The 117th Eastern Townships Overseas Battalion, CEF
"The only Eastern Townships Battalion to leave Canada"

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WELCOME TO THE 117th BATTALION WEBSITE

 

On this page you will find a short introduction to this website along with instructions as to the best way to navigate through the various pages of this website.

This webpage is dedicated to the men and officers who, during the months of November 1915 and August 1916, attested for service with the 117th Eastern Townships Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Despite the passage of 92 years since the end of The Great War, it is my desire to honour these men and bring them together, as they were in 1916, as the 117th Eastern Townships Overseas Battalion.

Though this is a work in progress that began in 2003, one can say it actually began on May 24th 1916, when on a warm, rainy day in Sherbrooke, Roy Trussler attested with the 117th Battalion. Arthur Trussler, Roy's younger brother attested one day earlier. Both Arthur and Roy sailed to England with the 117th and both saw service at the front with the 24th Battalion and the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles (5 CMR), respectively. In May 2003, Roy Trussler's medals were dusted off and thus began my research and the genesis of this website.

Though I knew that Roy Trussler had served, it wasn't until I began my research that I learned that Arthur Trussler also served. I could not limit myself to researching the war service of Roy and not Arthur, thus completing some long overdue Trussler family history. However, as I began my research into the Trussler brothers, I realized that information on the 117th Battalion is limited, and that an official history was never written. I felt that I could not limit myself to researching only two men while the remainder of this once fine battalion went forgotten. Thus began the arduous, but enjoyable, task of compiling a complete Attestation Roll, and determining the final disposition of these men.

The disbandment of the 117th Battalion in January 1917 posed a dilemma for my research. With the men transferred to other battalions already serving in France, was my research to include the history of these battalions as well? By doing so the scope of my project, apart from exponentially increasing the workload, loses the central focus of the 117th Battalion. As such, I chose to represent the men, to the best of my ability, within the formation of the 117th Battalion.

In May 2005, my wife and I enjoyed a pilgrimage to France and Belgium to follow the footsteps of 749164 Private Roy Trussler, who was tranferred to and served with 5 CMR in France. Since the majority of 117th boys served with 5 CMR, following Private Trussler's footsteps gave us the best opportunity to follow as many former men from the 117th Battalion.

While in France and Belgium I photographed the gravesites of 146 117th Battalion men who were killed in Europe during the Great War. In total 169 117th Battalion men were Killed in Action or later died as a result of wounds received. 23 of those men are buried in England, Quebec, Ontario, and USA. I hope to visit their gravesites in the future.

I believe that the purpose of our pilgrimage was two fold. First, it allowed us to put into perspective the atmosphere of WWI. It is one thing to read history books and try to imagine what it all means. It is another thing to be there and see first hand the time and space of war. I had read about the Menin Gate and the 55,000 names that are etched on the stone walls. However, to see the magnitude of 55,000 names, the appreciation of the Belgian people, and the daily ceremony to remember those who fell is an experience my wife and I will never forget. Secondly, by photographing the gravesites and compiling them on this website I feel as if I was able to "bring them home" to be side by side with those whom they attested with so many years ago.

This project is a work in progress. It is in its infancy stage and will grow and improve in the future. My goal is to present a photograph and as much information on each soldier listed in the nominal role. These pages will be updated as I get more information. If you have any information regarding any of the soldiers of the 117th Battalion I ask you to contact me. Credit will be given for photographs and other information. I welcome any questions, comments, or criticisms.

If you would like a photograph of a soldier or his gravesite, please contact me. I would be happy to provide you with a higher resolution jpeg free of charge. All I ask is that you ask me. Thanks.

Navigating through this website.

This website is divided into 2 categories: HISTORY and VIRTUAL MUSEUM.

HISTORY is the main category for this website. Under History you will find several sub-categories that further define the history of the 117th Battalion:

BATTALION HISTORY is a short history of the 117th Battalion.

ATTESTATION ROLL is a complete listing of all the men who attested with the 117th Battalion. The Attestation Roll is searchable either by regimental number or by last name.

NOMINAL ROLL is a complete listing of those soldiers who sailed to England as part of the 117th Battalion.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR is a complete listing of those soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice.

THE COMPANIES is a partial listing of men of each company of the 117th Battalion.

DESSERTERS is a listing of those 117th Battalion soldiers who listed as desserters.

VIRTUAL MUSEUM comprises of several pages dedicated to 117th Battalion memorabilia, photographs, and special collections of individual soldiers.

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO HELPED

Over the years, many people have provided me with information and services to assist me in compiling this website. Without their help, understanding, and eclectic knowledge this project would not have been possible.

1. Dr. Derek Booth, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec

2. Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group - http://www.cefresearch.com/phpBB2/

3. Member of the Central Ontario Branch Western Front Association - http://www.cobwfa.ca

4. Eastern Townships Research Centre, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec

5. Lennoxville-Ascot Historical & Museum Society (LAHMS) - access to scrapbooks of newspaper articles and clippings. The scrapbooks were compiled by Ada Willard - date unknown.

6. La Société d'histoire de Sherbrooke

7. National Archives of Canada

8. Charlotte Cardoen-Descamps, Poelkapelle, Belgium - her local knowledge of Passchendaele and Source Farm is greatly appreciated. The Varlet Farm is an excellent B&B which I highly recommend - www.varletfarm.com,

9. Major Christopher Galvin, DCO Sherbrooke Hussars

10. 14th Battalion, CEF, Royal Montreal Regimental Musuem

11. Mr. Eric Trussler, Lennoxville, Quebec - info and memorabilia on 749164 Pte R Trussler and 749163 Pte A Trussler

12. Mr. Ralph Farley, Montreal, Quebec - info and photograph contributions on Lieutenant Ralph Farley

13. Mrs. Sigrid Kube, Finch, Ontario - info and hand-written letters by 748082 Percy Adams, DCM, MM

And finally, but not least, I would like to display my appreciation to my wife whose patience and understanding is always at the fore. Her devotion to this project never waned and her tears shed at our Commonwealth War Graves visits highlights the importance of this project and why lest we forget.

Disclaimer: Information that is presented in these pages are from public sources and I have not presented any confidential or private materials without consent from those concerned. I have, to the best of my knowledge, sought and recieved permission to use photos and images that are not from public sources or do not belong to me. All photographs of gravesites are copyrighted and belong to the owner of this site.

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