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Remembered Today:

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry


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Hello all

Do we have a resident expert on Canadian units on the GWF?

Edward Llewellyn Davy Thomas was born in Ludgvan, Cornwall in 1888. He volunteered for the Cornwall RGA (Territorial Force) in c1909 and was promoted to corporal after 2yrs. In 1912 he emigrated to Canada and on 24 Aug 1914 he enlisted for service in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He was posted as Pte No.1712 to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry PPCLI. I have a copy of his service record from Library & Archives Canada but this contains only his attestation papers. I've traced this unit's movements from Canada, first to England and then to France with the 27th Div. BEF and know that Pte. Thomas was with them in France. A local newspaper reported that news of his death from enteric fever at a base hospital in Boulogne reached his parents in Ludgvan on 22 Feb 1915. My problem is that this man is not listed in the CWGC Debt of Honour Register so I have no idea exactly when he died or where he was buried. Neither is he listed in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. I've searched an online transcript of the PPCLI War Diary but not unexpectedly did not find anything about this man. Where else might I look to find him? I'd be very grateful for any suggestions.

Penzance Bill

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You may consider joining Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (CEFSG) Forum - similar to GWF.

Canadian Archives have an ongoing centenary project to digitise all their service files - proceeding alphabetically. I'm sure CEFSG will give you an indication when they will teach surnames starting with letter T.


Steve Y

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E L Davey-Thomas (with a hyphen) is listed in the roll of officers and men of the First Canadian Contingent which travelled to England and Salisbury Plain in October 1914. (Purists would like me to point out that the Pats were attached to the Contingent, rather than part of it.)

Reports in local newspapers mentioned that as they arrived on the Plain each detachment of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was preceded by a small flag with the name of a Canadian state (the papers meant province) on it. The Pats bragged that they had passed three other battalions on their march from Amesbury station to Bustard Camp.
On November 4 the King visited the Contingent, where His Majesty judged the Princess Pats to be 'the finest battalion I have ever inspected'. Their commanding officer, Francis Farquhar, had said on 21 October that his men would be fit for service in 10 days. Certainly of all the units hastily formed in August and September 1914 the Pats had the most experienced soldiers.
They were soon to leave the Contingent and the Plain,being among the first Canadians to go to France.
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According to records from Ancestry: Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919, he died in No. 14 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne on 20.2.15. He was buried at Wimereux Cemetery in Grave No. 218, in Plot 1 Row D Grave 218, there is then a second note that he was buried in Plot 1 Row D Grave 11 with one other B.R. 21375.

The Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 confirms this information, in particular the initial burial information.


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Well - I'll go to the foot of our stairs !

Many thanks Kath, Steve, Moonraker and Mark for the links and background information.

I can see why I didn't find him. His surname was THOMAS, forenames Edward Llewellyn Davy (without the 'e'). I had tried the hyphenated surname DAVY-THOMAS but didn't find him because of the missing 'e'. The third forename was a related surname, the same family that had included the eminent scientist Sir Humphry Davy, who lived in the parish of Ludgvan. Force of habit I'm afraid. I taught for many years at the grammar school in Penzance named after the inventor of the miners' safety lamp and it was always drummed into pupils (and staff) that "there is no 'e' in Humphry, no 'e' in Davy and no 'e' in grammar" !!

Penzance Bill

Edited by Penzance Bill
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