Canadian records show an enlistment of a 9, 11 and 12 year old in WW11 and one "ALMOST 10." So, as noted, Walter must have felt like an old man When he walked into the British Government's recruiting offices in California to sign up and finally got accepted. Then aged 36 or 37. He had already tried twice in Canada a few years earlier but some unknown medical condition resulted in his being rejected at Vancouver. Upon enlisting he was sent right back to Canada... to Victoria were intake papers were signed on 10 July 1917, and Walter then became Private Walter Rayfield, with the 7th Bn of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. (The unit was also known as the First BC Regiment.)
He was assigned to the 7th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, also then known as the First BC Regiment. His collar dog above has been shown on this site in the recent past regarding other Canadian VC recipients. Note the Collar dog on his collar in the centre as an "Old Man." The right picture is the cap badge he would have been wearing in those days.
The battle would launch the beginning of what would be later become known as the "100 Days Offensive" as those next 100 days would finally draw a close to the war.
But Rayfield's battle of 2/4 September 1918 would see that battle line pushed to the east some 40 miles, a major accomplishment of the war for the Allies.
During the battle Rayfield would be singled out with several others for incredible bravery. Under intensive enemy fire and without orders directing him to do so Rayfield charged way ahead of the rest of his troops and attached a trench that looked like it had quite a few enemy in. After bayonetting 2 Germans, ten immediately threw their rifles down and became his prisoners. Later, he stalked an enemy sniper that was killing many of his mates. He not only managed to shoot him, be jumped into the very pit he had occupied and found the enemy so overwhelmed that a full 30 more threw their weapons down in disgust and panic, and they too became his prisoners. Still later, private Walter Rayfield would crawl out under gauling fire to rescue one of his wounded comrades.
Later he would move to Toronto where the press would refer to him as "Canada's Sergeant York." ... of US Medal of Honor Fame. (Before receiving his VC he was promoted to Cpl and then Sergeant.) He would continue a military career, on a part-time bases in the militia as a Lieutenant and then captain with the Queens York Rangers.
For full time work he turned to Toronto's famous Don Jail. There he would be first working as a deputy Governor, but before long he would be advanced to Governor. Still later he would be appointed the Sergeant-at Arms at the Ontario Legislature and would remain at that post till death in 1949.
He lies today at rest in a Toronto Cemetery and his medals are now held by the wonderful National War Museum at Ottawa which I have been privileged to visit for several days a few years back, and have praised in past blogs. His deeds that earned the VC were performed 95 years ago the beginning of this week.
NOTE NOTE NOTE
More than 180 blogs and nine months ago I started writing these blogs. The original intent was to do a daily blog, as some that have braved the long trip with me will recall. After a few months of working 7 days a week, I found a calendar that said most folks only worked 5 days a week. So I did what most do, I followed suit and dropped the frequency to five weekly. Since then I have introduced my second favorite topic... those Canadians who earned the Victoria Cross.
But I'm now at a dilemma. I have covered the basic story of most of the MOH recipients and no doubt will be at that point with the VC recipients some day. These, and of course the odd side trip along the way, and updates as required still do not need a blog 5 days a week.
Beginning Monday of next week I will be scaling the blogs back to three days a week...Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with adjustments were needed for new and exciting info, holidays falling on one of these days etc. I also need time to get in some more research and believe it or not, have other interests that are also beckoning my attention.
Within a few weeks I will also be doing some serious research and away rom my usual desk, but will do my best to still meet the 3 blogs a week whist away.
I hope all understand, stay tuned, and for Pete's sake... (who ever he is) drop me a line once in awhile to let me know what you think of the work I am doing,
cheers till Monday.