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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

72nd Battalion and the 16th Canadian Scottish


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Hello, I am reintroducing myself to this Forum as it's been a few years since I participated. I'm doing background research into my Great Uncle (Arthur Forbes Ruddock) who enlisted in September 1915 with the 72nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders and was subsequently transferred to the 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish. He was killed on the first day of Vimy Ridge. I thought some members of the Forum might be interested in an incredible "find" the other day. Someone reached out to me on my Blog (www.perspectivesonthefront.com) and said they had an envelope that had been mailed to my Great Uncle and then "Returned To Sender" as a result of his death at Vimy Ridge. A few emails later (after initial skepticism on my part) the envelope was sent to me by its owner. I've attached a picture. A few days after receiving it, I was in Toronto and swung by the individual's office to thank him personally. I'm still amazed at his generosity in forwarding it on, and also excited by the avenues it has opened in researching his past - as an example, I now know the company and platoon in which he served. I do have a couple of questions for anyone who could answer. On Forbes's Attestation Papers there are 2 witnesses who signed different parts. In both cases they were merely soldiers who had, themselves, enlisted with the 72nd Battalion over the preceding 2 days. Was this common practise - to have other soldiers be the witnesses to new men enlisting - perhaps it was their first "duties" - to act as witnesses? Thank you


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  • 3 weeks later...

What a lovely postal cover, and even more so because it was addressed to your ancestor.

To answer your question, it was not common practice to pick new fellows out to sign the attestations of other new fellows.

Generally, the witnessing would be by an Admin NCO and/or a clerk who dealt with the paperwork.

But, every unit had its own methods, which changed over the months of the war and did not always follow official form.

p.s. I don't suppose the letter was still inside the envelope?

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Thank you for your response, and thoughts on the enlistment process. No, unfortunately there was nothing included in it, although the information on the envelope, as an example the P.O. Box is interesting and likely to lead me to another piece of the puzzle. He and his parents left the town 7 years earlier and moved to the other coast of Canada, so it's interesting that someone who would not have seen him in seven years sought to write him. Thank you again on your insight on the enlistment process. Regards, Scott

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