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My Gt. Grand Uncle Private 171898 Percy Forsey 3rd Batt. Royal Regiment of Canada, Toronto "C" Company
(1st Division 1st Brigade)
My Great Grand Uncle Private 171898 Percy Henry Forsey was a member of the 3rd Batt. Royal Regiment of Canada, Toronto. Percy Forsey signed up on Aug 9th 1915 and was on active duty from Jul 29th 1916 until his death at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Apr 1917.
Percy Forsey was a "forgotten soldier" from the 1st World War until a chance discovery in the CEF database.
After Percy's mother had died on 9 FEB 1902 his father John (my 2nd Gt. Grandfather) and his sister Ellen Mary (my Gt. Grandmother) emigrated to Canada around 1903-1904.
Around 80 years later Henry Forsey jnr. who was researching his family history discovered and noted the following.
"Henry Peter Tolman Forsey (his father) recalled saying goodbye to his Uncle John, 1 daughter and 1 son both older than himself".
He went on to note "He recalls his uncle Jack visiting Bristol approx 1923 with his Canadian? second wife. The reason being that his only son John had been killed in action with the Canadian Army at Vimy Ridge in August 1917".
In 1999 my mother made a call to Ellen Mary's descendants in still living in Canada but no one in the family knew anything of a soldier lost in WW1.
Percy Henry Forsey it seemed had been forgotten.
Living in England I decided to search the online CEF database in Canada and within a few minutes had found "John" listed as Private 171898 Percy Henry Forsey killed in action Apr. 1917. I sent off for his papers from Canada and a few months later they arrived. They confirmed Percy's father was John Forsey and had details of his place of birth in Bristol England. The papers even had details of his fathers visit to Bristol England confirming Henry Forsey's story.
With the Canadian WW1 War Diaries going on line I decided to follow as best I could the life and death of Percy Forsey as well as a small bit of the history of the 3rd and 4th Batt. Ontario regiments.
The site is divided into the two main actions Percy Henry/the 3rd & 4th Batt. were engaged in from October 1916 to April 1917. These were the Battle of the Somme 1916 and Vimy Ridge 1917.
The 3rd & 4th Batt. were part of the Canadian 1st Division and was made up as follows.
|1st Batt. Western Ontario||2nd Batt. Eastern Ontario||3rd Batt. Royal Reg. of Can, Toronto||4th Batt. Western Ontario|
|5th Batt. Saskatchewan||7th Batt. British Columbia||8th Batt. Winnipeg||10th Batt. Calgary|
|13th Batt. 5th Royal Highlanders||14th Batt. Royal Montreal Regiment||15th Batt. 48th Highlanders||16th Batt. Can Scots, Brit Columbria|
Link to 1 Divsion War Diary Oct 1916
The Somme Battle details the action from the 8th October where the 1st Brigade attacked the Intersection of the Regina and Below Trenches known then as the Quadrilateral.
The 3rd & 4th Batt. attacking with a combined strength of over 1000 men within around 10 hours of fighting lossed over 700 men killed or wounded.
Information form the War Diary of the 1st Division General Staff and the letters to and findings of the Board of Enquiry into the Actions of the 3rd & 4th Batt. were used to draw up this history.
Link to war Diary of the 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Canada Toronto Apr 1917 to May 1917
This details the actions of the 1st Brigade in particular the 3rd Batt. during the battle for Vimy Ridge April 1917.
I used the war Diary of the 3rd Batt. for the main information source for these pages.
Covering a smaller number of men this diary is much more detailed and where as the General staff diary list actions and losses of Officers the Batt. diary also details losses and wounding to men often with dates, times and locations.