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15-25 August 1917

Harold Evans Staples

My grandfather was Harold Evans Staples (1896-1973). His reg. # was 1001062. He signed up with the CEF in 1916 in Swan River, Manitoba, with the 226th Battalion. However, on proceeding overseas he was transferred to the 27th Battalion. He saw combat at Hill 70, Passchendaele, Mons, and Cambrai. In my research I've confirmed that he was involved in the fighting at Hill 70 on (at least) 21 August 1917. 

In the diary that Grandpa kept (which we think were his reflections written down in 1967, prior to giving a speech at the Benito, MB. Centennial celebration), we find the following:

"We were sent in to go over at Hill 70 which had been taken and lost nine times by various troops. It was at dawn in a day in August 1917 we made slight progress in the early stages, but were forced to retire with heavy losses and by night found us defending the same trenches we had held before. We were relieved by the second night by an imperial battalion minus all but six men of our original 40 men of my platoon. A number of them being wounded, which some of them returned to the batt. in later months after some time out of the line.”

In another version of his diary (we are fortunate to have 3 separate versions), he specifically mentions that himself and his brother Ira were 2 of the 6 men, out of the 40, who responded to the roll call. 

When I carefully compared the information given in Grandpa's diary with the War Diaries available on the LAC site, I conclude that Grandpa was most likely in "A" Company of his Battalion. This information helps me picture further the horror that he experienced. 

At Passchendaele Grandpa was wounded by an exploding shell on 6 November 1917, and spent subsequent months in hospitals in the United Kingdom. He would return to Canada in 1919, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was promoted Lance Corporal and became the leader of a Lewis Gun section. In his diary he mentions shooting down 2 German planes on separate occasions. 
Brothers Harold and Ira
My granduncle (my grandfather's younger brother) was Ira J. Staples (1898-1918). Ira's reg. # was 1000581. Like Harold, Ira too signed up with the 226th Bttn. in Swan River, MB., but ended up in the 27th Bttn., seeing combat at Hill 70 and Passchendaele, until finally being Killed in Action at the tender age of 20 on 8 June 1918 at Mercatel. Because the Casualty Circumstance cards provided on the LAC site only go up to the surname "Sims", I am unable to find details surrounding Ira's death. 
Ira J. Staples
Ira J. Staples
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