Private William Carss, of the Canadian Infantry, Central Ontario Regiment, 19th Bn., Service No. 405018, died of his wounds on May 31st 1917, aged 37.
William is buried with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Spitalford Cemetery, Embleton in Northumberland.
He was the son of James and Annie Carss whose address on the Commonwealth War Graves web site was given as 22, The Square, Craster. At the time of the 1901 census the family were living in Newton by the Sea, where the children were born; Elizabeth, in 1878, William 1880, Joseph, 1883 and Daniel 1888.
At the time of the 1911 census they were to be found at 53, Victoria Terrace, Bedlington Quarry, Bedlington. His father was a fisherman who, aged 72, was retired by 1911. Living in a four roomed house all three boys were still living at home, but their daughter Elizabeth was not. His brothers Joseph and Daniel also fought in the war, the latter being killed.
In 1901 the census returns shows, aged 21, William was a labourer in a quarry. In 1911 he was a general labourer working on road making. At that time, aged 31, he was still single.
At some point William emigrated to Canada and he enlisted into the Canadian Infantry His 'joining up' papers, known formally as an Attestation Paper was approved on June 6th 1915 in Niagara. This document included the information that William was still single and that his religious denomination was Church of England. He also stated at this time that his date of birth was December 15th 1884. This is inconsistent with the census data and an online search of births failed to find a registration on that date. A registration for William Carss was found at the Alnwick office for the first quarter of 1880, which is consistent with the census data. At this time there is no explanation for this inconsistency.
The Alnwick and County Gazette carried the following item on May 19th 1917:
On May 21st, 1917 the Toronto Star carried the following:
On June 7th, the Toronto Star carried the following:
On June 9th 1917, the Alnwick and County Gazette carried the following in its Roll of Honour:
On June 1st 1918, the family inserted the following in the 'In Memoriam' section of the Alnwick and County Gazette:
Canadian Infantry, Central Ontario Regiment, 19th Bn. on Vimy Ridge
According to their war diary, the Canadian Infantry 19th Bn., was involved in the successful assault on Vimy Ridge, in April 1917, which achieved its objective by April 12th. Subsequently the Bn. manned a line to the east of the ridge and then went to the rear on April 27th.
Canadian Infantry 19th Bn. War Diary, April, Page 7 - Note the penultimate line, 'just east of Vimy Ridge'. (See below for full diary links)
The Toronto Star says that William was admitted to hospital in London by the end of April. We cannot say how he got his fatal wounds, but he died a month later at the end of May.
Vimy Ridge was part of the 'Battle of Arras' which sought to break the stalemate on the western front. Although there were a number of successful actions, such as the one at Vimy Ridge, this strategic objective was not achieved.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission - William Carss
William Carss Attestation Paper (Front) (.jpeg)
William Carss Attestation Paper (Back) (.jpeg)
William Carss Grave at Spitalford
Canadian Infantry 19th Bn War Diary - as .jpegs's
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