Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Kaufbeuren, Schwaben, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire

General information

Last known residence:
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Roman Catholic

Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
 —  Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry  (Last known unit)

Information about death

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


Points of interest 4

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

My story

Felix Bopp was born on 26 August 1894 in Kaufbeuren, Schwaben at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. His father, Felix senior, was a master weaver and had a small shop at Kaiser-Max-Straße 25 in Kaufbeuren, operated by his mother Babette Bopp. In March 1913, the 18-year-old, emigrated to North America to farm. On 6 May 1916, Felix enlisted in Calgary, volunteering for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Army. At that time, Canada, as a dominion within the British Empire, had been entangled in a ruthless war with Germany for almost two years. As a German-Canadian, Felix could not join the army. Moreover, thousands of German Canadians were placed in internment camps by the Canadian government. However, Felix had changed his name and pretended to be Swiss, which seemed to work. In June 1916, he left for Europe, heading for war. The following month in England, he was assigned to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (7th Canadian Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division), which he joined in France in May 1917. Felix soon became familiar with strict military life. In June, he received 7-day field punishment number one, for leaving his guard post. While on guard, Felix had gone 10 yards from his post without his rifle. In November 1917, the newly 23-year-old German Canadian was reported missing. The Battle of Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres, was then raging in full force.

In October 1917, all four Canadian divisions moved into Flanders; they were chosen to storm the heights at Passchendaele. A first Canadian attack took place on 26 October a second followed on 30 October. At 10 to six, the 3rd and 4th divisions went at it again. The battered battalions that had shared in the blows on day one had been pulled back. The 3rd division attacked with the 8th brigade on the left and the 7th brigade on the right. From Bellevue they moved up a spur of the Passchendaele ridge. To Goudberg and Meetcheele, northwest of Passendaele. The 7th Brigade at Bellevue advanced towards Meetcheele. Two battalions carried the attack: the Patricia's and the 49th Battalion. The state of the terrain played tricks on the Canadians. The Patricia's dragged themselves through the mud to Meetcheele. The Allied barrage had not silenced the German bunkers and the goal line was reached only at the cost of heavy sacrifices. Eight out of 10 officers and six out of 10 men were killed, wounded or missing. Throughout the operation, 129 Patricians were missing, including 118 on 30 October.

Felix Bopp fell on 30 October 1917. No grave of him is known to date. Felix is commemorated on the Menin Gate. After his death, the military authorities were unable to locate Felix's family. The given address of Bopp's father in Sankt Gallen turned out to be incorrect. It eventually became clear that his father lived about a hundred kilometres northeast, in Bavaria. The man was informed of his son's death but was not allowed to receive his medals. These were not awarded to a "Foreign Enemy".

Felix's death is mentioned in the family chronicle written by his uncle, Carl Bopp:

"Of the soldiers from Kaufbeuren who went into the field, 243 were killed and 14 were missing. My cousin Felix Bopp, who died a heroic death at Passchendaele in Flanders in 1918 [sic.], was also among those killed."

Files 2

Sources 6

Bopp Carl., Aus der Chronik einer Kaufbeurer Weberfamilie im vorigen Jahrhundert (Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeurer Geschichtsblätter, 1975-1977), 298.
Sources used
Cook T., Shock Troops: Canadians fighting the Great War 1917-1918. Volume II (Toronto, Penguin Canada, 2008), 350-351.
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 837 - 13).
Sources used
Standesamt 1894, Nr. 186. (Stadtarchiv Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeuren).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 155).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 47).
Sources used