Private William Ira Fulford

109346 Pte. William Ira Fulford was born in the community of Silcote, north east of Owen Sound, in Grey County, Otario, on November 28th, 1889. One of six children born to Henry and Mary Fulford, William was the third son.

As was the custom among farming families the farm was the eldest son's birth right. On account of this William struck out on his own and was working as a mechanic for the Russell Motor Company when hostilities broke out.

Twenty-six year old William attested in to the 4th C.M.R. in Toronto, on April, 7th 1915, being one of the originals to form the regiment. The unit's initial training was conducted at Toronto's Exhibition grounds. In the spring they moved to Camp Valcartier before sailing for England on the Hesperian in July of 1915. They trained for a few months in England and on October 24th, 1915, the unit was finally sent to France.

After undergoing their introduction to the front lines by squadron around Ypres, the unit finally took over a section of the lines in the Salient in late November. The regimental history describes how on December 1st. 1915, while in the reserve area a shell air exploded over "A" squadron lines, wounding five men and killing both Private Fulford and Lance Corporal Henry Hodge, who was acting Chaplin at the time.

William probably didn't even know what hit him when the shrapnel from the air burst tore through his tent killing him. In its cold military terminology William's death was often referred to as wastage. In a letter of condolence written to his parents, one of his officers stated:

"I found your son to be a thorough soldier, always dependable and filled with a patriotic desire to do the most for his country".

For many Grey County residents who read his obituary, it was probably the first time they had heard of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles. It would not be their last, as this particular unit was the one that had the largest representation of the soldiers coming from Grey County.

109346 Private William Ira Fulford was originally buried at the Rosenberg Chateau Military Cemetery, near Ploegsteert, Belgium, but was relocated to lie in rest in Belgium's Berks Cemetery Extension, at Commines-Warneton. Nearer to his home in Silcote, Ontario, his service is remembered on the Cenotaph in nearby Meaford, Grey County, Ontario.

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