1st Depot Battalion, Coy 4, P.T. Quarantine Camp, July 1918; Hugh is on the left side of the front row with no hat on.
Hugh Clark was a farmer living at Storthoaks, Saskatchewan, when he was conscripted into the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1918.
ugh McKenzie Clark, Regimental # 269054, was conscripted into the army at Regina, Saskatchewan on May 23, 1918, with the 1st Depot Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment, Company 4. His recruitment papers say that he was 22 years old, 5 ft 9 inches tall with a red complexion, brown eyes, and light brown hair.
The 1st Depot Battalion trained at the exhibition grounds in Regina until late July. They left Canada from Montreal headed for England on board the ship Cassandra on July 28, 1918. Their ship docked at Liverpool on August 5, 1918, and they were taken to Bramshott camp in southern England. Shortly before his 23rd birthday, Hugh was transferred to the 15th Canadian Reserve Battalion.
While training at Bramshott, soldiers from the 15th Reserve Battalion began getting sick near the end of September. The unit had a sick parade on September 28 and was placed in quarantine on October 1, 1918. My grandfather entered the hospital with influenza on October 6, 1918, but was discharged eight days later on October 14, 1918. His influenza didn’t develop into a high fever with Broncho-pneumonia as some of the soldiers in his unit did.
The medical war diaries for Assistant Director of Medical Services, No. 12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott, show that 176 people were admitted to the hospital on the 6th and that there were seven deaths on that day. The war diary shows that over the next couple of weeks many young soldiers training at the camp were sent to the hospital and some of them died.
On October 14th, the medical director noted:
“the pathological conditions of the victims from influenza are most startling –
one patient showed multiple abscess of the lung – bronchial pneumonia – sero –
fibrinous pleurisy and acute myocarditis.”
Among the number of young men from the 15th Reserve who died during the flu pandemic was Roy William Clark, Regimental # 269053 who was conscripted into the 1st Depot Battalion on the same day as my grandfather. Roy was 23 years old, 5 ft 10 inches tall with a brown complexion, blue eyes, and medium hair. He was a farmer who lived at Spy Hill, an hour, and a half north of where Hugh lived at Storthoaks, Saskatchewan.
Roy first noticed symptoms of influenza on September 24 and was admitted to the 12th Canadian General Hospital on September 30, 1918. He developed a high fever with a rapid pulse and difficulty breathing throughout his stay in the hospital. On his last day, the doctor indicated that his face was turning blue due to the lack of oxygen in his blood. At 2 pm, Roy in his delirious state attempted to cut his own throat but caused only superficial wounds. He finally succumbed to the flu at 3 pm on October 15, the day after my grandfather was released. Both men were farmers, who were of similar height, age, and background. What decided the fate of these two young men?
Another soldier from the 15th Reserve Battalion who survived the flu at Bramshott was Peter Longphee, Regimental # 268555, Company 5. He was also conscripted in May 1918 at Regina a few days before my grandfather on May 18, 1918. Hugh and Peter lived in neighbouring communities, so I am not sure they were friends before they enlisted or whether they became friends later. Peter was 5ft, 9 ½ inches tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair. He would be admitted to the 12 General Hospital on October 5, 1918. Records show that he was released on October 10, and like my grandfather, he only had a mild case of influenza. Peter would be a witness at my grandparent’s marriage in April 1919 after they transferred to Ripon camp in Yorkshire in late January 1919 to await demobilization.
The Spanish flu pandemic killed millions of people worldwide during 1918/19. During the war, 300 soldiers were buried at the local church at Bramshott (St. Mary). Of those who died, over 40 were influenza victims from the 15th Reserve Battalion; many of these young men were from Saskatchewan. There were also many soldiers from the 21st Reserve Battalion who died of influenza. I wonder how many young men who are pictured here survived the flu pandemic as my grandfather did and brought home a war bride.
Do you recognize any of the young men from the 15th Reserve Battalion in these photos? If so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I have a full list of the young men who died during the flu pandemic at Bramshott camp.
(c) Annette Fulford, November 2020
Camp Exhibition is a Model Camp in all Respects. Regina Leader-Post, July 3, 1918, 8 & 9 (accessed March 10, 2019).
Hugh McKenzie Clark, Regimental # 269054. Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1745 – 30; (accessed November 16, 2000)
Peter Francis Longphee, Regimental # 268555, Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 5733A – 7; (accessed March 22, 2019)
Roy William Clark, Regimental # 269053, Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1761 – 34; (accessed October 10, 2018)
John Hannibal Badger, Regimental #268680, Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 333 – 18; (accessed on October 15, 2018)
Grace Clark, photo album, photo of PT class quarantine camp for 1st Depot Battalion soldiers and 15th Reserve Battalion photo.
L.C. Giles, Liphook, Bramshott and the Canadians, (Liphook, Hants: Blackwell press for the Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society, 1986)
War diaries - Assistant Director of Medical Services, Bramshott =1917/03/01-1918/12/31. File. RG9-III-D-3. Volume/box number: 5026. File number: 821.Copied container number: T-10912. Library and Archives Canada; (accessed February 4, 2015).