Lt. Edwin Austin Abbey was born in September, 1888, in Kilmalcolm, Scotland. The Abbey family latterly moved to Pennsylvania, USA, where Edwin trained as a Civil Engineer.

The summer of 1915 saw Edwin superintending the construction of the Shaw's Creek bridge in Ontario. On October 2nd of that year he attested as #166696 with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, CEF, in Toronto, and in early December he quickly found himself overseas.

Arriving in Flanders on March 8th, 1916, as a serving Lance Corporal, Edwin was wounded by shrapnel in the shoulder from a close bursting German shell on April 23rd (Easter Day). His injury saw him initially at the King George Hospital, in London.

Remaining in England for several months, Edwin finally returned to the Front, gazetted as a Lieutenant, in December 1916, where, as one of two men of the 2nd Pioneers, he found himself assigned to "D" Company of the 4th CMR.

On April 10th, 1917, the 4th CMR were moving forward in an attack at Petit Vimy, on Vimy Ridge, when close to the cable house, Lt. Edwin Austin Abbey was struck down by a sniper's bullet.

A book was published in 1918, by Houghton Mifflin Co., USA, entitled 'An American Soldier' (see the * footnote at the bottom of this page). Consisting of letters to his family, it is an interesting account of an American who, eager to join the war, does so via Canada and falls at the greatest of the Canadian actions.

With thanks to Rick Closson, we have learned that Edwin has a bronze plaque mounted in his memory in Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, and is also mentioned in a separate University of Pennsylvania display to students who died in the Great War.

Copies of that plaque in plaster or cement are also in Santa Barbara's 1927 Montarioso (Franceschi House) and Miami Beach's 1930 Casa Casuarina (Versace Mansion).

The group image to the right was sent to by a passing contact early in the site's research days, and it is regretted that a specific credit for the image cannot now be cited. However, given Edwin was made Lieutenant in late 1916, and died in April 1917, this image with fellow 4th CMR officers clearly was taken some time in that brief period.

When originally posted on an early Gallery page on this website, with a request for any details on who any of the men might be, 4th CMR researcher, John Crawford, was able to identify them. They are, left to right, (with additional details supplied by

Back row, left to right:

Lt. Edwin Austin Abbey - originally 2nd Pioneer Battalion, lost at Vimy in April 1917,

Lt. James Armstrong Brockleby Chenney - originally 33rd Battalion, struck off strength June 1917,

Lt. William George Butson - originally 136th Battalion, lost at Vimy in April 1917, and

Lt. Lyell Corson Johnston - originally 111th Battalion, also lost at Vimy in April 1917.

Front row, left to right:

Capt. William Robert Muirhead - originally 66th Battalion, lost at Passchendaele in October 1917,

Major Addison Alexander MacKenzie - wounded at Vimy and struck off strength in April 1917, and

Lt. Gregory Clark - originally of the 170th Battalion (he subsequently received promotion to Captain and was awarded an MC), also survived the war.

It is known that the group photograph came from Lt. Clark's own collection. Many thanks to John Crawford for identifying the men in that image.

In thanking Sue Sullivan for originally standing to represent Lt. Abbey, and to Rick Closson for additional information concerning his memorials, this biography page was created by 4th CMR researcher, David Kavanagh, and posted by to share the above story and images.

*Book: the portrait image of Edwin comes from 'An American Soldier', which is available as a free download.

Additionally, it is now fairly surely known that the above individual images of Edwin, and the "D" Company officers were taken in Lillers, France, in February or March 1917, whilst the regiment was stationed at Burbure, during preparations for the assault on Vimy Ridge in the April. This confirmation came through Lt. Gregory Clark's own words: "The Bn. remained in Burbure till about March 20 training for the Vimy Show. That photo of McKenzie, Muirhead, Butson, Abbey, Johnston, Chenney and me was taken at Lillers while we were at Burbure. Lillers was then a fine town." - Many thanks to Pete Maxfield for this confirmation.