Thomas McGregor Runham

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

General information

Last known residence:
Redlodge, Bowden, Alberta, Canada

Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Olds, Alberta, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 31st Bn. (Alberta)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

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


Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Panel: Panel 28F

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Thomas McGregor Runham, a former farmer, was born on the 29th of June 1893 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. On May 15th, 1916, he enlisted at Olds, Alberta, Canada. Thomas served as a private in the 31st Battalion Canadian Infantry, part of the 6th Canadian Brigade, of the 2nd Canadian Division.

On the 2nd of November 1917 the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade ordered an attack on the village of Passchendaele, together with the 1st and 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade on their left and right. The 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade would attack with the 28th, 31st and 27th Canadian Infantry Battalions on the left, centre and right respectively. The 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion was held in reserve.

On the night of November 5th/6th the 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion relieved the 90th Canadian Infantry Battalion holding the frontline, northeast of the Grenadiersstraat-Canadalaan Crossroads. The battalion planned to attack the village in a northeasterly direction, passing the Passchendaele church on their right. “A” Company was tasked with capturing the first objective, the Vierde Regiment Karabiniersstraat and the houses along this street. “B” and “D” Companies were to take the second objective. This was a line starting along the Westrozebekestraat, about 300 metres south of Vindictive Crossroads, running to point 100 metres east of the five-pointed crossroads due north of Passchendaele. The final objective was a line running about 100 metres in front of the second objective. This line had to be captured by “C” Company. After all objectives had been captured, a new main resistance line would be constructed running north-south between the Osselstraat and Molenstraat. Two platoons of “B” and “D” Companies were held in reserve behind this line, at a farm east of Graf Wood.

At 6. a.m. on November 6th, 1917, “A” Company attacked, capturing the ruined houses along the first objective. “B” and “D” Companies passed through “A” Company and attacked the second objective. They encountered fortified cellars, dug outs and pillboxes, but were able to capture the objective. In doing so, they passed the crest of Passchendaele ridge and came under heavy sniper fire as they consolidated the line. This, along with concrete pillboxes on the front left flank, caused heavy casualties and delayed the attack of “C” Company on the final objective. They were able to take out these strongpoints and established posts in front of the second objective. These positions were shelled throughout the day. On the 7th of November the battalion established a defensive outpost at Vindictive Crossroads and cleared wounded off the battlefield. In the night between November 7th/8th the 22nd Canadian Infantry Battalion relieved the 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion.

Thomas McGregor Runham, aged 24, was killed in action on 6 November 1917. He was wounded by shrapnel during the attack but reached the objective north of Passchendaele. His ‘Circumstances of Death Register’ file states that his wound was dressed and that he was last seen making his way back to a dressing station. It’s likely that he was killed along the way. Private Runham’s body was found by another unit and initially buried near Mosselmarkt at 28.D.6.b.00.40. His remains were not recovered or identified after the war.

Thomas McGregor Runham has no known grave and is remembered on panel 28H of the Menin Gate Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 5

Circumstances of death Register file of Runham, Thomas McGregor. Library and Archives Canada, RG150, 1992-93/314, 235, 31829_B016703 , 91, 295.
Sources used
McCarthy, Chris. Passchendaele: the Day-by-Day Account. (Londen: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018), 160-161.
Sources used
Personnel Record of Runham, Thomas McGregor. Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8544 - 33, 617414.
Sources used
War diaries - 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion - Library and Archives Canada - RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4937, Microfilm reel number: T-10742, File number: 430.
Sources used
War diaries - 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade - Library and Archives Canada - RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4890, Microfilm reel number: T-10686--T-10687, File number: 269.
Sources used