Josiah Alexander Chancellor Kennedy, ("JACK")
Regimental Number: 51288

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
& Royal Irish Rifles 

This Page Last updated: February 07, 2013

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This page contains the information from the text of Col. Nicholson "Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919" details of which are described at the Nicholson Great War page for my paternal grandfather, George Van Wyck Laughton.  I have included here the pages that are significant with respect to the PPCLI activities, not all pages where they are referenced.  Some additional pages are referenced in the notes, any of which can be scanned and posted for those who have an interest.

Nicholson Text (available formats)
Nicholson Maps (all scanned and posted in colour, click on versions below for full map)

The Nicholson text covers the CEF in the Great War and so this page deals only with Grandfather Kennedy as a soldier in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, details of which are also provided here on the PPCLI page.  We have inserted here time periods beyond which JACK was with the PPCLI for the benefit of other PPCLI researchers who do not have the Nicholson text.

Click on any of the MAPS to see them in their full scanned size.  All maps were updated in 2006 to a higher resolution.  In addition all sketches and other supporting information was added. 


PDF File Name by Page Number and Link Reference to PPCLI Activity


(see MAP 3)


Formation of the unit under Captain A. Hamilton Gault and appointment of Lt. Col. F. D. Farquhar (Coldstream Guards) as Commanding Officer.  Landed in France December 21, 1914 and joined the BEF 80th Brigade, 27th Division of January 6, 1915.

Page 138 refers to the PPCLI holding "The Mound" at Mount Sorrel in January 1915.

Page 122 refers to the Princess Patricia's undertaking the first recorded trench raid by  Canadian troops on the last day of February 1915, a week before the first Canadian Division entered the line.

Page 156 refers to the PPCLI switching from the Ross Rifle to the Lee-Enfield before they saw action with the British Brigade.




(see SKETCH 14)


The PPCLI in the Salient at Ypres in 1916 where they occupied positions in front of Polygon Wood.  They fell back to Bellewaarde Ridge, north of Hooge and on May 4, 1915 suffered 122 casualties.  A major German onslaught took place on May 8, 1915, the third assault being successful for the Germans and whole sections of the PPCLI were obliterated, leaving 4 officers and 150 men.  (Note: Grandfather Kennedy was wounded on May 10, 1915 and eventually struck off the ranks of the PPCLI and sent to England for treatment).

Page 92 makes note that the total PPCLI suffered 678 casualties between April 10th and May 21st, 1915.




(see MAP 4)


The PPCLI took played an active role in the St. Eloi Craters and Mount Sorrel in June of 1916, as detailed in the CEF Study Group project on Mount Sorrel.  We have included the full section from Nicholson on this event.

Page 150 refers to the Battle of Sanctuary Wood costing the PPCLI more than 400 casualties, including 150 killed, one of whom was the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. H. C. Buller.

Please see the main site for the 3 maps depicting the period at Mount Sorrel:

Nicholson Maps (see 4a, 4b and 4c)




(see MAP 5)


Nicholson covers the July-November 1916 Battle of the Somme with reference to the Princess Patricia's at Fabeck Graben (the Courcelette Sector) in September (a battle with which I have limited familiarity). Specific reference is made on page 171 to the PPCLI losing it's way in the broken ground from which all landmarks had been obliterated.  They struggled through intense rifle and machine gun fire to join with the  5th Brigade at Courcelette.




(see MAP 7)


I have covered the Battle of Arras (Vimy) in detail on my Great War website for my paternal grandfather George Laughton.  All of Nicholson's maps as well as the text for Vimy are provided at that location (see Vimy link).  We have included in the PDF link pages 252 to 258 to allow the reader to read the references to the April 9th battle.  The PPCLI are referenced on pages 254 and 256.

As this was such a significant battle for the united Canadian divisions, the Nicholson coverage does not contain significant detail on any one unit.  For more detail refer to Newman's text "With the Patricia's in Flanders".




(see MAP 9)


Nicholson refers to the PPCLI on pages 321 and 322 of his detailed outline of the offensive at Passchendale, however we have included 320 to 325 so that the reader can get the full context.  In fact, one must go back to page 312 to see how Field-Marshall Haig started to move troops in preparation for the northern offensive.  The Canadians returned to Gravenstafel Ridge, the same front they held prior to the gas attacks in 1915.  Currie and the Canadians worked with the Australians to coordinate an effective artillery and infantry attack, as they had at Vimy.  At this time the Germans also changed tactics and moved heavy machine gun support into the "forefield", to a great extent negating the use of heavy artillery by the Canadians.  The attack started on  October 26th and by the 28th the Canadians had suffered 2,481 casualties ("the slaughter in the mud"), including 585 killed, 965 wounded and 8 taken prisoner on the first day.  The PPCLI are referenced in the renewed assault on October 30, 1917 as the Canadians attempt to take Crest Farm.  The PPCLI had been successful in capturing "Snipe Hall", a troublesome pillbox at the edge of the swamp, the night before the main attack.  Regardless, the PPCLI were welcomed with a "storm of fire" that brought heavy casualties, loosing most of their junior officers in the first hour, many by German snipers.  The PPCLI main accomplishment is reported as being the storming of the fortified positions guarding the Meetcheele crossroads, thanks to the efforts of two Victoria Cross soldiers (Mackenzie and Mullin).  Passchendale was captured on November 6, 1917 and it was recorded as a day "by which for the second time within the year the Canadian troops achieved a record of uninterrupted success".



Map #10 of the Nicholson Collection is also used in the section that describes the Capture and Taking Prisoner of Josiah Kennedy on March 21, 1918, while serving with the 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. At that time the Germans were in the early stages of their infamous March 1918 Offensive and Kennedy was encircled and captured, along with many others. 


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Richard V. Laughton
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Royal Canadian Legion Member, Branch 136 (Pte. U.J. Waters)
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