Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Cubert, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 58th Bn. (Central Ontario)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Bellevue, Passchendaele, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Samuel Burt was born on 3 December 1894 to Jane Burt in Cubert, Cornwall. His mother was unmarried, living in the Yeovil Workhouse as an inmate according to the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census records. She later married Edward Gillett but she passed away in 1904 leaving Samuel orphaned. He was taken in by Dr Barnardo's charity. Some children were orphans, but most came from poor families unable to care for them due to poverty or due to illness, death or work injury of a parent. Three years later, Samuel was sent to Canada in 1907 on a ship, the Dominion, which set sail from Liverpool, along with 348 other children. Some of the children were paupers, which stood for someone who lived or had lived in a workhouse. The children sent to Canada were usually between 7 and 14 years old. Upon arrival, the children were taken to "shelters" or "distribution houses". Then they were taken to farmers' homes. At the age of 16, Samuel worked for a farmer in Camilla Village, Ontario. Some children were abused and treated badly.

In July 1915 Samuel enlisted. He was eventually taken on the Canadian Infantry, 58th Battalion in Toronto, part of the 9th Brigade, of the 3rd Canadian Division.Samuel arrived in England on 2 December 1915, after which he was send to France in February 1916. In October 1917, his Battalion was deployed at Passchendaele. Samuel was only 22 when the Canadians opened their attack on the legendary village on 26 October 1917. The Ravebeek stream cut through their front. The shallow moat had been turned into a kilometre-wide swamp by the constant shelling. On the left flank, west of the Ravebeek stream, the 3rd Division advanced with the 8th and 9th Brigades. Their objective was the German defences on the heights near Bellevue, an offshoot of the Passchendaele ridge. The barrage began at 5.40 am, closely followed by the 58th battalion. As the defenders retreated to their shelters, the Canadians advanced. German resistance was strong. Canadian losses were corresponding. The 58th advanced along the Ravebeek but could not free itself from the mud. Machine-gun fire pinned down the battalion from Niagara-on-the-Lake. Six out of ten of the battalion were either wounded, killed or missing. The War diary of the 58th records 27 missing between 24 and 28 October 1917. Notwithstanding the heavy casualties, the attack of the 3rd division was partially successful. Bellevue, the centre of gravity of the defences west of Passchendaele, had fallen. A first hurdle was taken.

Samuel, 22, was killed during this attack. He was shot in the face and killed by an explosive bullet, during the attack made by his Battalion at Bellevue Spur. Samuel has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial. He is also remembered on a plaque commemorating the British Home Children of Canada who fell in the First World War. Out of the 6.211 “Bernardo boys” who participated in the war, 531 lost their lives. To honour them, Bernardo’s Home purchased a “valuable property” in Toronto.

Files 3

Sources 7

"Dr Bernardo's Homes Purchase Memorial ", (Manitoba, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 januari 1922).
Sources used
British Home Children in Canada
Sources used
Darryl MacKenzie, Roath Local history Society, personal communication, 25 January 2023.
Sources used
Passenger Lists, 1865–1935 (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 76 C1a ).
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150; Volume: Box 1321 - 37).
Sources used
War diaries: 58th Infantry Battalion (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4942, Microfilm reel number: T-10749, File number: 446).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 160).
Sources used