Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood – 195167 – ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)
On September 10, 1915, Sherman George Mahood completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was 19 years, 12 days old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. Sherman George was born in Lakefield, Ontario and gave his birth-date as August 28, 1896. On his Attestation Paper, Sherman George indicated that he had 1 year experience with the 46th Battalion, Active Militia located in Peterborough, Ontario. There is nothing in his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Student. Sherman George was 5′ 10” tall, 36” chest (expanded). His weight is not listed. He had a fair complexion, with blue eyes and light brown hair. Sherman George’s Medical Records indicate that he had no physical limitations and as such was deemed fit for Overseas service with the Canadian Army, CEF. His next-of-kin was listed as his father, Mr. James Mahood of Lakefield. Sherman George Mahood signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation September 10, 1915 in Peterborough. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed by the Justice on September 10, 1915. On November 5, 1915 the Certificate of Officer Commanding Unit was signed by Lt Col Johnston and Sherman George was taken-on-strength as a Private (Pte) with the 46th Regiment Overseas CEF. Pte Mahood was assigned Service Number 195167.
When the 93rd Battalion was authorized on December 22, 1915 Pte Mahood was transferred to it. The 93rd Battalion, trained during the winter and spring at 5 different area Centres around Peterborough. It departed by train from Peterborough, on May 29, 1916. The Battalion made a short stop at Camp Barriefield located at Kingston, Ontario, before moving on to the Main Canadian Expeditionary Force Training Centre located at Valcartier, Québec. Pte Mahood complete Basic Infantry training before being transported overseas, to the United Kingdom (UK).
On July 15, 1916 Pte Sherman George Mahood embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia with the 93rd Battalion CEF aboard the SS Empress of Britain.
Pte Mahood disembarked at England July 25, 1916 at the Port of Liverpool. On arrival in England, Pte Mahood was appointed Acting Corporal with pay. On August 29, 1916 he was attached to the Brigade Signal Base at Otterpool, England. On September 14, 1916 he reverted to ranks (back to Private) at his own request in order to go Overseas. On the same day, he ceased to be attached to the Brigade Signal Base.
On September 15, 1916 Pte Mahood was transferred to the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cdn Inf Bn) from the 93rd Bn. On September 16, 1916 he was taken-on-strength with the 20th Cdn Inf Bn.
The 20th Cdn Inf Bn (Central Ontario) CEF was attached to the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade; 2nd Canadian Division.
On September 29, 1916 Pte Mahood left for the 2nd CE Battalion arriving on October 2, 1916. Research failed to identify this designation, but it is assumed it was in France. On the same day he left to join the 20th Cdn Inf Bn, in the Field and joined the 20th Cdn Inf Bn on October 3, 1916. On October 4, 1916 Pte Mahood completed a Military Will bequeathing ”the whole of my property and effects to my Mother, Mrs. Lizzie Mahood of Lakefield”.
There are no entries in the File from October 3, 1916 to March 22, 1917. To traces his movement during this period of time the War Diary of the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion was used.
October 1916 – When Pte Mahood joined 20th Cdn Inf Bn, they had just been relieved on the Front-Line by the 21st Cdn Inf Bn and moved to bivouacs in Sausage Valley. On the 4th, in heavy rain, the Bn moved to billets at Bouzincourt, France. The 5th to 8th were spent in daily marches, finally ending up at billets in Montrelet, France. October 9th and 10th were spent training and reorganizing. On the 10th a draft of 104 other ranks was received. The 11th to 14th were spent in daily marches ending up at billets at Hallicourt, France. A draft of 30 Other Ranks arrived on October 15th. The Bn spent the day in bathing and cleaning equipment. On the 16th the Bn marched to billets at Hersin. On the 17th it relieved the 13th Bn, Rifle Brigade (British) in the Calonne Sector. From October 18th to 22nd, the weather was reported as fine and the enemy quiet. On the 23rd the Bn was relieved by the 13th Cdn Inf Bn and marched to billets at Bully Grenay. The 24th to 28th were spent training. On the 29th the Bn relieved the 18th Cdn Inf Bn in the Maroc Sector of the Front-Line. The 30th and 31st were reported quiet.
November 1916 – The Bn remained in the Maroc Sector, where the situation was reported quiet. On the 4th the Bn was relieved by the 18th Cdn Inf Bn and moved to a position in Brigade Support. The 5th to 9th were spent in work parties. On the 10th the Bn relieved the 18th Cdn Inf Bn in the Maroc Sector of the Front-Line. The 11th to 15th were reported as generally quiet. After being relieved by the 18th Cdn Inf Bn, the men of the 20th Bn moved to billets at Bully Grenay. The 17th to 21st were spent training and in work parties. On the 22nd the Bn once again relieved the 18th Bn in the Front-Line. Other than a couple of days where the Allied artillery shelled enemy positions, the situation remained relatively quiet, from the 23rd to 28th. On the 29th, the Bn was once again relieved by the 18th Bn and moved back to a position in Brigade Support, where it stayed until the end of the month.
December 1916 – During the month, the 18th and 20th Bn continued their regular routine of in and out of the Front-Line in the Calonne I and II areas. Other than the occasional exchanges of artillery and trench mortar fire, the month passed fairly quiet. When not on the Front-Line, the men engaged in bath parades, pay parades, and general training. By the end of the month, as a result of heavy and continuous rain, the trenches were reported in bad shape.
January 1917 – The weather was reported as showery on the 1st. There was some artillery and trench mortar activity in the afternoon. At night, special patrols were sent out into No-Man’s-Land in preparation for a forthcoming Operation. On the 2nd the weather was bright and breezy. There was the usual artillery and trench mortar activity. Special patrols were out, once again, inspecting enemy wire. On the 3rd the Bn was relieved by the 18th Cdn Inf Bn and moved to a Brigade Reserve position at Bully Grenay. The 4th to 7th were spent training for the planned Operation. By the 8th, preparations for the Operation were well underway, 4 Officers and 56 other ranks went forward, while the rest of the Bn continued training. On the 9th, the men were engaged in digging dummy trenches. Special training continued, with an emphasis on grenade work and attacking trenches. On the 10th special sections were detailed for the Operation, practiced attacks on dummy trenches. From the 12th to 16th special training continued. It was snowing during the early hours of the 17th. At 4:00 AM, the men participating in the Operation were served a hot meal. They started moving forward at 4:30 AM. With all troops in position at 6:00 AM. At precisely 7:45 AM Bn Artillery laid on a shrapnel barrage of the German Front-Line and storming parties moved to the assault. At zero hour plus 4 minutes the barrage lifted and moved forward to enemy support positions, where it remained until zero hour plus 20 minutes. At this point, communications had been established with the German Front-Line and it was reported that these positions were in Bn hands and that mopping up was proceeding satisfactorily. It was also reported that the heavy wire in front of the Enemy Lines had been very successfully dealt with by the barrage and did not present an obstacle. At zero hour plus 20 minutes the barrage lifted to the enemy rear positions. At this point, the 2nd wave swept forward to its final objectives. At zero plus 30 minutes green flares were fired indicating that the Enemy Support Lines has been taken. Zero plus 40 minutes it was reported that mopping up of this position was complete. At this point, the Artillery, for the first time, fired a smoke barrage over the area. At zero plus 45 minutes the withdrawal from the final objective commenced. At zero plus 50 minutes, all Bn troops had fallen back to the German Front-Line trenches and continued on back to the Bn original Front-Line trenches. The men of the Bn moved back to its position in Brigade Reserve at Bully Grenay. At this point enemy Artillery laid on a heavy barrage of No-Man’s-Land. Bn casualties were reported as: killed-in-action 22 Other Ranks, died of wounds 5 Other Ranks, missing 1 Other Rank, wounded 2 Officers and 51 Other Ranks. In spite of these casualties the raid was considered a success, as a large number of enemy had been killed and captured and significant damage had been done to their trenches. It snowed all day of the 18th. The men marched to billets at Bruay. It was reported the roads were in very poor shape and unfavourable for marching. It continued to snow on the 19th, while the men spent the day cleaning and trying to dry their clothes and equipment. On the 20th it was back to training. A draft of 145 other ranks reported to the Bn on the 21st and were absorbed into Companies. The 22nd to 29th were spent in training and physical conditioning, a Route March, and inspection. On the 30th the Bn moved to billets at Auchel. The month ended bright and cold and back to training.
February 1917 – The weather for the first half of the month was reported as extremely cold and wintery. From the 1st to 9th the men of the Bn were engaged in general training, Platoon and Company drills. They also had two inspections, one by the Battalion Commander and one by the Divisional Commander. On the 10th the men marched from Auchel to billets at Hallicourt, where they spent the afternoon cleaning their clothes and equipment. On the 11th they marched to billets at Bois de Bray. They relieved the 60th Cdn Inf Bn – 9th Cdn Inf Brigade in the Thelus Sector of the Front-Line (Roclincourt). The 13th to 18th were reported as relatively quiet, except for the Bn 18 pounders and ”heavies” shelling the enemy Front-Line, support and rear areas on a daily basis. On the 18th the enemy fired a few trench mortar shells and ”fish-tail bombs” along the Bn Front-Line, but resulted in no casualties. The 18th Cdn Inf Bn relieved the 20th Cdn Inf Bn on the 19th and it moved back to billets in Divisional Reserve at Ecoivre. The 20th to 23rd were spent in general training. The Bn engaged in a route march on the 24th. On the the 25th it relieved the 18th Bn in the Front-Line. The rest of the month was reported as quiet, with both sides exchanging Artillery fire.
March 1917 – The month opened clear and cold. The 1st was spent with both sides exchanging light Artillery barrages. Based on favourable weather conditions on the 2nd, enabled the Bn to carry out much observation of enemies forward system of defences. With the aid of areoplane observation, a systematic bombardment of key positions was carried out throughout the day. At 3:00 AM on the 3rd the Unit on the left discharged gas on the Enemy Front-Line, which was followed by a sustained Artillery barrage that lasted until 7:00 AM. The 20th Bn was relieved by the 18th Cdn Inf Bn and moved to billets in Brigade Support near Maison Blanche. Nothing unusual was reported on the 4th. On the 5th a considerable amount of snow fell during the night. It was reported quiet during the day. The Bn was relieved by the 18th Cdn Inf Bn on the 6th. The 20th Bn moved to the left and took up positions in Brigade Support. Bn Companies were distributed between Glasgow Dump, Zivy Cave, and Rhine Shelters. On the 7th based on insufficient accommodations, work parties and Regimental fatigue parties were established to build additional shelters. Every available man was engaged in work and fatigue parties on the 8th constructing new trenches, dugouts, carrying materials, and generally assisting in preparations for the contemplated Operations. The Bn was relieved by the 21st Cdn Inf Bn on the 9th and moved to huts in Divisional Reserve near Bois des Alleux. The 10th was devoted to work of a routine manner. General training was carried out on the 11th. The 12th to 14th the weather was unfavourable to outdoor training or activities. The weather turned bright and fine on the 15th and the Bn relieved the 21st Cdn Inf Bn in the left subsection (Thelus Sector) in Brigade Support. The 16th to 20th was spent in large work parties constructing new trenches, burying cables, digging dugouts, carrying materials, etc. On the 21st the Bn was relieved and moved back to billets in Divisional Reserve at Bois des Alleux.
On March 21, 1917 Pte Mahood was at No 2 Canadian Field Ambulance (CFA) with what was described as ”Boils on the Buttocks”. He passed through the No 6 CFA on March 22, 1917 ending up at the Canadian Corps Rest Station where he remained until April 1, 1917 when he rejoined the 20th Bn. April 21, 1917 he was admitted to the No 18 General Hospital at Camiers with Gunshot wounds to his right leg and face. The wounds were as a result of the accidental discharge of a firearm. On April 24, 1917 he was transferred to the No 6 Convalescent Depot at Étaples. He was then transferred to the No 5 Convalescent Depot at Cayeux, where he remained until June 4, 1917 when he rejoined his Unit.
Once again, based on there are no entries between June 4th, 1917 to April 14, 1918 the War Diary of the 20th Cdn Inf Bn was used. Although not noted, Pte Mahood was promoted to the Rank of Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) in June 1917.
June 1917 – When L/Cpl Mahood rejoined his Unit they were in huts at Coupigny, France. Weather wise the month was pretty good with periods of heavy rain in the middle. The month was spent in general training, musketry (rifle) instruction, bayonet fighting, and bombing instruction; as well as physical instruction and sports events.
July 1917 – The 1st to 10th were spent, as in June, in huts at Coupigny, training. On the 11th the 20th Bn relieved the 25th Cdn Inf Bn in Support at Lievin in the Lens Sector. The 12th was spent preparing for a move forward. On the 13th the Bn relieved the 28th Cdn Inf Bn in the Front (Laurent Section). The 21st Cdn Inf Bn was on the right and the 11th Bn Essex Regiment (British) was on the left. It was reported that the 14th to 16th were quiet, with patrols out every night in No-Man’s-Land. On the 17th the Bn moved back to a Support position in the Lens Section. The 18th to 22nd were reported as generally quiet. On the 23rd the Bn was relieved by the 28th Cdn Inf Bn and moved to billets near Bouvigny-Boyeffles. The 24th to 31st were spent training, and practicing Company attack schemes on a ”taped” course.
August 1917 – It rained heavily from the 1st to 3rd while preparations were underway to move forward. On the 4th the Bn relieved the 29th Cdn Inf Bn in Maroc. During the 5th to 8th the entire area was shelled by the enemy, but resulted in few casualties. A plan was put in place to send two Platoons into the Enemy Front-Line on the 9th. After being fed a good meal, the men moved forward following Bn Scouts. At 3:30 AM the Platoons were in position in the jump off area, 200 yards from Enemy Front-Line. At 4:14 AM, a barrage of the Enemy Lines opened up. The ”rolling” barrage rested 2 minutes in front of the enemy Front-Line, lifted and remained 4 minutes on the Front-Line, and then was stationary 150 yards in the rear. The ”heavies” put a ”standing box” barrage about the area. The Platoon on the right got into the enemy trenches and found them deserted. The Platoon on the left had a far more difficult time. The enemy wire had not been cut by the barrage, and presented a serious obstacle. The trenches facing them were strongly held and the men faced a heavy machine gun enfilade shooting through the barrage. At 4:41 AM, the Platoons withdrew and the barrage died down 15 minutes later. Of the 72 all ranks, who participated in the raid, 49 were casualties. The Bn was relieved by the 29th Cdn Inf Bn on the 10th and moved back to billets at Bouvigny. The day was spent cleaning up and resting. Through the 10th and 11th small parties were sent forward to collect Bn casualties from No-Man’s-Land. Funerals were held on the 12th. On the 13th, the Bn practiced on a ”taped” course at Marqueffles. Later in the day, ”A” and “D” Companies moved forward to a position near St. Pierre, while ”B” and “C” remained behind. On the 14th, ”A” Company was holding the Bn Battle Front and ”D” Company was in support. Late in the day, it was discovered that Bn runners had got lost and had failed to deliver Orders for a raid on the 15th. On this information ”B” and “C” Companies were brought forward and everyone was in position by midnight. At 4:25 AM, following a well timed ”creeping” barrage the Bn moved forward and captured Crowley trench and then Cinnibar Trench. At 8:30 AM, the enemy counterattacked, but were beaten back by artillery shelling and Lewis Gun fire. At 9:00 AM, the Companies withdrew to the previous German Front-Line and its frontage on Crowley trench. For the rest of the day hostile aeroplanes flew low over the Bn directing artillery fire and opening machine gun fire on the men. On the 16th, both side were exchanging artillery barrages and the enemy launched a series of counterattacks, all of which were stopped, before they reached Bn Front-Lines. From 2:30 to 5:45 AM the enemy laid on heavy machine gun fire on the Bn Front-Line and artillery fire, but nothing developed. In the early evening small search parties were sent forward to retrieve casualties. The 18th was a repeat of the 17th.
Although not noted, L/Cpl Mahood must have reverted to the Rank of Private (Pte) on his request prior to September 10, 1917. September 10, 1917 Pte Mahood was awarded one Good Conduct Badge.
Unfortunately, access to the World War I War Diaries went offline, for whatever reason, and remained offline, and the research couldn’t be continued.
On April 14, 1918 Pte Mahood was appointed Acting Lance Corporal with Pay. On June 6, 1918 he was confirmed in the Rank of Lance Corporal.
Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood was reported killed-in-action August 26, 1918 at Arras, France.
Before his death, he would have been involved in the Battle of Ameins from August 8 to 11, 1918. This was the beginning the Hundred Days Offensive. Followed up by the Battle of the Scarper, which began August 26, 1918, the day L/Cpl Mahood was killed in action.
What follows is the account from the 20th Cdn Inf Bn War Diary on what occurred on August
”At about midnight, Battalion Companies left their positions in the Line and moved forward to the assembly area in front of Bois des Boeufs. ”B”, “C”, and “D” Companies were in the Front with ”A” Company (Coy) in reserve. At 2:40 AM notification was received at Bn Headquarters that all Companies were in position. At 3:00 AM, following an artillery barrage, the Bn moved forward to the attack in extended order with the three Companies leading in the first wave. ”A” Coy followed up about 700 yards in the rear in an artillery formation. There was little opposition for about 2,000 yards and the first objective was reached on time with few casualties. On nearing the second objective, Bn Companies were met with considerable opposition from snipers and machine guns from both sides of the Cambrai Road. A tank was called forward for support, but was put out of action by an Enemy Field Gun. In spite of the opposition, the advance continued and the objective was reached at 7:30 AM. During this period, the advance was subject to heavy and accurate enemy shelling. A number of Bn casualties resulted from the Bn’s own artillery barrage, which was very faulty, falling short the entire time. At 1:30 PM, two enemy horse-drawn Field Guns rushed down Cambria Road in an attempt to retake the positions. The Bn Lewis Guns opened up on them and succeeded in killing or wounding all involved. During the remainder of the day, the Bn was very much troubled from the left by Enemy Artillery fire and resulting in a number of casualties. At 7:45 PM, under a barrage ”A” and “C” Companies advanced about a 1,000 yards and established a Line in Rake Trench. The Trench was found in good condition and as such not much consolidation was required”. It was reported, that the Bn casualties for the day, were: 5 Officers and 140 other ranks.
Sherman George Mahood’s Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll were dispatched to his father James Mahood of Lakefield, Ontario. The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother Mrs. Lizzie Mahood of the same address as the father. Other than a reference to Medals and Decoration were sent to his Mother, there is no specific reference to what they were.
Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood is buried in Tilloy British Cemetery, in the District of Pas de Calais, France. The Village of Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a Village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras on the south side of the main road to Cambrai. The Cemetery is south-east of the Village. L/Cpl Mahood is commemorated on page 466 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa.
There is no mention in his File with regards to what Military Medals that Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood was eligible to receive or was awarded. Based on his Military Service, he was awarded the:
British War Medal; and
He would have also received the CEF Class “A” War Service Badge.
Based on his Military File, Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood served a total of 2 years, 11 months, and 16 days with the Canadian Expeditionary Force: 10 months and 5 days in Canada, 2 months and 14 days in England, and 1 year, 10 months and 28 days in France.
An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:
SHERMAN GEORGE MAHOOD
Sherman George Mahood was born in Lakefield on August 28, 1896, the son of James Henry Mahood and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ann Balsdon. Sherman grew up in Lakefield and attended the local public school. He was a member of the 46th Durham Regiment.
Sherman was still a student when, in September 1915 at age 19 years, he decided to go to Peterborough and enlist to serve his King and Country. Sadly Lance Corporal Sherman George Mahood was killed in action at Arras, France on August 26, 1918 and is remembered with honour in the Tilloy British Cemetery, southeast of Arras, Pas de Calais, France.
THE SHERMAN GEORGE MAHOOD FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Sherman George Mahood’s paternal grandparents were William Henry Mahood and Sarah E. Smith. Sarah passed away on November 23, 1898 and she is buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield, Ontario.
Sherman George Mahood’s maternal grandparents were John Cross Balsdon born in England in 1847 and Mary Susannah Down born in 1848. John and Mary married in England and came to Canada. They lived on Queen Street and had a family of 11 children. John was a tinsmith and worked as a carpenter at a planing mill. Mary passed away on December 18, 1915 and John died on September 26, 1916; both are buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield, ON.
Sherman George Mahood’s parents were James Henry Mahood born May 23, 1862 and Elizabeth Ann Balsdon born September 27, 1871. They married in Lakefield on December 4, 1894 and made their home at 25 William Street in Lakefield. They had a family of six children: William Howard born Marcy 19, 1895; Sherman George born August 28, 1896; twins James Henry and Alfred “John” born November 12, 1900; Mary Edith born March 11, 1903 and Mary Susanne “May” Mahood born April 11, 1908. James Mahood was a carpenter by trade working on home construction in the area. James Henry Mahood died in Peterborough on March 27, 1928 and Elizabeth Ann passed away on October 29, 1930; both are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield.