(2nd Machine Gun Company, 1st Canadian Divisional Machine Gun Battalion) Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)
By Colonel P.J. Fleury MSM, CD1
During the winter/spring of 1916, the 1st Canadian Division was fighting in Belgium, where by March, it was occupying the Ypres Salient, holding the line between Hooge and St Eloi. It was here that the Canadians withstood a German chlorine-gas attack, the first such use of poison gas on the Western Front.
Robert Bruce Lusk was born on the 17th of March, 1891, the last of John and Elizabeth Lusk’s 12 children. The family had settled in the township of Eardley in the early 1800’s where they owned land, farmed and engaged in lumbering. The village of Luskville was named after the Lusk family.
Enlisting on the 21st of December, 1914, Robert Lusk was one of more than 11,000 employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Company who volunteered during World War 1, with over 1,100 losing their lives during the war. Robert sailed from Montreal on the SS Missanabie with his cousin Andrew, arriving in England on the 13th of September, where they both joined the 12th Reserve Battalion, then training at Shorncliffe Camp in Kent. On the 28th of February, 1916, Robert was assigned to the 2nd Machine Gun Company. He arrived at the CEF Base Depot in France on the 3rd of March and shortly thereafter joined his new unit.
At that time, the 2nd Machine Gun Company was continuing its training in addition to sending work parties forward to help construct dugouts and gun emplacements in the Ypres Salient. By April, section rotations into the front line trenches were ongoing and in a letter to a friend, dated the 8th of May, Private Lusk said that he had been in the trenches for six days and that he would soon be heading to the rear for a much needed rest. Later that same day, however, he was seriously wounded by gunfire, was evacuated to No 17 Casualty Clearing Station where he died two days later, on the 10th of May, 1916.
Robert’s sister Jessie served in England initially, and later in France, as a Nursing Sister, both at No 11 General Hospital, Camiers, and at No 46 Stationary Hospital in Ètaples. Robert’s brother Allen was conscripted in 1917 and survived the war.
Private Robert Bruce Lusk is buried in the LiJssenthoek Military Cemetery near the village of Poperinge, Belgium.
LEST WE FORGET
The Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 11 will start at 10:30 at the Parc Commémoratif in Aylmer. In honour of the Centennial of Armistice (1918-2018) the Aylmer Legion Branch 33 is inviting you after the ceremony to a Special Reception which will take place at the Aydelu Recreation Centre from Noon to 6:00 pm. To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, there will be an historical exhibit, WW1 re-enactors, free lunch, a live band and much more.
On November 11th, 2018. Honour. Thank. Remember.