109247 RSM Reginald Bumpstead MSM was born on 18th April 1887 at Witnesham, near Ipswich, Suffolk, England, the third son and one of five boys and five girls to parents Charles Frederick Bumpstead and Emma Scopes, who had married in Suffolk in 1885. His father was a gardener and following in his footsteps Reginald too began working life as such with his younger brother, Leslie (b. 1893), after they had left school.


When he was old enough Reginald joined the local Militia and served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. Aged 19 he had made the decision to travel to Canada - the destination was widely advertised across local newspapers at the time, describing the life benefits of such a move. As a result he sailed to Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario in May of 1906. His occupation had not changed but the title had, as he now referred to himself as a landscape architect.


Reginald enlisted in October 1906, at Toronto, with the 9th Mississauga Horse, a Canadian Militia Unit. In June of 1909, aged 22, he married Ontario resident and Scottish emigrant, Annie Craig Murdoch, and they lived at 153 Close Avenue in Toronto prior to the outbreak of WWI. Later the home address was 26 Beatty Avenue, Parkdale Toronto.


After hostilities began Reginald had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant on 21st November 1914, and a week later, aged 27yrs, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, on 28th November, where he became 109247, Sergeant, of the newly formed 4th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles - of which men of the 9th Mississauga Horse formed a major part of this new regiment. As his younger brother, 109248 Captain Leslie Bernard Bumstead MC and bar (who chose to use this particular spelling of the surname) had also moved to Canada and joined the 4CMR, their army numbers were consecutive.


Reginald, promoted to Acting Sgt-Maj (Staff) on 31st March 1915, embarked with his regiment and sailed from Quebec for England on 18th July 1915. They landed on the south coast, at Plymouth, 10 days later. From there they were transported to Shorncliffe Camp in Kent, where they continued their training and to await their departure from Folkestone to France on 24th October 1915. Landing the next day at Boulogne, they then entrained for Bailleul approximately 80 miles to the east and marched to their first encampment at Meteren. Reginald became R.S.M on 27th May 1916.


Battle of Mount Sorrel (Hill 62)


In June 1916, prior to the Battle of the Somme in July, the Canadians were holding the front line east of Ypres, around Hill 62. The enemy had prepared an attack to take the high ground in this part of the line as they were aware of a build-up of commonwealth forces. At 07:45hrs on 2nd June 1916, the 4CMR had a visit of inspection of the line by Generals Mercer and Williams together with the O.C. CMR. At 08:30 the enemy began heavy shelling of the front line trench, whereupon a shell landed near to the group wounding Gen. Williams and deafening Gen. Mercer and Lt. Gooderham. Mercer would later die of wounds. The enemy attack had begun. There then followed a most intense bombardment of the front line by thousands of shells, culminating with mine explosions under the front of the line around 1pm. The regiment suffered many casualties and losses to P.O.W., and held out until orders to retire on Maple Copse. Their front line had been flattened with no remains of any trenches of any description, with about 350 men taken prisoner, including Gen Williams. By the 4th June, with the return of solitary soldiers a total of only 73 men mustered who had been present in the front line trenches two days before.


RSM Bumpstead was reported as being "missing in action" on 2nd June 1916 and it would be seven weeks later, on 20th July, before his capture by the enemy and internment was notified to Canadian authorities. He would spend the next two years at several internment and prisoner of war camps in Holland and Germany. Four documents are held by the International Committee of the Red Cross with reference to his prisoner of war status:


1. PA-5069: 17th June 1916, sent to POW camp Dülmen in Westphalia.


2. PA-7060: November 1916, transferred to Minden II, Friederichsfeld POW Camp, where he caught dysentery, which lasted for a month.


3. PA-15731: October 1917, transferred to the largest POW Camp at Soltau, Hanover.


4. R-51352: 30th April 1918, arrived from Soltau to internment in Holland.


His journey to the UK occurred on 18th November 1918, to Dover Camp, when he was taken onto the strength of the 1st Central Ontario Regiment Depot at the Canadian Military Camp in Witley, Surrey. His eventual repatriation to Canada was on 11th January 1919. After his return home he continued to serve with the Mississauga Horse for a further 18 months and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in January 1920. His name appeared in a list of awards in the London Gazette of 30th January 1920 in the following terms:

"His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the MSM to the undermentioned in recognition of their devotion to duty and valuable services whilst prisoner of war or interned: 109247 R/SM Bumpstead R. 4th Can Mtd Rif."


Reginald Bumpstead MSM was discharged from the C.E.F. on 30th June 1920 in Toronto. For his war service he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Canadian War Service Badge Class 'A' No: 142662.


After taking his discharge from the Military in 1920 at some later stage he joined the Argyll Light Infantry Militia in Ontario. There are two existing Certificates of Military Instruction from the Royal School of Infantry to him: the first, from 1924, shows that Provisional Lieutenant Reginald Bumpstead of the Argyll Light Infantry attended an Infantry Instruction course from 15th October - 26th November 1924, at Belleville, Ontario and qualified to the rank of Lieutenant. The certificate carries an official stamp for the Department of National Defence at Ottawa. The second, from 1926, shows that Lt. Reginald Bumpstead Argyll Light Infantry attended a similar Infantry Course of Instruction from 15th February - 13th March 1926, at St John’s P.Q. and qualified to the rank of Captain. The certificate also carries the same official stamp.


He was also a veteran of WWII. His grave marker, at Christ Church Cemetery Roches Point, York, Ontario, is marked as follows:

"Capt Reginald Bumpstead M.S.M. Veteran of WWI and WWII beloved husband of Ruth F Steriker born at Witnesham Suffolk England April 18 1887 Died Jan 6th 1971".






Biography details credit: Garry Farmer.