Friday, 11 November 2011

A Remembrance Day Tribute to a Namesake

Private John Reid, Regimental Number 3032933, was like thousands of others we honour on 11 November, just doing his duty with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

His death was no spectacular "over the top" action. He was "Killed instantly by enemy shell fire while moving forward with his battery to take up positions south of TILLOY during a heavy enemy bombardment." Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras.

According to his  CEF Burial Register card, available on, he died on 4 October 1918 while serving with the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

According to his Commonwealth War Graves Commission record he was "Son of the late William and Agnes Wilson Reid; husband of Francis McDougall Reid, of Forest Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland, England." and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

His attestation paper, completed in Toronto on 14 January 1918, gives a present address for him and his mother "Mrs Agnes Riley" in Fairpoint, Ohio. Birth information given is 20 Sept 1891 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was occupation merchant and had previously served for 2 years with the 8th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

His CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registration card gives his next of kin as Mrs F Reid of Forest Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne. On the back it names Mrs Agnes Riley and Mary Wilson (grandmother), both of Amsterdam, Jefferson County, Ohio.

If we speculate that Mrs Agnes Riley was his sister then there is a Scottish census entry (Ancestry transcription) that fits most of the available information, a John C Reid born in Glasgow, father William, mother and sister both named Agnes, as well as another sister named Margaret.

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