion
2nd Battalion
6th Battalion
14th Battalion
10th Battalion
3rd Battalion
15th Battalion
11th Battalion
4th Battalion
8th Battalion
16th Battalion
12th Battalion
In January 1915 the 4th Brigade was
dispersed. The 9th, 11th, and 12th Battalions
were assigned as training depots. The 10th
Battalion was sent to the 2nd Brigade. By the
end of January 1915 the division was comprised of
3 Brigades
Denotes unit Corporal Edmond Allain would be
assigned to
Canadian 1st Division
1st Division
1st Brigade
2nd Brigade
3rd Brigade
1st Battalion
5th Battalion
13th Battalion
2nd Battalion
6th Battalion
14th Battalion
3rd Battalion
15th Battalion
4th Battalion
8th Battalion
16th Battalion
10th Battalion
1st Division after January 1915
Denotes unit Corporal Edmond Allain would be
assigned to
14th Infantry Battalion
14th Battalion
1st Company
5th Company
2nd Company
6th Company
3rd Company
7th Company
4th Company
8th Company
When arrived in England battalions were reduced
from 8 to 4 Companies so they would be
structured like the British battalions
Denotes unit Corporal Edmond Allain was attached
14th Infantry Battalion
14th Battalion
1st Company
2nd Company
3rd Company
4th Company
Battalion structure after arriving to Britain in
Denotes unit Corporal Edmond Allain was attached
Colors of the 14th Infantry Battalion
What is unique to this particular flag are the
roman numeral XIV in the center, which
commemorates the fact that the regiment
perpetuates the 14th Battalion of the WWI
Canadian Expeditionary Force and the badge of
the Royal Canadian Armored Corps at the bottom.
Only infantry regiments carry colors.
On April 15th 1915, Edmund Allain began the
process of enlisting into the armed forces. It
was not however until April 23rd did he actually
sign his attestation papers and May 14th, 1915
before he received final approval for military
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New recruits at Valcartier He was sent to
training at Valcartier Quebec for approximately 2
months before shipping out to England on August
15th, 1915
Upon arrival recruits were medically examined,
This is where he would have received final
medical approval for service on May 14th, 1915
Meals at Valcartier
Sleeping quarters at Valcartier
Here soldiers prepare to ship out to England
from Valcartier
14th Infantry Battalion
14th Infantry Battalion
Arriving in England
By the time he arrived in France the 14th
Battalion had already distinguished itself as a
well trained and disciplined force. This unit
arrived in battle and only left when the fighting
was over. Although they suffered a tremendous
amount of casualty, theyre bravery and courage
shall forever be etched in the archives of
Canadian and World history.
Salisbury Plain
Canadian soldiers arriving in England were sent
to Salisbury Plain for training prior to being
sent to France
English artist Anna Airy was hired to paint a
kitchen at the Canadian training camp at Witley,
south of London, England. "The food . . . was
atrocious, and after about a week there was a
near mutiny over this." Private Alfred G. May,
When soldiers arrived at the Front, the first
thing they saw were the lines of wounded soldiers
being taken to the rear. As they got closer, they
could feel the earth shake, and hear the constant
crump crump of artillery shells. The sound was
loud enough to make their ears ring, and became
their companion for the remainder of their tour.
Then they saw a series of muddy trenches littered
with the waste of war. Boxes, cart wheels, wire
and often the bodies of the dead and dying were
strewn everywhere. These were the reserve
trenches, far enough from the battle for soldiers
to try to grab a little rest from all the madness
in the front line.
On The Homefront
Posters of WWI
The following is from the commanders log of the
14th Infantry Battalion from September 1st,
1915 when Edmond Allain arrived to the
Battalion, to the day he was wounded on June 6,
14th Infantry Battalion
September 1915
14th Infantry Battalion
September 1915
This is where the 14th Battalion was located when
Edmond arrived in Belgium
14th Infantry Battalion
September 1915
Both sides constantly dug tunnels from their
trenches reaching under the enemies trench and
then they would blow it up In the picture to
the left shows how the British army hired
civilian miners from England to do some of their
14th Infantry Battalion
October 1915
Rear of Hill 63  Artillery were stationed up by
the building, while a railway line ran down the
middle of the corn field to the point the photo
was taken from.
View from top of hill 63
14th Infantry Battalion
October 1915
Faces of World War I
14th Infantry Battalion
November 1915
Canadian soldiers in the trenches used these
periscopes to view the front as German snipers
were constantly looking for targets
14th Infantry Battalion
November 1915
Picture of Red Lodge which is referred to in the
diary of the 14th battalion in the previous
slide. It served as headquarters and was located
next to Underhill Farm.  Close by was the
entrance to the Catacombs tunnels housing
troops and command.
14th Infantry Battalion
December 1915
14th Infantry Battalion
December 1915
Canadian soldiers preparing a meal for themselves
in the trenches
Although it would be impossible to tell but
doesnt this Canadian soldier look like Edmund
14th Infantry Battalion
January 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
January 1916
On The Homefront
14th Infantry Battalion
February 1916
Trenches near Village of Meteren
14th Infantry Battalion
February 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
February 1916
Note leap year.
14th Infantry Battalion
14th Infantry Battalion
March 1916
Ypres 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
March 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
March 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
Ruins of Swan Chateau where the 14th Battalion
was on March 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
April 1916
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14th Infantry Battalion
April 1916
Canadas' Boy Soldiers
The youngest soldier known to have served in the
Canadian Expeditionary Force was just 13 years old
14th Infantry Battalion
May 1916
On The Homefront
14th Infantry Battalion
May 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
Canadian Soldiers of the 14th Infantry Battalion
14th Infantry Battalion
May 1916
Nectaire Theriault Baie Ste Anne
Damas Arseneau Pointe Sapin
Photo taken while on leave somewhere in
England. These soldiers were all from Company 4.
At the time soldiers were assigned to units with
men from the same region and who spoke the same
language. Many soldiers knew each other before
joining the army.
Edmond Allain
The following is from the Commanders log from
June 1st, 1916 leading to the incident upon which
Edmond Allain was wounded on June 6, 1916.
The complete log of the Battalion is
incredibly fascinating. The conditions and
horrors of war these men endured are beyond
Serge jacket
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This is how Lewis gun ammo came packed 
Battles leading up to the Somme St Eloi Craters,
Mar. 27-Apr. 16 Mount Sorrel, June 2-13   At the
battle of St. Eloi the 2nd Division received its
"baptism of fire" in a battlefield of
water-filled mine craters and shell holes. The
Canadians, wearing the new steel helmets which
had just been introduced, suffered 1,373
casualties in thirteen days of confused attacks
and counter-attacks over possession of six
water-logged craters and the dominating land on
which they sat.   For the 3rd Division, the
initiation to battle was even more devastating.
This time the Germans mounted an attack to
dislodge the Allies from their positions at Mount
Sorrel just south of the Ypres-Menin Road. In the
fiercest bombardment yet experienced by Canadian
troops, whole sections of trench were obliterated
and the defending garrisons devastated. Human
bodies and even the trees of Sanctuary Wood were
hurled into the air by the explosions. As men
were literally blown from their positions, the
3rd Division fought desperately until overwhelmed
by enemy infantry. By evening the enemy advance
was checked, but the important vantage points of
Mount Sorrel and Hills 61 and 62 were lost. A
counter-attack by the Canadians the next morning
failed and on June 6, after exploding four mines
on the Canadian front, the Germans assaulted
again and captured Hooge on the Menin Road. As a
result the Commander of the Canadian army Corp
was replaced by Lieutenant General Sir Julian Byng
Battles leading up to the Somme St Eloi Craters,
Mar. 27-Apr. 16 Mount Sorrel, June 2-13   The
newly appointed Commander of the Canadian Corps
was determined to win back Mount Sorrel and Hill
62. He gave orders for a carefully planned
attack, well supported by artillery, to be
carried out by the 1st Canadian Division under
the Command of Major-General Currie. Preceded by
a vicious bombardment, the Canadian infantry
attacked on June 13 at 130 a.m. in the darkness,
wind and rain. Careful planning paid off, and the
heights lost of on June 2 were retaken. The cost
was high. At Mount Sorrel Canadian troops
suffered 8,430 casualties, including General
Mercer, who was killed by shrapnel while visiting
the front line at the opening of the German
assault. The Cost 1,373 casualties in thirteen
days at St Eloi 8,430 casualties at Mount Sorrel
14th Infantry Battalion
July 1916
He worked at night transporting ammunition to the
trenches in tramways that ran on 2x4 wooden
tracks. This was to make as little sound as
possible. Enemy snipers were constantly vigilant
and would fire at the sight or sound of movement.
As this was night work he rested during the day.
This he would do continuously for 8 days and then
rotate back to duty in the trenches for another 8
days and begin the cycle all over gain.
14th Infantry Battalion
June 1916
Edmond was wounded in the left arm while in the
trenches on June 6, 1916. He was struck by a
bullet an inch above his left wrist fracturing
both bones in his arm. Alone sitting in the
bottom of the trench he administered first aid to
himself by cutting his puttee (leg warmers) with
a knife he carried to eat with. He wrapped his
wound as best he could.
Canadian Army World War One puttees or wool leg
wrappings were nine feet in length with two-foot
cotton tape at the end.
14th Infantry Battalion
The first stage of care Canadian medical
personnel tend to wounded in a trench, the Somme
- 1916.
To better protect himself from the battle around
him he attempted to run behind a large boulder.
Before he could get there, he was struck in the
side as a result of a shell explosion. He was
thrown in a hole where the large boulder had
been. He then lost consciousness for several
When he regained consciousness , his arm had bled
so much the blood had run all the way down his
side. This made him very weak. He then made for
the communications trench which ran from the
front line to the rear. He found it to be
impassable as it was full of reinforcement and
soldiers bringing ammunition to the battle.
14th Infantry Battalion
Canadians at the front in 1916, with troops
leaving front line trenches while relief units
moved in to take over.
He said the wounds to his side were much more
painful than his arm. He began to walk along the
trench in a field. He ran when the pain wasnt as
bad and walked when he couldnt run anymore.
During this time he saw a Scottish Soldier
running ahead of him when a shell struck the
soldier. He said the soldier had completely
disappeared in the explosion.
He described the shelling was constant but he
continued across the battlefield for about 2
miles when he eventually reached a first aid
station behind a mountain. He was treated and had
a cup of coffee.
The 'walking wounded', making their own way to
medical care, receive a welcome drink behind the
lines. A horse-drawn ambulance stands ready to
carry the less mobile. Near Ypres, 1916.
14th Infantry Battalion
Members of a Field Ambulance apply dressings to a
wounded soldier near the front
14th Infantry Battalion
A wounded man being unloaded from an ambulance at
a Casualty Clearing Station in 1916. Usually
located from six to eight kilometers behind the
front. Casualty Clearing Stations were the first
stage in the evacuation system where the wounded
could receive attention from a qualified surgeon.
14th Infantry Battalion
Casualty Clearing Station No. 3, in 1916.
Following evacuation from the front, the
seriously wounded could receive surgical
treatment here before being evacuated to larger
hospitals even farther from the front lines.
14th Infantry Battalion
July 1916
Patients in a ward, Casualty Clearing Station No.
1, near Ypres, July 1916
14th Infantry Battalion
Military regulations permitted nursing sisters to
go no closer to the front than the Casualty
Clearing Station. Here, a surgical team,
including a nursing sister, works on a wounded
patient at Casualty Clearing Station No. 2, Remy
Siding near Poperinghe.
14th Infantry Battalion
July 1916
A patient being loaded onto a hospital train at a
Casualty Clearing Station, for transport to a
larger Stationary or General Hospital farther
back the Somme, 1916. Casualty Clearing Stations
were usually located next to railway lines to
allow patients to be evacuated by train.
Corporal Edmund Allain Wounded June 6, 1916
The intensity of World War I trench warfare meant
that about 10 of the fighting soldiers were
killed. This compared 4.5 killed during World
War II. For British and Dominion troops serving
on the Western Front, the proportion of killed
was 12 while the total proportion of troops who
became casualties (killed or wounded) was 56.
14th Infantry Battalion
14th Infantry Battalion
German supplies captured by the Canadians near
Memorial to the fallen heroes of the 14th
14th Infantry Battalion
Soldiers of the 14th Battalion at an unknown
village in Belgium
The following is a brief account in his own
words (in French) of his days in the Great War
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He lived his life with 1 arm shorter than the
other and endured several operations

Like many soldiers he had a sweet heart back
home. Her name was Sophie. The following is a
letter he sent to her after he returned to New
Brunswick . He apologizes for not having yet
called on her and writes her a poem.
What I love the most in a garden, are the
flowers But in the world, you are loved
greater in my heart
Edmund Allain
October 31st, 1917
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They spent a long life together
Edmond Allain was a tremendously brave and
courageous man . He witnessed horrors of war
unimaginable to most people. Throughout his life
he enjoyed telling stories of his past but always
remained humble. I am proud to be his grandson.
The End
(To be posted soon Camp Ripple)
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