Private Frank Bolton 1063070 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)
On December 23, 1916 Frank Bolton completed the Attestation Paper for enlistment in the Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) Overseas in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 19 years, 3 months old when, as a single man, he was enlisted for the duration of the War. Frank was born in Burleigh Township, Ontario and gave his birth-date as March 11, 1897. His File indicated he did not belong to an Active Militia; lived at RR 10, Peterborough and that he had never served in any Active Militia or Military Force. There is nothing on his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. Frank gave his Trade or Calling as a Farmer. He signed the Attestation Paper on December 23, 1916. He was 5′ 10½” tall, 38″ chest (expanded); his weight is not listed. He had a dark complexion with brown eyes and dark brown hair. Frank’s Medical was done in Peterborough; his Medical Records indicate that he had scars on the outside of his right leg and was deemed fit for Overseas duty with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Frank’s next-of-kin was listed as his father, William Edward Bolton living in Burleigh Falls, Ontario. Frank Bolton was taken on as a Private (Pte) with the 247th (Victoria & Haliburton) Battalion (Bn), based in Peterborough, Ontario, on December 23, 1916 and was assigned Regimental Number 1063070.
Pte Bolton’s Military Records are very scanty with only a few details on movements and little on any other activities. Although not stated he would have been on training in the Peterborough area in preparation to be sent Overseas. In April 1917 Pte Bolton would have been transported, most likely by Rail Service to the Halifax, Nova Scotia area to prepare for embarkation. April 13, 1917 Pte Bolton completed a Form Of Will in which he bequeathed all of his estate to his father, William Edward Bolton. On May 1, 1917 Pte Bolton made a pay assignment of $15.00 monthly to his father.
May 3, 1917 Pte Bolton embarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the RMS Metagama bound for England; May 14, 1917 Pte Bolton disembarked at Liverpool, England and was transferred from the 247th Bn to the 235th Bn (based at Bowmanville, Ontario). Then on May 14, 1917 Pte Bolton and the 235th Bn were absorbed into the 3rd Canadian Reserve Bn which was based West Sandling, England. May 17, 1917 he was taken-on-strength to the 3rd Canadian Reserve Bn at West Sandling, England. On June 19, 1917 Pte Bolton was struck-off-strength from the 3rd Canadian Reserve Bn and taken-on-strength on transfer to the 208th (Canadian Irish) Bn at Witley, England.
January 1, 1918 Pte Bolton was struck-off-strength from the 208th Bn and taken-on-strength with the 2nd Reserve Bn at Witley, England. January 11, 1918 Pte Bolton was struck-off-strength from the 2nd Reserve Bn at Witley, England and taken-on-strength with the 208th Bn at West Sandling. February 15, 1918 he was struck-off-strength from the 2nd Reserve Bn and taken-on-strength with the 8th Reserve Bn at East Sandling. February 16, 1918 Pte Bolton was struck-off-strength from the 8th Reserve Bn and taken-on-strength with the 116th Bn at East Sandling.
February 16, 1918 Pte Bolton arrived at the Canadian Base Depot (CBD) in France. February 19, 1918 he was transferred from the CBD and arrived at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CCRC) Bn; a centre in France where troops were held before being sent to reinforce existing units. On February 23 Pte Bolton was struck-off-strength from the CCRC Bn and taken-on-strength at the 116th Bn in the Field. On October 1, 1918 Pte Bolton was killed in action in France. October 17, 1918 William Edward Bolton was notified that his son was killed in action.
Due to the lack of detail surrounding Pte Bolton’s demise research located a copy of the 116th Bn War Diary for his engagement with this Unit. According to the War Diary entries Pte Bolton most likely died on September 29, 1918 (but was listed as missing initially) at St. Olle when “A” and “B” Companies were practically wiped out; 260 Soldiers were killed or wounded that day. Although it is not known which Company Pte Bolton was a member of the odds are that he was with “A” or “B” Company. [Diary extracts following]
Pte Bolton served with the Canadian Army Expeditionary Force a total of 1 year, 11 months and 9 days: 4 months and 12 days in Canada; 11 months and 9 days in the UK; 7 months and 6 days in France and 11 days travel time.
There is no reference, in Private Frank Bolton’s Military File indicating what Military Medals he was awarded but based on his Military Service he should have received:
British War Medal 1914 – 1920; and
He also qualified for War Service Badge CEF Class “A”.
Private Frank Bolton’s Medal, Decorations, Plaque and Scroll would have been sent to his father: William E. Bolton, Esq.; Burleigh Falls, Ontario. It is noted that the above items were dispatched March 29, 1923.
An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:
The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable.
War Diary extracts from September 29, 1918 to October 3, 1918
29th. Weather fine. In accordance with Brigade operations order, the Battalion moved up, following closely behind the 7th Brigade, through Bourlon and assembled in the Railway Embankment in F.2.1 at 6:30 p.m. Orders were received that the 58th Battalion would attack the Marcoing Line in front of St. Olle, and that the 116th Battalion passing through would attack and capture St. Ollo. Zero hour 7:00 p.m. At Zero hour the
Battalion moved off from the railway embankment and made their way over in artillery formation to F.11.a. The 58th Battalion was found to be established in the Marcoing Line. And we moved through them “A”, “B”, “C” Companies making up positioning the sunken road running through F.5.d. and F.11.b. “D” Company took up their positions in F.12.a. and A.7.b. Sending patrols from here to go in touch with the enemy. The village seemed to be very strongly held by machine guns. No reconnaissance of ground having
been made, we decided that our attack on the village would be delayed while the following morning. Weather fine. Zero hour 6:00 a.m. “B” and “A” Companies attacked and were caught under heavy Machine gun fire, coming from the enemy trenches in front of St. Olle and Petit Fontain. These two Companies were practically wiped out. News to this effect being brought by Lieut. Smith to Battalion H.Q. Established at F.11.b.90.90. Artillery fire was then brought to bear on these positions, and superiority of fire gained by our Lewis Guns situated along the road at F.11.b. As soon as this was accomplished, two Platoons of “C” and “D” Companies were dispatched to make a flanking movement to the northwest of the village, the remainder of “C” Company being sent over to help out the 58th Battalion who were having heavy fighting in the Marcoing Line near its junction with the Bapaune-Guibrai Road. Lieut. Bonner, who was in charge of the flanking operations northwest of St. Olle, succeeded in entering the trench, and by great leadership, overcame all resistance, capturing the entire system. About 100 prisoners and 15 machine guns were captured. The rest of the day was spent in organizing our new positions. “D” Company holding posts around Petit Fontain, two Platoons of “C” Company in St. Olle, Two Platoons of “C” Company on the right of the 58th, and the remnants of “B” and “A” Companies back at headquarters. Our casualties for the day were about 260 killed and wounded. Capt. Preston was taken prisoner, Capt. Williams, Lieut. Robson and Lieut. Brandon, wounded. Lieut. Norton killed, and Lieut. Palmer, missing, believed prisoner. Sill holding positions in and about St. Olle.
1st. In the Line: The attacking returned in the morning. During the night, the Battalion was relieved in the Front-Line by the 24th Battalion, 2nd Canadian Division moving back to sunken road.
2nd. During the day the Battalion moved back in small practice on sunken road in M.10.b.
3rd. F.10.b. The day was spent in resting up. Most of the rear did details with the exception of the Transport and personnel joined the Battalion. It was impossible to bring the transport forward as the grounds was under direct observation from two towers in Cambrai and any lorries or horse transport moving on the raid were promptly shelled.
Frank Bolton was born in Apsley Ontario, Anstruther Township (now known as North Kawartha) on March 11, 1897, the son of William Edward Bolton and Susan Stone. His father was a farmer in Burleigh Township; Frank was probably educated in Apsely and worked on the farm until he went to Peterborough on December 23, 1916 and enlisted to serve his Country and King.
On October 1, 1918 Pte Bolton was killed in action in France; he is remembered with honour in the Mill Switch British Cemetery, north France.
THE FRANK BOLTON FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Frank Bolton’s paternal grandparents are Thomas Bolton and Matilda S. Staples – farmers in Burleigh Township. His maternal grandparents were John “Jack” R. Stone and Matilda Mathews farmers in Burleigh Township.
Frank Bolton’s parents William and Susan Bolton had a family of five children – Edith Evelyn, Naomi, Mamie Evelyn, William Edward “Ned” and Frank Bolton. Susan passed away on February 21, 1899 at the age of 28 years and is buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield.
On July 3, 1916, William Edward Bolton married Catherine Bates (nee Hetherington) in Lakefield. Catherine passed away in 1939 and William Bolton died on March 24, 1943; both are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield.