|Date of Birth||May 28, 1888|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Leo Holihan (cousin), Kilburn, Wisconsin, USA|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||No fixed address|
|Date of Enlistment||November 30, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 15, 1917|
|Age at Death||29|
|Buried At||No known grave; commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France|
Private Richard Regan enlisted in November 1915 and served in France with the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles). He was killed in action in August 1917 at the Battle of Hill 70.
According to his attestation paper and service file, Richard was born on 28 May 1888 in Kenora, Ontario. However, no other record of him has been found and it’s possible his name was an alias. He enlisted on 30 November 1915 in Winnipeg, signing up with the 144th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles). He was of ‘no fixed address’ and next of kin was his cousin, Leo Holihan, in Kilburn. Wisconsin. Leo’s address was later changed to Chicago, Illinois. (Leo was born in Wisconsin in June 1899 and was the son of Daniel Holihan and Katherine Jane O’Neill.)
Richard’s unit trained in Winnipeg and at Camp Hughes near Brandon, Manitoba. In April and May 1916 he forfeited ten days pay for being absent without leave. The recruits headed overseas that fall, sailing from Halifax on the SS Olympic on 18 September and arriving at Liverpool about a week later. In December Richard signed his military will, leaving everything to Mrs. Norman (Marjorie) Folsom of Cleveland, Ohio. (Marjorie was born around 1891 in Wisconsin, the daughter of Ralph Nash and Mary Regan. She married Norman Folsom in August 1916.)
On 12 January 1917 Richard’s unit was absorbed by the 18th Reserve Battalion and he trained with them for another eight weeks. On 5 March he was drafted to the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles) and sent to France. After some time at the base depot and with an entrenching battalion he joined his new unit in the field in mid-April, just after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. At the end of the month the battalion took part in an offensive operation at Arleux. In July the Canadian Corps was ordered to capture the town of Lens in France but General Currie instead supported a plan to take the high ground to the north of Lens. The Canadians began training for what would be the Battle of Hill 70 (15-25 August 1917).
Richard’s unit moved to Hallicourt on 9 August and advanced to the front line on 14 August, taking up positions near the Loos Crassier. The assault began at 4:25 am on 15 August and the 8th Battalion was on the right flank of the 2nd Infantry Brigade during the attack. Richard was killed in action that day, one of 400 casualties suffered by the battalion.
From the Circumstances of Casualty record for Richard: Killed by a rifle bullet in front of the enemy line where his company had entrenched after the attack at HILL 70, Loos.
Richard’s body was not recovered and his final resting place is unknown. He’s commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, which bears the names of over 11,000 Canadians who died in France and have no known grave.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the Vimy Memorial in France.