Private Edmund Deane (10th Bat. Canadian Infantry)
Whilst our attention has been focused on the Battle of Jutland, the Germans have launched another attack in the Ypres region, which claimed the life of Edmund Deane on June 3rd.
An official account states: “It was about 10 a.m. on June 2nd when the German preliminary bombardment of the Canadian position burst with the suddenness of a summer thunderstorm. A terrific drumfire of mixed shrapnel and high explosive swept over Hill 60, Mont Sorrel and Observatory Wood – the right apex of the Salient – isolating the sector absolutely. Warfare had never witnessed such a stupendous concentration of gunfire.
Storms of explosives rolled over the Canadian front and support lines with hurricane force and more than a hurricane destructiveness, wrecking position after position with ghastly thoroughness.
At 1 p.m. the German infantry emerged from their trenches and trotted over the scarred, shell-tossed earth where three hours previously had been well-built trenches manned by the best blood of Canada. They met with no resistance.
The 10th Battalion in the Brigade Reserve, when the storm broke, was at once ordered up to Mont Sorrel support lines in Armagh Wood, to assist the 7th Battalion, which was about to counter attack.”
The exact circumstances of Edmund’s death are uncertain, but we understand he was killed in the counter attack.
Edmund was at the OPS from 1879-83, under my predecessor as Headmaster, Rev AE Clarke. We overlapped by one year, as I joined the school as an Assistant Master in September 1882.