|Date of Birth||June 5, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Crosshill, Ayrshire|
|Next of Kin||Robert Harvey, Crosshill, Maybole, Ayrshire|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||August 4, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||21|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 6, 1917|
|Age at Death||23|
|Buried At||no known grave/Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial|
|Plot||Panel 18 - 26 - 28|
Samuel Harvey was one of a dozen Kenora/Keewatin area men to fall in the Second Battle Passchendaele which took place between Oct. 26 and Nov. 10 of 1917, to the east of Ipres (Ypres), Belgium. Called on to replace battered British and Australian/New Zealand troops, the 100,000 strong Canadian Corps used a multi-phase plan of attack. Samuel’s battalion, the 28th (North West) was part of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Division and joined the battle on Nov. 6 for the third phase of the attack.
Moving into the line on the night of Nov. 5/6, the Brigade launched its attack at 6 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 6 with their objective being the village of Passchendaele and the high ground around it, about 1,000 yards away. While mud and shell holes were common features of the terrain, the route of attack for the 28th Battalion was particularly bad as it was through a low, swampy area with men at times wading knee and waist deep through mud while under heavy fire.
The objective was reached but at a high cost for the 28th Battalion. The unit’s war diary noted total casualties вЂ” dead, missing and wounded вЂ” were 270 out of the 612 who’d gone into battle. Along with Samuel Harvey of Keewatin, Edgar Fortin (199355) of Kenora, another member of the 28th Battalion was one of those who died. The war diary lists 4 officers killed in the battle, 54 other ranks killed outright and 9 dying of wounds; 26 men were missing, or known as wounded but missing; and 8 officers and 168 other ranks wounded. Due to the heavy losses the battalion was pulled from the line in the early morning hours of Nov. 7, barely 24 hours after entering the battle. According to the 28th battalion history, Cpl. H.C. Baker of 28th Battalion, writing in his diary noted: ‘My impression was that we had won the ridge but lost the Battalion.’
Samuel was born June 5, 1894, one of three sons and two daughters of Robert and Mary Harvey of Crosshill, Ayrshire, Scotland. His father was a tailor there. Samuel had come to Keewatin in March 1913, to join his brother Robert who was already working in Keewatin as a baker. His immigration form indicated he’d worked as a farm hand but hoped for employment at the Keewatin flour mill, however he is not on their Honour Roll list of 1919, and on his attestation form only said he worked as a labourer.
Samuel was listed in the Kenora Miner and News as one of the men signing up for a company of 110 men local being formed for Canada’s 3rd Contingent in December on 1914, however he didn’t actually enlist until the following August. It could be he failed the initial medical examination required at the time. When he did enlist on Aug. 4, 1915, it was at Camp Sewell in Manitoba and his medical examination noted ‘teeth to be attended to’. His older brother Robert enlisted at the same time, Aug. 5, in Kenora as a member of the 52nd Battalion.
Initially assigned to the 53rd (North Saskatchewan) Battalion, after training in Canada, Samuel shipped overseas in April of 1916, and was taken on strength by the 28th (North West) Battalion on June 9, 1916 when he arrived in France.
During his time with the 28th Battalion Samuel would have taken part in major battles in the Somme in the fall of 1916, Vimy Ridge in the spring of 1917 and Lens in the summer of 1917. He’d been granted 10 days leave on Sept. 22, 1917, returning to the battalion in the field on Oct. 6, 1917, just a month before he was killed in action.
Samuel Harvey’s name is recorded at the Menin Gate Memorial вЂ” Panel 18-26-18 вЂ” and on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque honouring mill employees and citizens of Keewatin, Ontario who died or served in the war. He is also commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin for King and Country plaque, on the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour, and on the Keewatin Cenotaph in Beatty Park in Keewatin.
by Bob Stewart