100 Years Ago: 254th Battalion Recruits, Alexander Leonard Williams Killed in Action

The Intelligencer December 8, 1916 (page 1)

“The 254th Battalion held a very successful recruiting meeting in the Opera House at Deseronto last night. Mr. T. Naylor of that town acted as chairman for the evening. Associated with him on the platform were: Lt.-Col. Allen, Capt. Sandford, Capt. Hyman, and Lieut. Coulter of the 254th Battalion, and the members of the County Council who are in session in this city.”

The Intelligencer December 8, 1916 (page 8)

“Shannonville Soldier Dead. The following communication received by Mrs. Williams of Shannonville, in reference to her son’s death at the front explains itself.

50th Battalion. Mrs. Barbara Williams, Shannonville, Ont. Dear Madam: It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you of the death of your son, Pte. A. L. Williams who was attached to the platoon under my command and who was killed in action on November 15th, 1916.

Pte. Williams was one of a party of five who were working in the support line trenches at the time, when he was hit by a bursting shell which also severely wounded three of the other members of the party. His own comrades buried him there on the spot, having cheerfully volunteered to undertake the task, although they were subjected to heavy shell fire.

I can assure you that the loss of your son will be keenly felt by every man in the Platoon. He was always very popular, very generous, and exceptionally cool under fire. Personally, I always admired and respected him.

In conclusion, allow me to express my sincere regret. I know it will be a great loss to you, but you have the great satisfaction of knowing that your son gave his life for a great cause, and for the country and race which we all love so dearly. Very sincerely yours, P. G. Leadley, Lieut. ‘D.’ Co’y 50th Batt. France.”

[Note: Private Alexander Leonard Williams died on November 16, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 182 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]