Private Reading’s name appears on the Haltonville Cenotaph.
Private Reading is buried in the Sucrerie Cemetery, Ablain, St. Nazaire, France. His grave reference is III. D. 15.
Milton Soldiers on the local cemetery (Google Earth).
Private Reading is reported as being born in Warren, Ontario (Sudbury area) and having parents in Toronto Ontario. He reported he was a “Farm Labourer” so was perhaps working in Halton County. A check of the 1991 Canadian Census confirms that he was from the Toronto family. It also confirms that he was one of five (5) brothers that joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Everett, George, Allan/Allen, Fred and Herbert). There is no record of deaths of the other brothers. The census does report that Allen was born in October 1897 not January 1897 as shown on his attestation papers – so he may have been under age at the time.
He attested to the 77th Infantry Battalion in Ottawa in November 1915, which was broken up for reserves. He arrived in England on June 29, 1916 and was transferred to the 87th Battalion “Canadian Grenadier Guards” (11th Brigade, 4th Division) on July 4, 1916, yet the CENOTAPH clearly shows the 159th Battalion.
The CEF had come out of the fall and winter of 1917 after the great battles at Passchendaele. Although the winter of 1917-1918 did not see significant battles, the CEF did suffer 3,552 casualties of which 684 were fatal (Nicholson, pg 339).
The March 1918 war diary of the 87th Battalion shows that during this period and specifically onMarch 27, 1918 the unit was securing the trenches in the Lens Sector, north of Arras (see map). An enemy attack that was suspected on March 26th did not materialize and the unit was “standing down”, other than for scouting operations to retrieve intelligence. Although not mentioned, one can presume that Private Reading was killed during one of these patrols. The following day the 87th moved out of the front line and down to Roclincourt – albeit a day too late for Private Reading.
If anyone finds a link for Private Reading to the Milton area, please let me know.
We added the following digital image to the Virtual War Memorial.