Saturday, July 31, 1915

Trenches – Ploegsteert

The Battalion War Diarist wrote nothing for this day: [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: After “standing to” till dawn, “That evening British artillery bombarded trenches and the ruins of a village to the 14th Battalion’s right, the Royal Montrealers commanding a magnificent view of proceedings and agreeing that a bombardment of someone else’s trenches provided a spectacle thrilling in the extreme.” [2]

31 July 15On this date in 1915 The Gazette of Montreal carried this story about the wounding of two Montreal soldiers, one of whom was serving with the 14th Battalion.

A MOTHER’S DILEMMA: “That the wounding of a brother has in no ways acted to deter other members of the same family from answering the call to arms is illustrated in the case of two Canadian soldiers whose names figure in yesterday’s casualty list, and whose brothers are now at Valcartier preparing to take the places left vacant on the firing line.

Corporal Eugene Bourcier, of the 14th Battalion, who is reported wounded in yesterday’s list lived with his mother at 563 Centre Street at the time of his enlistment with the first contingent, and was employed as bookkeeper in a corn and feed store on Notre Dame Street. He was only 19 years old when he joined the 14th, and had not been connected with any of the local volunteer regiments.

‘I hear,’ said Mrs. Bourcier, last evening, ‘that he is wounded in the thigh, but have not received word whether he is in a hospital or a prisoner of war. He was young to go to war, but what would you do? I could not deny him when he wanted to go, and already his brother is on the way to the front, as he is training with the 60th at Valcartier. There are two others at home, so while I am sorry to lose the ones who have gone, I try to tell myself that I must give them to the service of France and England, who are fighting together.’” [4]

Corporal Eugene Bourcier, No.26414: Corporal Eugene Bourcier was born in Pointe St. Charles, Montreal, June 26th 1895 and was an accountant by the time he enlisted for active service in 1914 at the age of 19 yrs 3 mos.  He joined the 65th Carabiniers (Mont Royal) and was a member of the draft from that regiment posted to the newly organized 14th Battalion in August of 1914.   Proceeding overseas with the 14th he was serving in France when he received gunshot wounds in the right thigh on July 20, 1915. He was admitted to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital at Le Touret, France, before being sent to England for further treatment. Upon recovery he returned to duty in France with the 14th on August 18th, 1916.  On November 14th 1916 his record was noted “Reported missing Sept. 26th, 1916.”  Then on July 17th 1917 his records were amended to read “Prev. repd. missing now for official purposes presumed to have died on or since September 26, 1916.”  His record was further amended again on January 8th 1918 with this update: “Prev. rep. missing now Killed in Action. Sept. 26, 1916.”

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, July 31, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089764.jpg
[2]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 65
[3]   “Fresh Men Replace Wounded Brothers,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Saturday, July 31, 1915, pg. 5, col. 1.
[4]   Ibid
[5]  http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B0928-S083