Kimmerly, Percy

Regimental Number: 904594
Rank: Private
Branch: 10th Battalion

Percy was born in Fort Frank on September 21, 1893. His parents moved to the South Peace with their family in 1911. Percy filed on a homestead at NE 22-71-4-W6 and listed Grande Prairie as his residence at the time of his enlistment in March of 1916. He listed “steam engineer” as his occupation.

Percy sailed on the S.S. Olympic on November 14, 1916 and arrived in England on November 21st. He was transferred to the 49th Battalion, followed by the 9th Reserve Battalion and finally assigned to the 10th Battalion on April 17, 1917. Five days later, Percy was sent to France. By mid-August 1917, the Allies were committed to the capture of Lens. However, the commander of the Canadian Corps, Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, felt the capture of Hill 70 would be a more effective strategy due to its crucial observational position over- looking the occupied city of Lens. The assault began August 15th with fired drums of burning oil that provided a protective smoke screen. Slowly, the Canadians advanced up the hill. On August 18th, reinforcements had a difficult time reaching the line due to the bombardment of enemy gas-shelling that contained the blistering agent sulfur-mustard. The Canadians were heavily gassed as many men removed their respirators due to clouded goggles in an effort to maintain accurate fire. The 10th Battalion was assigned to the high points on the hill and it was there that Percy suffered shrapnel wounds to his back. He died at the No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station on August 18, 1917. Percy was buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery, France. The Canadians withstood 21 counterattacks; however, there were over 9,000 casualties during the 10-day Battle of Hill 70 – a battle that was recorded as one of the finest performances of the War.

Percy received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His mother, Elizabeth was awarded the Memorial Cross. As Elizabeth was listed as Percy’s next-of-kin, she inherited his Glen Leslie property.

Sources: homestead records
1911 Canadian Census
1921 Canadian Census
Newspaper Articles
Find a Grave
Smoky River to Grande Prairie
Saskatchewan homestead records
Edson Trail Centennial
Glen Leslie Cemetery records
Interview with Jim Kimmerly
Information about Percy’s military service contributed by Wanda Zenner