Harry Kirby Burnett

Soldier’s Details:

Born: May 14, 1892
Where: New Westminster, BC
Died: May 25, 1979

Enlisted: June 1, 1916 (service file)
Married: No
Reg. #1015517
Regiment: 231st Overseas Battalion, 72nd Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada)
Rank: Private, Lance-Corporal (1917), Sergeant (Oct. 26, 1918)

View his original letters on Flickr
View letter transcriptions on my blog


June 1916
1 –   Enlisted in the 231st Overseas Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

May 1917
23 – Arrived in France as part of the 72nd Overseas Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

June 1917
26 – Wounded.  Details unknown. In his letter dated Dec. 16, 1917 he mentions a wound to his left wrist but it’s unclear if this is a different wound.

October 1917
7   – Writes letter, likely while stationed at the 4th Canadian Infantry Base Depot in France.

November 1917
23 – Rejoined Battalion near Auchel in northern France
27 – Battalion takes part in a Marching and Firing competition

December 1917 (War Diary Pt 1Pt 2Pt 3Pt 4Pt 5Pt 6Pt 7Pt 8Pt 9)
1   – Battalion spent day testing small box respirators in gas chamber in Rimbert. Writesletter.
5   – Day devoted to advance voting for the Dec. 17th election, considered to be the bitterest in Canadian history.  The war diary states “It is believed that an overwhelming majority for the Government was polled in this Battalion”.  The Government supported conscription while the Liberal party did not.  The Government won 153 seats to the Liberals 82 and the Military Service Act, which became law on Aug. 29, remained in place.
9    – Writes 

13 – Battalion awards Military Medals for “valiant services at Passchendaele” (but Harry does not receive one).
16 – Writes letter
17 – Battalion moves from Auchel to Canada Camp at Chateau de la Hare
18 – 72nd relieves 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion
19 – 72nd enters the trenches
23 – 72nd relieves 38th Battalion in the line. Harry’s “D” company enters Avion trench.
24 – War diary states “On Christmas Eve a considerable amount of snow fell as if in preparation for a Merry Xmas”.
25 – War diary states “The morning broke clear & cold and with the snow made ideal Christmas conditions. There was very little Bosche activity of any sort during the day. A great many Xmas parcels had been sent up to the men & these parcels together with a Battalion issue of cigarettes & candy made a very enjoyable Christmas as far as circumstances would allow.”
30 – 72nd relieved by the 50th Battalion and were back in Vancouver Camp, Chateau de la Hare by 2:30am.
31 – Battalion supper and concert for men. The Pipe Band “played the Old Year out and the New Year in”.

January – September 1918 – to be added

October 1918
19 – 72nd moves forward from Aubencheul-au-Bac to Fosse St. Roch. Sends Whiz-Bang.
26 – Received Promotion to Sergeant.


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