838266 Pte. Daniel "Allan" Dunoon was the tenth and last child born to Daniel and Elizabeth Dunoon, of Owen Sound, Ontario. Their eldest son, Daniel, had died when only one year old, and so his parents decided to continue the father's name in their last born, whom they named Daniel Allan. To avoid confusion with father and first born, he went by his second name, Allan.


Allan joined the 147th (Grey) Battalion in December 1915, at 19 years of age. There was nothing in his appearance that would make him stand out in a crowd. Despite his obvious good looks, he was of average height for the time, 5' 8" high; his complexion was fair and he had brown eyes and dark hair. His most obvious physical distinction was that he had a scar under his left eye.


Private Dunoon didn't "join up" because he needed a job, as he was employed as a tinsmith at the time. Nor was adventure his primary motivation. By the time he enlisted the illusion of the adventure of war had been destroyed. War bulletins and returning wounded soldiers had told of the first gas attacks in human history at Ypres, in April of that year, where more than 2,000 Canadians were slaughtered within a 24 hour period. Any new recruit would be well aware of the news reports.


In October 1916, following nine months of training at Niagara Camp and Camp Borden, 2,000 men of the 147th boarded the train in Owen Sound to begin their journey to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and from there to Great Britain. As the train pulled away from the station, Private Dunoon (seen right, with his nephew, William Dunoon-Wilson) had his last glimpse of his family and home.


While at Shoreham-by-the-Sea in Sussex, England, Allan was transferred to the 8th Reserve Overseas Battalion. Shortly after, he was transferred to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and set sail for France in February 1917. Upon arrival at the 4th CMR camp, Allan was taken on strength in the field on February 17th. He was now about twenty miles behind the front lines of the Arras Sector, and was given just three weeks to adjust to life in the trenches of France before marching to the Vimy Sector and final preparations for the Battle of Vimy Ridge.


From March 21st onwards, Allan was in and out of the frontline trenches in the Vimy Sector, repairing and draining the trenches. The Battalion also participated in bombing raids of German trenches, and cutting wire in preparation for the battle. The troops spent the night of April 8th in dugouts and tunnels in and behind the front line, but would not have been able to get much sleep, for the men could not lie down with any comfort. They sat around the light of a candle and dozed or played cards. Some wrote or carved their initials and battalion crest in the soft chalky walls of the tunnels.


Early in the morning on the 9th the bombardment ceased. At 05:30 the Battle of Vimy Ridge began. The circumstances of Private Dunoon's death are not precisely known, but that his body was found in 1919 in what was a frontline burial location for the time of his death, suggests that he was lost in the early stages of the attack that morning.


On August 12th, 1919, Allan was interred at La Chaudiére Military Cemetery. He was just twenty years of age and has the distinction of being the only Owen Sounder killed on Vimy Ridge.




Biography and top image of Allan Dunoon with thanks to Elizabeth Reynolds.


Headstone image with thanks to George and Brock Auer.


Thanks go to Bill Wilson for providing the image of Allan Dunoon holding his young nephew (Bill's father) William Dunoon-Wilson.