Albert Henry Adams

Rank: 
Private
Regimental number: 
11323
Unit at enlistment: 
4th Battalion
Force: 
C.E.F.
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Volunteered
Survived the war: 
Yes
Wounded: 
Yes
Commemorated at: 
Colborne Street Methodist Church
Birth country: 
Canada
Birth county: 
Brant
Birth city: 
Brantford, Ontario
Address at enlistment: 
77 Murray Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
77 Murray Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Salesman
Employer: 
Tip Top Tailor
Religious denominations: 
Wesleyan
Marital status: 
Single
Age at enlistment: 
22

Letters and documents

BX January 15, 1915

Would Follow Their Colonel Through Hades – Albert Henry Adams Tells of a Trip to Scotland and Expresses Appreciation of Battalion Officers – Getting Bayonets Sharpened For Early Move 

In an interesting letter to his father, H.F. Adams, Murray Street, Private Albert Henry Adams, of the First Contingent tells of a recent trip to Scotland. He says in part: 

“We had a six day leave of absence and free transportation to any part of the British Isles, so I went to Dunfermline, Edinburgh, and London. Dunfermline is but a small place and the great Bruce is buried there. It is also noted as being the home of Andrew Carnegie, so you see it would be worth seeing. I stopped only one day and came back to Edinburgh. Here I was lucky enough to meet a kiltie who lived there, and he took me to a good hotel, which cost me ‘three and six’ for room, bath, and breakfast, and then we went to his home for tea. When his people found out I was from Canada they couldn’t do enough for me. The next day my kiltie friend and I went through Edinburgh castle, taking in the dungeons and everything. The jewel or crown room is very interesting containing all the jewels and the crown that the ancient kings and queens wore. The crown is studded with diamonds and rubies worth thousands of dollars. The castle is on a high hill, and you can see all over the neighborhood from it. I crossed the Forth Bridge, which is one and one half miles in length.

“After dinner we went to the school where the King and the Prince of Wales were educated. Edinburgh is without a doubt, the prettiest city I have ever been in, and has London faded a hundred ways for beauty. We went back to my friend’s place for tea again and spent the evening there. I told them all I knew about Canada and a lot more. I think they are all going to move over, Ha! Ha!  The next morning I left for London, and it was some ride, taking about eight hours. I remained in London for a few days and then beat it back here to the mud.

“We have received word from headquarters that the Fourth Battalion is the best in the whole contingent and that we will be the first to go, and this is not ‘hot air,’ for we are the only ones getting ready. We are certainly lucky in having such a good colonel and adjutant. They have proved themselves to be real men, and I don’t think there is a man here who would not go through Hades with them. We are getting our bayonets sharpened and are expecting to leave on January 15 for the base in France. At least those are the orders, but we may leave sooner or later.”

BX May 20, 1915

With Brantford Boys at Langemarck – Interesting Letters Received From Local Men Now at the Front Telling of the Havoc Wrought in the Ranks of Allies By Gas Bombs

A splendidly written description of his adventures during the battle which raged on April 22, has come to this city from the pen of Pte. Albert (Hippy) Adams, by way of a letter to his father, H.B. Adams, Murray St. His description of the battle, which was fought on that day is gripping in its intensity, and is one of the best of the war letters yet received. A number of other letters have also been received, and are given herewith. The letter from Pte. Adams is as follows:

May 7, 1915
Northern General Hospital
Leeds, England

Dear Father,

I guess you have heard by this that I have been wounded as I had a captain at Boulogne write to let you know. My arm is very sore yet, so I can’t write very much at a time, but I will do my best. The wound is at the top of my right arm. It came from the side, hit the bone, and glanced off and went through the muscle. It then rested on the nerve that works the arm. I had my operation at Boulogne by one of the Australian doctors and he was very good. From my elbow to my shoulder is numb yet, but I will come around all right. I sure have been more than lucky. I don’t know how I ever came out of it on Friday April 23.

On Thursday night, April 22, we were billeted about four miles from Ypres. Just at dark French troops came marching past our billet from the trenches and they told us that the Germans had broken through. They looked “all in” from the gases and poisons from the shells the Germans used. That was about 6 o’clock. At 2.30 the next morning we fell in and marched about seven miles to a farm that was just behind the German position. Of course it was some distance from them – about 1000 yards. At 6.30 the order came for B. Company to extend to the green field to our right, and right then and there hell was let loose. You know, B. Company consists of the Brantford boys, and as soon as we extended they let us have it. We would advance 25 yards at a time and then drop, and with every advance some poor fellows would go down never to rise again.

This was the first of our real fighting. It was daylight and the sun was just coming up so that made things all the worse. If it had only been night we would have had a much better chance.

Well, we had advanced about 300 yards and had to cross a small creek. I got my feet good and wet, but that didn’t matter much then, as the Germans had started shelling up with their gas shells. Gee, but they’re hellish!  They make your eyes run and nearly strangle you, but we couldn’t stop them as they were coming too thick. So off we went. We were now getting into a cross-fire from them which made things very bad. We were only a few hundred yards from the enemy by now and I was nearly all in. I was running beside Corp. William Blacker of my section, a real fellow too. A German trench, one they left, was only a few yards away. Well, we had advanced about 50 yards on a fast run, trying to make the trench but they opened fire on us again and we had to drop. I was lying on my stomach and Corp. Blacker came up beside me and just as he was getting down, he was shot right through the legs a little above the knee. It looked as if a dum-dum hit him. I dressed the wound and dug a hole with my entrenching tool, big enough to put him in, so he wouldn’t get hit again. Just as I was going to go on Wag Bremner crawled up. He got hit through the head, so I made the hole large enough for two. It took me some little time, but I will never forget the hole if I live to be a thousand. Reinforcements now came up so we just lay and watched them getting shot to pieces. It was one terrible sight. A “Jack Johnson” would alight in a field and you would see a cloud of dirt and perhaps a few of the poor chaps flying in the air. More than once I saw a shell land in a small bunch of fellows and after the explosion just see parts of them here and there.

A moment later there would be the most terrible smell come. Your eyes would feel as if they were burning out and thought you were being suffocated. What a lovely feeling. There were dozens of the dead lying quite close to us. I crawled up the trenches and told a sergeant where we were. Just a few moments after that our colonel and adjutant were killed. Shell after shell came and I saw quite a few of our fellows get it. Each time I thought I would be next, but it wasn’t to be, for all I got was a big piece of mud in the back that knocked my wind out, and a small piece of shrapnel that was spent. I got it in the back of the neck. It didn’t cut me – just bruised.

At dusk we were told to retire and bring the wounded back. That was the worst job I had. There weren’t many of us and to hear the wounded calling for help and we had to go on and leave them, as each fellow that was retiring had a wounded pal. When we got to the dressing station, it was filled with wounded, so we had to go on further to the next. I lost Blacker and Bremner somehow, and on my way back I saw Capt. Huggins from Hamilton, who was badly wounded. I was with him for an hour and a half, to get a stretcher as he could not walk and was bleeding very badly. I finally got one and had to leave him. I have never heard if he got better or not.

We were all tired out. It was nearly eleven p.m. and we had had nothing to eat all day. We were told to go to a barn that was about a mile down the road to get a little rest. In the morning 173 were all that was left of our battalion. I believe there are a few more than that who were not wounded. It sure was a terrible cutting-up for us all right. Don’t think for a moment they didn’t get some. They suffered very heavily as well. This is what happened on April 23.

I will write you and tell you all about the 25th later on. It has just taken me two days to write this.

Love to all,
Albert

BX May 26, 1915

Graphic Letters From Wounded Brantford Boys – Pte. Albert Henry Adams and Pte. Joseph McLaren Write Thrilling Accounts of the Fierce Fighting Around Ypres Toward the End of Last Month

Two interesting accounts of personal adventures during the heavy fighting around Langemarck have been received in the city, one by H.B. Adams from his son, Pte. Albert Henry Adams, who is now in a Leeds hospital, and one from Pte. Joseph McLaren, also of this city. They tell in simple but interesting language the personal experiences of the two men, both of whom were wounded, being now in the hospital. The letters follows:

May 10, 1915
Northern General Hospital
Beckett’s Park
Leeds England

Dear Father,

I’ll try to let you know what happened on April 24 and 25. About 10.30 on April 23, the roll was called and then we marched to the rear of the firing line again, only in a different position. We couldn’t take the main roads as the Germans kept continually shelling them in order to stop the transports. While we were cutting across a field a large burst about 50 yards away. I heard something whizz past me, and then I heard a grunt. Ross Sage was behind me and he had been hit in the ribs. It tore his pouch open, but didn’t hurt him very badly.  It was a piece of iron about as large as your fist. Well, we managed to march to a little bush. After getting into it we found it had been a swell home surrounded by long walks and beautiful statues, but it had been shelled considerably. This is where all the reinforcements were coming.  They were expecting them (the enemy) to make an attack that night, so of course we had to be there. You know we had nothing to eat since Thursday night. We were told to dig in and stay for the night. Along about midnight it started to rain, and we all got good and wet.  At 2.30 we were called to attention, and marched off. This time we were to be in the second line of reserves, so we went to a side road and had to wait until the first line went by (you know Major Ballantyne and Lieut. Jones were the only officers we had left.)  Lieut. Miller was wounded on Friday. The first line included the Dublin Fusiliers, the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, Seaforth Highlanders and part of “Kitchener’s Terriers.”  After they went by we cut across a field to an old farm house for it had started to get light. It sure was a tough sight, for in the house were a few wounded soldiers and in the barn there were eight head of cattle chained in their stalls and starving to death. We let them loose, but they were too far gone. Two of them went mad. We had to go on and later lined a hedge and waited for orders. All this time we were being shelled, but no one was hurt as the shells were going behind us. At last word came to advance again; up we moved along in single file. It was about 5.30 and still raining. Well, we passed several trenches, some of which the first and second battalions held. We had to line another hedge, which was parallel to the German trenches, and dig ourselves in. We had just got nicely finished when I remembered I had a tin of bully beef in my haversack, so Joe Price and I had some breakfast. That was the first we had had in two days and it tasted great. By this time we could see that our men who were in the first line were retiring. Some went past us. It seems that they had lost many of their officers, so most of the men who were left came back, but there were more officers back of us so they took them ahead again. The shells were coming over good and plenty, and I expected we would be getting what I saw the poor chaps getting on Friday who were in the reserve.

It was now 8 o’clock, I got out of the hole I had dug, and was just going to make it a little stronger when all at once I had such a terrible feeling. It shook every bone in my body, and then I felt better. At first I thought I was hit, so I turned around and asked one of the boys if he could see anything. I took off my coat, and then I knew I had been, for my sleeve was all blood and my arm getting numb. They dressed it, and I had to go back. This was worse than ever. I was all alone, and the way we had come was being shelled so heavily it was impossible to go that way. I saw two stretcher bearers carrying a chap, so I went with them. We were crossing a field which we thought was not being shelled, but when we had gone just a short distance we heard a “Jack Johnson” coming. You can hear them coming for miles – a regular whistle.  I knew it was going to be close by the sound and I had just shouted for them to duck, and was dropping myself when it exploded not more than 30 feet away from us. It blew me about six feet from where I was, killed one stretcher bearer and the wounded chap. The other stretcher bearer had a piece of shrapnel in his arm, but was not very badly hurt. It sure did shake me up and gave me a terrible fright. The bearer who was killed had both legs cut off close to his hips by a large piece of shrapnel, and the other got it in the body. It was a terrible sight. I never want to see one like it again. The chap and I walked nearly seven miles to reach a dressing station to get fixed up, those we passed being full. The first thing I asked for was something to eat and they gave me a “hot dog.”  Perhaps I didn’t relish it!  I will write later and tell you more about coming through Ypres.

Albert

BX May 12, 1915

Mr. H.B. Adams, 77 Murray St., this morning received a letter from Captain Ernest Beachcroft Towse, of the Gordon Highlanders from the Australian Hospital at Wimereux, near Boulogne, stating that his son, Private Albert Henry Adams had been received into that hospital with a gunshot wound which he had received during the fighting around Ypres. This was the first notification received of his being on the casualty list, the lists sent out from Ottawa not having recorded his name.
 
The letter was as follows:

April 27, 1915
Australian Hospital,
Wimereux, near Boulogne, 
France

Dear Sir,

I am writing at the request of your son, Pte. A. Adams of the Fourth Battalion, First Canadian Contingent, who is at present an inmate of the above hospital and who is going on very well. He was admitted this morning suffering from a wound in the right forearm.

He is now in far less pain, and I can assure you that he is in very capable hands and that he will receive every possible care and treatment.

He sends you his very best remembrances and is only sorry that he cannot write himself at present.

Yours truly,

E.B.B. Towse (Capt.)
The Gordon Highlanders

Private Albert Adams was employed before leaving for the front at the Tip Top Tailors, having previously been employed by Wiles and Quinlan, and A. McFarland. He resided with his father at 77 Murray Street. He was very well known in the city.

BX June 1, 1915

Casualties Announced

The official casualty lists published at Ottawa last night contain the names of two Brantford soldiers, whose wounding was announced some days ago, Private Alfred George Holway, 25 George Street, and Albert Henry Adams, 77 Murray Street.

BX July 13, 1915
 
Pte. “Hippy” Adams Takes Pleasure Jaunt and Makes Speech
 
A copy of the Ilkley Gazette of June 18 contains the interesting details of a jaunt given the convalescent patients at the Ilkley Hospital where a number of wounded Canadian soldiers are sojourning prior to their return to the trenches. These jaunts and other means of entertaining Canada’s wounded heroes have been due to the untiring energy of a thoroughly British woman, Mrs. C.E. Jones, who has been zealously using her best efforts to make the time pass pleasantly for the soldier boys during their enforced idleness. The trip in question was made to several points of note, including Bolton Abbey and the Stride, by way of Addingham and Farfield Hall. Among those who took in the pleasure ride was Pte. Albert Henry Adams, son of H.B. Adams, Murray Street. At the conclusion of the trip a delightful banquet was indulged in, and among the speakers was Pte. Adams. Referring to “Hippy’s remarks The Gazette says: 
 
“Pte. Albert H. Adams, of the 4th Battalion, First Contingent, in response to a call from the chairman, added his thanks on behalf of the colonials. They were only too pleased to come from Canada, he said, to the help of England, as they were proud to fight for such a country (Applause). To Mrs. Jones they owed a deep debt of gratitude that day, for they had enjoyed themselves immensely.”

BX August 10, 1915

Reunion of Brantford Soldiers – Wounded Men From 4th Battalion and Men in Training With the 36th (Ashton’s Own) Battalion Were the Guests of the Brantford Boys of the 19th Battalion at Shorncliffe Camp – An Enjoyable Day was Spent.

While hard work is the order of the day with the Brantford boys in training in England, occasionally there are intervals of rare enjoyment. Such was the celebration held at Shorncliffe Camp on July 19, when wounded Brantford boys from the 4th Battalion, and the local men in training with the 36th Battalion were the guests of the Brantford boys of the 19th Battalion.

The following interesting account of the event has been forwarded to The Expositor by Pte. Edward Ernest Hilborn, 11362, B. Company, 4th Battalion, now in the Convalescent hospital, Monks Horton Park, Kent, near Hythe.

To the Editor of the Brantford Expositor, 
Brantford, Ont.

Dear Sir,

The Brantford boys in England spent a very pleasant time together Sunday, July 18, when a few of the Brantford boys who have been wounded, and some of the Brantford boys of the 36th Battalion, were the guests of the Brantford boys of the 19th Battalion. It was sure good to see so many boys from the good old town together. The afternoon was spent in talks of old times till the bugle sounded “Come to the cookhouse door, boys,” and all sat down to an elegant spread – one seldom seen in a military camp. There was everything in the way of “eats” – even cigarettes and ginger (?) beer. After supper a good program was enjoyed by all. The following were the boys present:

4th Battalion
  
Adams, Albert Henry
Atkins, Robert Anson 
Blacker, William
Fraser, Alymer Donald 
Gage, Ross Bernard 
Hilborn, Edward Ernest 
Nuttycombe, Albert Edward 
W. Blacker.
 
19th Battalion, C. Company

Brookson, E.W.
Cartwright, G.B.
Colmer, Harold  
Derbyshire, Frederick William
Elliott, Samuel
Hughes, Henry
Hughes, Hubert Frank
Jeffery, E.
Jenkerson, James Valentine
Margerison, J.
Miller, William Edmundson
Mounfield, Kenneth Robertson
Ogg, C.N.
O'Neill, Percy Ray
O'Neill, Vernon Scott
Patte, George Jesse
Perry, M.E.
Ransom, Henry Robert
Riley, Arthur  
Smith, George
Smith, William Roy 
Taylor, Charles Arthur
Treleven, Ernest Alfred
Whyte, Henry
 
36th Battalion

Boughner, Claud Henry
Brooks, Thomas  
Hawkins, A.E.
Hetherington, Frederick  
Peirce, Harry William
Snodgrass, Joseph
Weatherston, James Bayne
Webster, P.
Young, Adam