The Great War: Vimy Ridge
George Van Wyck Laughton, M.C.

Canadian - Serving in the British 3rd Army, 34th Division,  
26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)


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This page last updated on February 01, 2013



Historical Documents Comments from Richard Van Wyck Laughton (grandson) based on research conducted to date:
This photograph of G. V. Laughton appears to have been taken outside the Ontario Legislature Building in Toronto, Ontario, at the time he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Vimy Ridge.  The statement on award of the MC was as follows:


 "He displayed conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty and by his splendid example and lack of interest in his own welfare, encouraged his men to remarkable achievements.  "He led a bombing squad against a machine gun which was holding up the attack and, after the bombers we all killed, captured the gun single handed and destroyed its crew.  After all the officers had been killed or wounded he assumed command of the fallen battalion for the remaining days and held the position unaided against repeated German counter-attacks".
Record of Officers Service, London CANADA, March 3rd 1916.  Here we see that Lt. Laughton served with the 142nd Overseas Battalion of the CEF from 8-2-15 to 3-3-16, at which time they reduced officer strength.  Was he in England at this time?  Where did he go before he showed up again in February 1917?  This is reported in page 38 of Nicholson's book:

"After the War Office had changed it's mind several times - which had the effect of converting battalions from eight to a four company basis and back again - it ruled that the British system would stand.  As a result every Canadian battalion lost three officers from it's headquarters, in addition to eight subalterns that each had been carrying supernumerary to establishment."

A review of the records at the National Archives in Ottawa, Canada provided a copy of record of service with the 142nd Overseas Battalion of the CEF, with reference again to the date of December 8, 1915.  This particular record, perhaps a pay record, refers to the period of December 1916.

Certificate of Military Qualification, Department of Militia and Defence, Ottawa CANADA, April 3, 1916.  I am currently missing information that details where Lieutenant Laughton was from the time of enlistment to the time of departure to the Western Front with the 26th Northumberland Fusiliers.

Notice of Posting to 26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, 34th Division, 3rd Army, as issued at the No. 31 Infantry Base Depot, February 25th 1917.
Where did my Grandfather go on the night of March 18th 1917 that required a Regimental pass?

Note: On October 22, 2003 John Sheen (author of the Tyneside Irish) sent me and e-mail that stated the following:

The pass to St Pol would indicate that he was given a night off to go to St Pol at that time the battalion war diary says they were in the line 14th March took over from 24th Battalion in line until 20th when relieved by 16th Royal Scots.

George Van Wyck Laughton's pay book detailing his stay in London England during the winter of 1917, prior to his departure to France.
On May 11, 1918 orders came through for George Van Wyck Laughton that approved the resignation of his commission on account of ill health contracted on active services.

The battles of the 34th Division are identified in this time period as follows:

First Battle of the Scarpe. 9-14 Apr 1917, including the capture Monchy le Preux and the Wancourt Ridge.
Second Battle of the Scarpe. 23-24 Apr 1917, including the capture of Guemappe and Gavrelle. 
Battle of Arleux. 28-29 Apr 1917. (http://members.tripod.com/regtwarpath/divs/34_div.htm)

Discharge Certificate from the Canadian Expeditionary Force, dated February 3, 1920 (No. 82130, 15th Reserve).  It is strange that here he is listed as a Private and there is not record of his Medals or Decorations.  It may be that his officer status was temporary while on active duty?
A second Discharge Certificate which appears also to be dated February 1920 but is not clear enough to read.  It appears that this is a photocopy with an old Xerox machine and the document has faded.  This record should come from the search of the archives in Ottawa, Canada that is now underway.
Certificate for what appears to be a badge for Service In France.  This may be one of the badges that I have but as of yet I have no reference.
Certificate issued for the War Service Badge, not dated but shows his rank as Lieutenant and a holder of the Military Cross.
Upon returning from France, George Van Wyck Laughton, M.C. received this honour from the Town of Parkhill.  You will note the certificate is signed by the Mayor Of Parkhill, as well as his brother Fred Van Wyck Laughton, the Town Clerk.  Fred Van Wyck Laughton subsequently served as a Member of Parliament in the Province of Ontario (1929-1934).
On March 3rd, 1917 my grandfather George Van Wyck Laughton, purchase a small booklet of photographs that depicted the bombardment of the Town of Arras from 1914 - 1917.  The booklet is intact in it's original state.  I will scan and post the pictures to a separate page for those that are interested.

Photographs of the Town of Arras

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