George's War Diary?

These notes are taken from the official Canadian war diaries as they relate to George Kissack (1892-1917) and from his war records. It forms an attempt to produce his diary as it could have been. Allan

War service and RCR diaries

5 June 1915 At Winnipeg, George Kissack joins the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (CEF) as Private number 460098. His attestation papers list him as having active militia service with the 106th Regiment. He recorded as medically fit by Capt. W H Reilly (CAMC), although the original form states 'subject to teeth'. He is attested by the Commanding Officer 61st Overseas Battalion Lt.Col D McLean.
6 June 1915 ->
31 May 1916
George undergoes military training and ????
23 July 1915 Anti Typhoid Inoculations etc.
8 August 1915 Anti Typhoid Inoculations etc.
16 February 1916 Anti Typhoid Inoculations etc.
9 March 1916 Vaccinations received.
1 April 1916 George sails on SS Olympic (similar to the Titanic) from Halifax. Destination England
11 April 1916 The SS Olympic docks in Liverpool. If not able to see the Isle of Man George would have know the land of his birth was very nearby.
12 April 1916 His records record 'Arrived in England' from "C". He joins 61st Battalion CEF.
30 April 1916 Pay day. $30 basic plus $3 field allowance. He had $19.10 carried forward and he takes $31.63 during the month and assigns $16.00 to his mother Isabella in Maughold, Isle of Man. This monthly assignment continued at $16 per month during his service. His salary remains at $1 per day with $0,10 per day field allowance.
13 April 1916 ->
5 June 1916
Further training specific to the conditions to be expected in France is received.
31 May 1916 Pay Day. $14.60 was taken during the month.
6 June 1916 His records say 'Drafted overseas to PPCLI' but a margin entry reports ' Should read to RCRs'. Further records have him as a member of The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR)
8 June 1916 'Landed in France - Taken on Strength', place listed as 'Field'
10 June 1916 'Joined unit' - The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) at Steenvoorde, France (midway between Dunkerque and Lille, 10 miles west of Ypes where the regiment had just returned from the trenches on 5th June). RCR War Diaries for the day report "119 OR [Other Ranks] arrived as reinforcements. A large number of these are from the Base Depot and CCS."
11 June 1916 More reinforcements arrive. "Weather dull and cloudy. Light showers during the day"
16 June 1916 Pay - $2.55 drawn
17 June 1916 "Parades as usual. The Guards Instructors have made a marked improvement in the general appearance of the men and are doing splendid work in smartening the recruits."
18 June 1916 George makes his military will, leaving everything to his mother Isabella Kissack, Maughold, IOM
21 June 1916 RCR relieves 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, departing from 6.30pm. "The battalion proceeded by busses to Mennin Gate, Ypres where the Irish Guards provided guides to conduct the Companies and Detachments to their allotted positions. The Battalion is distributed in trenches 63 to 74 R. Headquarters being at Tuilerie, one company being in supports. Two platoons at Halfway House and two platoons at Beinster (?) Trench. No packs where taken into the trenches but were left at the transport lines. Relief complete a 1.45 am (22nd). RCR Order No. 14 attached. No casualties occurred during the relief.
22 - 26 June 1916 Fine weather in the trenches. On "23rd three OR were wounded by shell fire". "24th two OR killed, eight OR wounded (shrapnel). Great enemy aeroplane activity". "25th seven OR wounded by shell fire. Very heavy bombardment to our left". An attack was carried out to consolidate positions. "26th relief by PPCLI. Upon relief battalion proceeded to Infantry Barracks Ypres. One OR wounded coming out"
27 - 30 June 1916 Working parties. ("475 OR on 27th, deepening trenches and for carrying parties.) "30th - Shells falling in the barrack square, but no material damage done". Relieved by 52nd Battalion during the night of 30th June (Relief order 15). Off to Divisional Reserve 'Camp "B"'.
1 - 5 July 1916 1st, rested all day, then training and kit inspection. Slight epidemic of influenza.
3 July 1916 Pay - $2.61 drawn
6 July 1916 Battalion sports on the parade ground. RCR gained 6 first positions, 7 seconds and 2 thirds. After the sports the battalion marched to Renninghelst to attend "The Follies" specially put on for us by PPCLI, the men enjoyed it thoroughly.
7-8 July 1916 Raiding parties practice trench raids at night; Final boxing and wrestling tonight (7th).
9 July 1916 Church Service with PPCLI and 7th Bde MG Company. Considerable aerial activity. Advance party went to take over trenches.
10 July 1916 Fine day. RCR relieved 52nd Bn. Regiment going by train to ASYLUM (Ypres) from there led by guides of 52nd Bn. HQ, "A" Co, "B" Co and "C" Co proceeded via Lille Gate to trenches, "D" Co going via Mennin Gate straight to front line. relief quite good, completed about 1.30am 11th. Line extends form Bombing Post Gourock Road to trench R.63 to trench R.74 and includes a garrison in the culvert under Mennin road. "A" Co in right of front line and garrisoning Yeomanry Post. "B" Co in centre, 1 Platoon in Roslyn Street. "D" Co in left, 1 platoon Leinster Street. "C" Co support in Halfway House, 1 platoon Leinster Street. Raiding party of 38 OR kept at halfway House also HQ Tuileries.
11 July 1916 2 Officers, 7 OR wounded.
12 July 1916 Patrol on left out 2.5 hours. Found posts 3 to 8 unoccupied by enemy except for strong listening post in post 7. Patrol on right found Appendix unoccupied. Body of German from 22nd Regt found. Culvert is in bad condition, being about 1 foot deep in water.
13-17 July 1916 RCR Snipers active. Enemy Artillery active - Yeomanry post, Tuilerie, Gordon House and Culvert being targeted.. Raiding parties sent out. 3 killed 10 wounded
18 July 1916 A wire cutting party attacked enemy working party. No loses
19-20 July 1916 Relieved by 1st CMR. Half the battalion marched to Pomeringhe in the afternoon for baths. "A" Camp
20 July 1916 Pay - $2.61 drawn
21-22 July 1916 Remainder have baths. Change of clothes. Tidy camp. Games. Parades and Bayonet fighting training. Half day holiday on 22nd.
23 July 1916 Relief by 52nd Battalion. March to Steenvoorde, not pleasant in heat and dust!
30 July 1916 Pay - $2.61 drawn
31 July 1916 Severe march, in heat, to Camp "B" relieving 4th CMR. Pay Day. $7.84 taken during the month.
2-3 August 1916 Back to Ypres. Working parties
4-9 August 1916 To trenches. Raids etc.
10-11 August 1916 Ypres for relief
12-18 August 1916 To trenches. Gas alert
19 August 1916 Ypres for relief
20-22 August 1916 Camp "F", Poperinghe for baths and clean up
21 August 1916 Pay - $2.62 drawn
23-24 August 1916 Scottish Lines - training and inspections
25 Aug - 6 Sept 1916 Cassel area. Training
2 September Pay - $2.62 drawn
7 September 1916 Conteville, transiting to Cramont
8 -10 September 1916 Cramont. Training
11 September 1916 Haeloy les Pernois. Transit to Herisart Area
12 September 1916 Herisart Area. Transit to Vadencourt Area.
13 September 1916 Vadencourt Area. Transit to Brickfields Area.
14 September 1916 Brickfields Area. Rest
15 September 1916 Usna Hill
16-17 September 1916 To trenches as reserve. 264+ OR killed in attack on Zollern Gaben.
18-23 September 1916 Tara Hill. Training and Working parties
19 September 1916 Pay - $2.61 drawn
24 September 1916 Warloy.
25 September 1916 La Vicognes.
26-27 September 1916 Canaples.
28 September 1916 Vadencourt. Pay - $2.62 drawn
29 Sept - 1 Oct1916 Albert. Working parties. 4 killed, 11 wounded by HE shells
30 September 1916 Pay Day. $7.85 taken during the month.
2 October 1916 Tara Hill following attack on Albert
3-5 October 1916 Trenches. Relieved by 8th Border Regt. 25 Killed or missing, 64 wounded
6-7 October 1916 Tara Hill
8-9 October 1916 Trenches. 68 wounded, 7 killed, 207 missing
10 October 1916 Tara Hill
11-12 October 1916 Warloy. 'Men very tired'. 'Cleaning'
13 October 1916 La Vicogne on route to Berteaucourt. Pay - $3.49 drawn
14-16 October 1916 Berteaucourt.
17-20 October 1916 Prouville.
21 October 1916 Villers L' Hopital on route to Buneville
22 October 1916 Buneville on route to Penin
23 October 1916 Penin on route to Cambligneul
24 October 1916 Cambligneul on route to Ecoivres
25-28 October 1916 Trenches as relief to 2/17th Londons. HQ Porteque, "A" Co in support of PPCLI in Pylone. "B" Co in support of 49th Battalion in Begg Street, "C" & "D" Cos Neuville St Vaast. Trench strength 386 all ranks. There were opportunites to take baths during this spell in the reserve trenches.
29-31 October 1916 Relieve 49th Bn in daylight (first time). Patrol out to Watling and Lichfield craters behind which is 'Josephine' an heavily dug in Heavy Trench Mortar of the German's. "Trenches are not revetted and rain will cause problems"
31 October 1916 Pay Day. $3.49 taken during the month.
1-3 November 1916 Trenches being repaired by working parties. Showery and cool. 1o Killed 4 wounded in action
4 November 1916 Pay - $1.75 drawn
4-8 November 1916 Mt S Eloi. Relieved by 49th. Cleaning. Small box respirator issue and training (gas hut at Ecoivres)
8-13 November 1916 Relieved 49th in trenches, Enemy quite. Bright moonlight prevented patrols going out (8th). Patrols out 10th. Trenches in very bad condition and is difficult to keep men's feet dry. Request for second pair of socks sent.
13-18 November 1916 Relieved by 49th, to reserve in Neuville St Vaast. 131 reinforcements arrive from England. Baths and Working parties.
18-23 November 1916 Relieve 49th in trenches. Wet and cold. Usual patrols and grenade/mortar exchanges
23-28 November 1916 Mt St Eloi. Relieved by 49th, no casualties. Baths. 600 reinfor cements expected soon. Officers pay 1 days pay to furnish an officers mess in Divisional Reserve
24 November 1916 Pay - $10.46 drawn
28 Nov - 3 Dec 1916 Back to trenches in relief of 49th. Concern over enemy mining activity between Devon and Albany. Continued attacks on Ross Street (communication trench)
30 November 1916 Pay Day. $12.21 taken during the month.
4-8 December 1916 Relived by 49th, to reserve and working parties
8-13 December 1916 Trenches in relief of 49th. Windy and showery
14-19 December 1916 Divisional Reserve.
16 December 1916 Pay - $3.49 drawn
20-23 December 1916 Relieve 49th in trenches. Attack successful, but 6 killed 18 Wounded
24-29 December 1916 Relief by 49th. To Brigade reserve. Christmas day quite till 11pm. 28th saw 49th blow a mine between Devon and Albany (name Edmonton Crater).
30 Dec 1916 - 3 Jan 1917 Trenches in relief of 49th. Clear and fine. Trenches in poor condition. New Years day fairly quiet. 3 killed, 2 wounded in hit on Lewis Gun Dugout
31 December 1916 Pay Day. $3.49 taken during the month.
3 January 1917 To Divisional Reserve at Mt St Eloi. Concert, baths and cleaning parades.
5 January 1917 Cash payment of $5.23 taken. Christmas Dinner served to men (officers have theirs on 7th) "Port and veal with apple sauce, potatoes, onions and carrots, 0,5lb of plum pudding, assorted nuts and fruit, quart of beer per man"
8-13 January 1917 To trenches again in relief of 49th Battalion. No improvements in trenches. 1 OR injured on 9th Jan. Patrols out. 1 OR wounded (11th). 12th saw enemy attack between posts 9 and 11 on B5
14-18 January 1917 To brigade reserve after relief by 49th. Snow. Bathing and working parties. From private sources, there is now sufficient socks to issue second pair. 16th 1 OR wounded accidentally.
18 January 1917 Relieve 49th in trenches. Usual positions. Owing to frost, trenches are quite dry.
19 January 1917 Clear and cold. Enemy artillery and trench mortar activity is greater than usual. Our artillery concentrates on cutting wire. They tried to repair it 3 times during the night, but were prevented by Lewis gunners.. 2 patrols out, enemy not encountered. Our snipers claim 3 hits. 1 OR wounded accidentally.
20 January 1917 Still cold, mostly clear. Wire cutting continues. Our snipers claim 5 hits. Enemy trench mortars active. Patrols out, no enemy encountered.

Private George Kissack is reported as Killed in Action this day (CL A303 dated 31/1/17).

The RCR diaries record the death in the diaries of 21st Jan. It was not uncommon for a days delay in diary reporting of events. Despite the wealth of information made available by Canadian Archives, the exact circumstances of George's death remains unknown.

January 1917 George Kissack is buried in Ecoivres Cemetery.
"A devoted son, an affectionate brother, may he rest in peace"

I have extracted the above information largely from the official war diaries of the Royal Canadian Regiment with whom George served. I have used George's military records to determine dates of joining units, pay details etc.. Whilst I don't know which company he was in (A, B , C or D), where there activities obviously differed, I have included all details.