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David Russell Hearns
David Russell Hearns was born February 10th, 1894 in Napanee Ontario. He was the son of John Sylvester Hearns and Theressa Loucks. David, a sailor by trade worked the boats on the Great Lakes as did his father and brother. Around the year 1913 David married a pretty young lady from Picton Ontario, by the name of Myrtle Hall and within a year they had a son, Charles Edward.
On August 28th, 1915 at the age of 21 David enlisted with the 80th Infantry Battalion. After training in Canada the Battalion sailed for England on May 16th 1916. David arrived in England on S.S. Baltic on May 29th after a passage of 14 days. On the 9th of June David was transferred to the 74th Battalion, but just seven days later this Battalion was split up, and David found himself in the 51st Battalion.
On August 21st David was again on the move ~ this time to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Center in Folkestone, England. He had now been in the Army one year. At this time the British Somme offensive was well into its second month so it is likely that extra men were needed to help with the influx of casualties. About four weeks later David was again transferred, this time to the 11th Reserve Battalion in Shorncliffe. David knew it was now only a matter of time befor he would be going to France.
On October 21st he was transferred to the 27th City Of Winnipeg Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Within a few days he had joined his new unit in France just as the battle of the Somme was winding down. It is unlikely that David saw any action at the Somme due to his late arrival, and soon the Canadians began moving to a new front in the sector facing a long upland known as Vimy Ridge.
The winter of 1916-1917 was relatively quiet for the Canadian Corps with just some occasional shelling and sniping by the Germans. The Canadian troops did however keep the pressure on by aggressive patrolling of No Man's Land and launching frequent raids of the enemy trenches. With the coming of spring came the long-awaited British offensive, and the Canadians were assigned the task of capturing Vimy Ridge.
In the early morning on the 9th of April 1917 the Canadian troops began their attack on Vimy. David was among them since the 27th battalion played a major part in this battle. Within 5 days the battle for the ridge was over. The Corps had advanced over 6 kilometers but at a cost of 11,000 casualties. Fortunately for David he was not among them.
On April 28th the 1st and 2nd Divisions attacked the village of Arluex-en-Gohell. The village was protected by a formidable system of trenches known as the Arleux Loop. The Germans put up a determined resistance but were overcome. Five days later on the 3rd of May David was reported missing after an action with the enemy. This was later changed to killed in action. He was 23 years old.
David Hearns has no known grave, as so often happens in war, but his name is commemorated to this day on the memorial at Vimy Ridge.
On receiving word of David's death his wife Myrtle abandoned their son to the care of David's brother. As was so often the case the casualties of the Great War were not confined to the battlefield.
Text written by Brian Lee Massey based on information and service records provided by Cheryl Ann Hearns Parker, grand-daughter of David Russell Hearns
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|These pages were researched and written by Brian Lee Massey & are Copyright © 1997 - 2007. This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my consent.||Poppy graphic and poppybar graphic designed by Brian L. Massey and may not be used on other sites
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