Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 17 - John Quick

In memory of
John Quick
who died on November 14, 1917 

Military Service:

Service Number: 440544
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
Division: 52nd Bn.

Additional Information:

Grave Reference: Panel 24 - 26 - 28 - 30
Commemorated on Page 312 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

I almost skipped the letter "Q". There are very few names on the Honour Roll that begin with Q and none on Nov 15. But I did locate the above John Quick and once I started looking at him things got really intriguing and I decided his story, or what little I can find of it, deserved to be told.

As usual I looked for his attestation papers: there were several John Quicks listed at Soldiers of the First World War  but only one had the matching Service number. Oddly there was no Attestation papers nor date of birth with John Quick's file but there was an entry under Other Name: McGregor, Richard. so I did a second search using that name and came up with a a similar file, with the names reversed but still no further info. Very odd and not much help.

With little to go on I did a search on Ancestry by entering John Quick, his date and location of death  and lived in Manitoba (from his regiment listed above.). I went straight to military records and found a Circumstances of Casualty record for him.

In the box for circumstances of casualty it reads " This soldier enlisted under an assumed name, for full particulars see sheet for 440544, Pte MacGregor, R."

So I returned to Ancestry and searched the same methods as above for Richard Mac/McGregor. Again I found a Circumstances of Casualty record:

But instead of clearing up the confusion, this record only deepens it! In the circumstances box it reads "Previously reported Missing, believed killed, now for official purposes assumed to have died."  Location : Trenches of Passchendaele, Date: on or since Nov 14, 1917.  But the really mysterious part is the handwritten in ink note that reads: "Not a Fatal Casualty See Regtl Document Envelope"

So what does this all mean? Did John Quick, aka Richard MacGregor die at Passchendaele but his body was never recovered? Did he survive but die elsewhere? There is no mention of Richard MacGregor on the Honour Roll so the latter seems unlikely.  Without an approximate age I can find nothing of him on Ancestry that sheds any light on who he was or when he died.

The few clues from his military records don't lead anywhere I can access online. Perhaps one day I'll see what I can uncover at Library and Archives Canada. Until then, John Quick/ Richard MacGregor remains a mystery!

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