Thomas Federick Hilson

Soldier Details:

Private Hilson’s name appears on the Haltonville Cenotaph.

Haltonville Memorial, photo by  R. Laughton

Hilson, Thomas Frederick
Private 87th Battalion 3314330
September 30, 1918
Vimy Memorial
Born in Milton, Ontario Canada
Maple Leaf Legacy Project

Commemorative Details:

Private ‘s body was not recovered. His name, like many other at that time, is engraved on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Vimy Memorial. photo by CWGC

Milton Soldiers on the Vimy Memorial  (Google Earth).

Soldier Summary:

Thomas Frederick Hilson was the son of John and Margaret Hilson of Milton, Ontario.  Unlike many of the men from Milton, Thomas did not enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, rather he was drafted in January 1918 under the Military Services Act. He was 30 years old at the time.

Private Hilson was assigned to the 2nd Depot Battalion, of the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment (not the 2nd Battalion). He arrived in England on Mary 4, 1918 where he was taken into the 8th Reserve Battalion but did not leave for France until August 19, 1918 where he was taken-on-strength to the 54th Infantry Battalion and then to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp, which led to him being taken-on-strength by the 22nd Infantry Battalion on September 5, 1918. Less than a week later he was transferred to the 87th Infantry Battalion “Grenadier Guards” (4th Division, 11th Infantry Brigade) and within 2 weeks he was reported “Missing in Action” on September 30, 1918 and presumed dead.

During “Canada’s Hundred Days” in the closing days of the war, the Canadian were moving quickly across France from Arras to Cambrai, then on to Amiens. On September 30, 1918 the Battle of Canal du Nord and Cambrai was intense. The War Diary of September 30th places the 87th Battalion at Bourlon Wood, south of the Arras-Cambrai Road (see Nicholson Map 13). At the end of the day there were only 4 officers and 124 other ranks left in the battalion. Private Hilson perished that day with many of his friends.

The Military Services Act was introduced by Prime Minister Borden on June 11, 1917 for all British Subjects (there were no Canadian Citizens at that time) between the ages of 20 and 45. These men were drafted into Depot Battalions and then dispersed overseas to the Reserve Battalions and then on to the front line units.  For more information on Conscription see Nicholson Chapter XI.

There are no digital images on the Virtual War Memorial, Ottawa Canada.

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