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Lest we forget

The flags are half-staff again today at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 270 Coldwater, to mark the 100th anniversary of another Great War casualty from the Coldwater area, Gunner Frank Andrew Bush.

Frank Andrew Brush was born on August 22, 1895, the son of Roland and Florence (Borland) Brush of Eplett Street in Coldwater. Frank enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Kingston, Ontario, on October 1, 1915. He was 20 years old and single. On his Attestation Form he is described as 6 foot tall, with grey eyes and light brown hair. He listed his civilian trade as farmer and claimed previous military service in the militia with "C" Battery, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

Gunner Frank Brush, regimental number 348065, sailed from Halifax on the S.S. Missanabie (the ship was sunk by a German submarine two years later) to arrive in England on November 23, 1915. After a stay at the Canadian camp in Shorncliffe, where he spent much time fighting diseases including German measles and scarlet fever, he arrived at his front line unit in France, the 3rd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, on October 20, 1916. At this point, Gunner Brush earned, for his service to King and Country, the enviable sum of $1 a day, plus 10¢ per day as field allowance.

Gunner Brush's young life came to an abrupt end on November 9, 1916, during one of the many bombardments that characterized the Battle of the Somme. The last entry in his medical record describes in a few short words the fate that he, and so many other Canadian soldiers, met in France and Belgium: "Killed in Action – Gassed". His unit's War Diary for that day describes his last day at the front: "Weather fine and cool. Daily ammo allowance for bde [brigade] 500 rounds 18 pd [pounder] and 150 rounds 4.5" All batteries checked registration. At 9 p.m. enemy commenced bombardment with gas shells. Two Other Ranks died as a result and two were evacuated." Frank Brush was likely one of them.

Frank Andrew Brush is buried at Pozieres British Cemetery located some 6 km north-east of Albert, Somme, France. He is commemorated on page 60 of the First World War Book of Remembrance, inside the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

We will remember him.

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