Henry Atholl Charles Wallace (1879-1915)
Lamesley man served as a captain in the Canadian Army and died at Ypres
Henry Atholl Charles Wallace was born on 30 May 1879 at Trench Hall, Lamesley, part of the Ravensworth Estate. His father, Henry, was land agent for the 3rd Earl and also a Justice of the Peace. His mother was Jessie Strickland. Henry junior and his six siblings were looked after by nurses and nannies until he went away to Uppingham School in Rutland as a boarder.
Henry served in the South African War, 1900-01, as Private 3198 of the 5th Battalion, 14th Company (Northumberland) Imperial Yeomanry and was awarded the South Africa Medal and clasps. He returned to England at the end of his time in South Africa and, in 1902, emigrated to Canada, where he farmed for a short time at Killarney, Manitoba. He returned to Gateshead in 1903 for his marriage to Winifred Laura Jane Archer, daughter of the owner of Dunston Engine Works, in St Mary’s Church. They both returned to live in Winnipeg where Henry turned his attention to real estate. They had two children, a son born in 1906 and a daughter in 1909.
After settling in Winnipeg, Henry became active in veterans’ affairs and became an officer of the Veterans’ Brigade. He also enlisted with the newly created 106th (Winnipeg Light Infantry) Regiment becoming one of their first officers. On 24 April 1914 he qualified as an infantry captain.
Volunteering for service abroad on 5 August 1914, he was mobilised with the 106th Regiment and put in charge of one of the recruiting offices. When the 106th left Winnipeg for camp at Valcartier later in the month, he was listed as captain and OC [officer commanding] of “G” Company. The end of September 1914 saw the 106th sailing with the 10th Battalion as part of the First Canadian contingent aboard SS Scandinavian from Quebec to Plymouth, Devon. They moved on to Pond Farm Camp on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire and then on to Sling Camp, which was home to the New Zealand troops.
Returning from Christmas leave, Henry found himself part of “C” Company, after all the battalions of the Canadian Contingent were reorganised. February saw the 10th Battalion proceed to Avonmouth, from where they travelled to St Nazaire aboard SS Kingstonian. They disembarked in France on 15 February 1915 after the ship had drifted onto a sand bar and they had to wait a day for another high tide. The battalion made for billets at Romarin, Belgium where they spent time digging trenches prior to the battle of Neuve Chappelle and then moved on to Ypres, Flanders, Belgium.
On the night of 22 April 1915, the Germans launched the first poison gas attack on the Ypres Salient and, unprepared for the chlorine gas, a gap appeared in the front line. At Kitchener’s Wood the 10th Battalion, along with the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), were ordered to counter-attack into the gap. The order to advance was given at 11:46 pm and the 10th Battalion approached the wood. They ran into a strong hedge interlaced with wire, which they were forced to break through with rifle butts, bringing down fire from German machine guns. Both battalions charged the last 200 yards to the wood and threw the Germans out, but suffered 80 percent casualties. One of those casualties was Captain Henry Atholl Charles Wallace.
Henry Atholl Charles Wallace has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium. He is also commemorated on the Next of Kin Memorial, Manitoba, Canada; at Holy Trinity Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and on the Dunston Memorial Plaque.
After the war, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the Allied Supreme Commander, remarked that the “greatest act of the war” had been the assault on Kitcheners’ Wood by the 10th and 16th Battalions.
Civil Parish: Lamesley
Birth date: 30-May-1879
Death date: 22-Apr-1915
Armed force/civilian: Army
Residence: Trench Hall, Lamesley, Gateshead (1879 birthplace)
194 Hill Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (1914 enlistment papers)
Religion: Church of England
Employment: Farmer (obituary Winnipeg Free Press, May 1915)
Houston, Murray and Simpson, Insurance & Real Estate Agent (obituary Winnipeg Free Press, May 1915)
Parents: Henry Wallace, Jessie Wallace nee Strickland
Siblings: Mary Louise Wallace, Jessie Atholl Wallace, Eleanor Liddell Wallace, John Owen Wallace, Edith Melanie Wallace, Justin J R Wallace
Spouse: Winifred Laura Jane Wallace nee Archer
Children: Henry Archer Harold Wallace, Dorothy Laura Wallace
5th Imperial Yeomanry, South Africa
106th Winnipeg Light Infantry Regiment (pre-war)
10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Medal(s): South Africa Medal & clasps
British War Medal
Memorial(s): Next of Kin Memorial, Manitoba, Canada
Holy Trinity Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Dunston Memorial Plaque
Contributed by Jean Longstaff, Durham | Jim Busby, Canada
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