|Date of Birth||April 23, 1888|
|Place of Birth||Eardley, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Alice Lusk (mother), Eardley P.O., Quebec|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Fort Frances, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||January 29, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||26|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||September 1, 1918|
|Age at Death||30|
|Buried At||Queant Road Cemetery, France|
|Plot||VIII. G. 12.|
The final period of the war, from 8 August to 11 November 1918, is known now as the Hundred Days Offensive. The Canadian Corps had some of their greatest victories during that time but they also suffered heavy losses, with 20% of their total battle casualties occurring in the last three months of the war. One of the fallen was Private Andrew Gibson Lusk who was killed in action on 1 September 1918.
Andrew was the son of James and Alice Jane Lusk of Eardley, Quebec. James and Alice (née Gibson) had at least ten children and Andrew, their youngest son, was born on 23 April 1888. James was a farmer and for the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses the family was listed in the township of Eardley, an area northwest of Ottawa on the Ottawa River. Andrew’s ancestors were Irish and they’d first settled in that part of Quebec in the early 1800s where they owned land, farmed and engaged in lumbering. The local village of Luskville was named after them. When the 1911 census was taken Andrew was 23 years old and living at home with his parents and seven of his brothers and sisters. His uncle John Lusk was also staying with the family.
The war started in August 1914 and Andrew enlisted five months later, in January 1915, when volunteers were being recruited for a third overseas contingent. He was living in northwestern Ontario at the time and he enlisted in the town of Fort Frances. His cousin Robert Bruce Lusk was also living in that area and he had signed up a month earlier. The local recruits became part of the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion when it was organized in mid-March. The 52nd was based in Port Arthur and in June 1915 the volunteers were sent there to join the rest of the unit. While they were training the 1st Canadian Division was fighting in France and Belgium. Men were needed to replace casualties in the front line units and battalions in Canada were asked to send reinforcements. Andrew was sent to England with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft in September 1915, one of 250 men from the 52nd Battalion. They embarked from Montreal on 4 September on the SS Missanabie and arrived in England nine days later.
Andrew was transferred to the 12th Reserve Battalion and he had a few more months of training at Shorncliffe Camp in Kent, In February 1916 he was drafted to the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders of Canada) and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field early in March. On 19 April he was temporarily attached to the 2nd Tunnelling Company and in June he suffered a gunshot wound to his hand. The injury wasn’t serious and after just three days in the hospital he was discharged to the Base Depot. He spent another month with a tunnelling company before rejoining the 15th Battalion in September 1916. His unit was at the Somme Offensive that fall and in the spring of 1917 the Canadians took part in the assault on Vimy Ridge.
Following their great success at Vimy the Canadian Corps stayed in the Lens-Arras area and on 4 September 1917 the 15th Battalion moved to Cité St. Pierre on the outskirts of Lens. They supplied parties of men to work on the trench systems and for several days the men were subjected to heavy shelling. On 13 September Andrew was severely wounded when he was poisoned by gas and buried by an exploding shell. He spent the next six weeks in hospitals and convalescent centres. Following several months at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp then a period with the 3rd Trench Mortar Battery he finally rejoined the 15th Battalion in June 1918. He was given ten days leave in Paris in early August and he was back with his unit on the 19th of the month. Two weeks later, on 1 September, Andrew was killed in action during the successful capture of the Crow’s Nest, a German strong point overlooking the Drocourt-Quéant defences. The attack began at 4:50 am and was carried out by the 14th and 15th Battalions.
From the Circumstances of Death record for Andrew: While advancing with his platoon in rear of Crow’s Nest Wood about 9.a.m. on 1st September, 1918, he was hit in the head and instantly killed by shrapnel from an enemy shell.
Andrew was buried in the field and later re-interred in Quéant Road British Cemetery in the village of Buissy, France. He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour for the 15th Battalion and on page 452 of Canada’s First World War Book of Remembrance, displayed in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, In April 2010 the 15th Battalion C.E.F. Memorial Project unveiled a bronze plaque at Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt in France, to commemorate the capture of the Crow’s Nest during the battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line.
Three of Andrew’s cousins served in the war. Jessie Lusk was a Nursing Sister in England and France and her brother Allan was conscripted in 1917 while he was living in BC. They both survived the war. Their brother Robert Bruce Lusk, who had joined the 52nd Battalion with Andrew, died of wounds on 10 May 1916 in Belgium while serving with the 2nd Canadian Brigade Machine Gun Company.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo from findagrave.com, courtesy of International Wargraves Photography Project.