GUNNER ALLEN RAINSFORD WETMORE
CANADIAN GARRISON ARTILERY
7TH NOVEMBER 1917 AGE 19
BURIED: POTIJZE CHATEAU GROUNDS CEMETERY, BELGIUM
Allen Wetmore was 19 and 4 months when he was killed in action on 7 November 1917 - a boy, as his Commanding Officer says. He looks like a boy too in this photograph at the bottom of his page on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Wetmore, the grandson of the prominent if controversial Canadian politician, Andrew Rainsford Wetmore, volunteered in October 1916 in his home in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The photograph was probably taken just before he sailed for Europe.
According to the War Graves Commission, Wetmore served with the 4th Siege Battery, Canadian Garrison Artillery. If he did its War Diary is silent about his death merely noting, "No firing done today". Instead, the soldiers spent the day moving guns and taking stores by light railway to Lens. The Canadian Great War Project has him serving with the 9th Siege Battery. The 9th fired their guns that day but "Enemy shelling nil and (it) was really the only day we have not received the enemy's attentions since taking over the position".
Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery is a battlefield cemetery; it's not one associated with a Casualty Clearing Station so Wetmore did not die of wounds received on a previous day. And in fact, four members of the 4th Siege Battery were killed on 7 November and buried in the same cemetery: one of them, Walter McAdam, also lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was also only 19 and he and Wetmore had consecutive army numbers - friends who volunteered on the same day?