Pte
James Abercromby

Information about birth

Date of birth:
10/01/1896
Place of birth:
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

General information

Profession:
Farmer
Religion:
Presbyterian

Army information

Country:
Canada
Force:
Canadian Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
123978
Enlistment place:
ON, Chatham, Canada
Units:
 —  Canadian Infantry, 18th Bn. (Western Ontario)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
09/11/1917
Place of death:
Passchendaele, Crest Farm, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
21

Memorial

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Panel: Panel 26Q

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 ‘Place of death’

Additional information

James Abercromby, a former farmer, was born on the 10th of January 1896 in Glasgow, Scotland. On October 1st, 1916, he enlisted at Chatham, Ontario, Canada. He served as a private in the 18th Battalion Canadian Infantry, part of the 4th Canadian Brigade, of the 2nd Canadian Division.

On the 6th of November 1917 the 2nd Division attacked the village of Passchendaele with the 6th Canadian Brigade. Roughly three hours after the attack had commenced the Division had captured all their objectives. After three months of fighting the village of Passchendaele and the eastern crest beyond were now in Allied hands. Meanwhile the 4th Brigade was in reserve. It did not engage on the 6th of November and the 18th Battalion had to carry material and ammunition to forward position throughout the day.

During the night of the 8th and 9th of November the 18th Battalion moved up to the frontline on the Passchendaele Crest, relieving portions of the 22nd and 25th Canadian Battalions. The 18th took up positions in the ruins of what once was the village of Passchendaele. Owing to the bad weather and the continuous shelling of the hillcrest the frontline and support lines were in poor conditions. The mud and water in many places being waist deep. The Battalion remained in these ghastly positions until they were relieved on the 12th of November 1917. During these four days the men were nearly constantly exposed to the elements and the frontline trenches were frequently shelled. The rear country and the tracks leading up to the front were also subjected to continues German artillery fire, making it very difficult to evacuate the wounded to regimental aid posts and bring up rations and ammunition.

Casualties were high. Forty-five men of the 18th Canadian Battalion were killed in action between the 9th and 12th of November 1917. Six officers and sixty men were wounded, and one officer and twenty-five men were exposed to gas. James Abercromby, aged 21, was killed by an exploding shell on 9 November 1917. He was initially buried near Crest Farm at 28.D.12.a.15.91. His remains were not recovered or identified after the war. Private Campbell has no known grave and is remembered on panel 26Q of the Menin Gate Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 5

Circumstances of death Register file of Abercromby, James. Library and Archives Canada, RG150, 1992-93/314, 145, Volume 31829_B016711, Microform 1, 77-78.
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/mass-digitized-archives/circumstances-death-registers/Pages/item.aspx?PageID=25377
Sources used
McCarthy, Chris. Passchendaele: the Day-by-Day Account. (Londen: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018), 160-161.
Sources used
Personnel Record of Abercromby, James. Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, Volume 14 - 30, 396.
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=396
Sources used
War Diary of the 18th Canadian Infantry Battalion, November 1917. Library and Archives Canada, RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4926, Microfilm reel number: T-10721, File number: 398.
https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=1883227
Sources used
War Diary of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade, November 1917. Library and Archives Canada, RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4882, Microfilm reel number: T-10679, File number: 240.
https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=1883157
Sources used