838269 Pte. Thomas Albert Devine was born in the city of Owen Sound on April 16th, 1894. Although he and his family had moved on when he was about twelve years of age, he would return to Owen Sound often and eventually took up residence in his home town, becoming a sailor by trade and working on the Manitou at the outbreak of the war.

Thomas would have had no trouble continuing to work as a sailor, for Owen Sound was a busy port, but despite this he attested into the 147th (Grey) Battalion on December 8th, 1915, for his dollar a day wage.

A member of the Battalion's bugle band, one can picture Thomas the morning the unit tested its emergency mustering plan. For the buglers were stationed throughout the town and at the given time they blew their call in unison, summoning the soldiers to the armoury, as they were billeted throughout the town.

Thomas remained with them until the unit sailed to England, where he became a member of the 8th Reserve Battalion when the 147th was disbanded. Thomas was taken on strength of 4th CMR on June 17th, 1917, serving with them through the many battles until after Passchendaele, the onset of winter and the close of the offensive season.

The last week of January 1918 saw the Battalion moving into reserve near the town of Houdain, where they were undergoing routine training. On January 31st Thomas suffered a gunshot wound to the back. How this accident happened is not recorded but the wound left him a paraplegic. Thomas would be repatriated back to Canada through the medical system and would spend the remainder of his days in convalescence at Eucid Hall; a Toronto home for crippled veterans.

Thomas suffered from his affliction for over four years until he died September 5th, 1922, due to complications from the paraplegia. Dying after 31 March 1922, he was considered to have died after his military service and thus his name was not added to the Book of Remembrance, held within the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. And, although his death was attributed to his war service, his family never received a Memorial Cross, the token of bereavement issued by the Canadian Government to the deceased soldier's mother, for in Thomas' case she had predeceased him.

Thomas Devine was survived by his father, Alexander, and his sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Roffey and Mrs. Wayward, all of Toronto. When historians use statistics in their accounts of the "war to end all wars", they often refer to the numbers recorded in the Book of Remembrance as their source document and as in Thomas Devine's case, as is the case for all those who died after March 31st, 1922, their deaths are not reflected in those statistics. Such a travesty that a soldier should not be remembered for his sacrifice regardless of the circumstances of his death, for they had given their all for their King and their Country.

Private Thomas Albert Devine was buried in Prospect Cemetery, in Toronto, and is now remembered with all due honour on this site.

Thanks and credit for this biography and the image go to George Auer.