Philias Turcott
21st Battalion CEF

 

Jan 27, 1891

Born at Arnprior Ontario

 

Nov 16, 1914

Attested at Kingston Ontario into the 21st Battalion 

      Number 60006 (temporary No 1038)
      Next of kin given as Mrs S Turcott of Arnprior Ontario
      Previous occupation given as “Lineman”
      Religion given as Roman Catholic
      No previous service recorded

 

May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec

 

May 15, 1915

Disembarked in England and proceeded to West Sandling Camp

 

Jun 26, 1915

Transferred to No 4 Coy at West Sandling

 

Sep 14, 1915

Embarked to France from Folkstone and disembarked at Boulogne

 

Apr 7, 1916

Wounded by hand grenade at St Eloi 

      Left leg blown off at the knee and left arm broken by 3 shrapnel wounds from a hand grenade
      Was lying in front of trenches for 4 days before being taken Prisoner of War by the Germans
      Taken to German hospital where leg was amputated at mid thigh and shrapnel removed from arm and broken bone set

 

Apr 11, 1916

SOS 21st Battalion

 

May 8, 1916

Transferred to German hospital in Hanover

 

May 25, 1916

Repatriated to England - Admitted to Queen Alexandera Military Hospital

 While in hospital a debriefing interview was conducted to ascertain how he was treated while a prisoner.  A transcript of that interview is at the bottom of this page.

 

Jul 20, 1916

Secondary surgery on stump of amputated leg to remove pieces of bone.

 

Aug 25, 1916

Transferred to Granville Canadian Hospital at Ramsgate

 

Oct 28, 1916

Transferred to The Kings Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Bushey Park

 

Feb 10, 1917

Transferred to Granville Canadian Hospital at Ramsgate

 

Feb 21, 1917

Medical Board Report at Granville Canadian Special Hospital at Ramsgate 

      Injuries noted as 3 shrapnel wounds to left arm and amputation of left leg
      Wounds happened Apr 7, 1916 at St Eloi
      Reported that his leg was shattered at the knee and was amputated 3 days later in a German hospital
      Stump is 8” long
      The leg became badly infected and had to be operated on 2 more times
      5 weeks spent in German hospitals
      Disability rated at 70% but expected to be reduced to 60% within 3 months
      Complains of weakness in left arm
      Recommended as not fit for duty and should be returned to Canada

 

Mar 22, 1917

Discharged from hospital and SOS 21st Battalion on transfer to Canada for further medical treatment. - Embarked at Liverpool aboard the Hospital ship “Essequibo” (This ship was later renamed the “Neva” and sold to Russia)

 

Mar 31, 1917

Disembarked the “Essequibo” in Canada and sent to Convalescent Home at MD No 2, Toronto

 

Apr 9, 1917

Admitted Spadina Military Hospital Toronto Ontario

 

Apr 13, 1917

Transferred to Toronto Military Hospital Convalescent Centre

 

Jul 10, 1917

Taken on list of College Military Hospital Toronto as an outpatient

 

Sep 1, 1917

Medical Board Report at Military Orthopedic Hospital at Toronto Ontario 

      Left leg has been amputated and left arm was fractured as a result of a hand grenade explosion on Apr 7, 1916

      Reports that he was first treated in Belgium then in Hanover Germany

      Stump is now healed and he is wearing a “Rowley” artificial leg

      Complains of weakness to left arm and wrist

      Complains also of not being able to wear his artificial leg more than 3 or 4 hours at a time due to discomfort

      Recommend that he be discharged as no further treatment will be useful

 

Sep 30, 1917

Discharged from the CEF

 

Nov 14, 1917

Post Discharge Medical Board Report at Military Orthopedic Hospital Toronto Ontario 

      3 scars noted on left upper arm plus and amputation scar on the left thigh

      These were caused by a hand grenade which smashed his leg and knee, as well as fracturing his arm

      Stump is now healed and he is wearing a “Rowley” artificial leg

      Left arm and wrist are weak, with grip at 75%

      His incapacity is rated at 60%

      Recommended that he be placed on pay and allowances from date of admission to hospital

 

Jul 2, 1921

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to Arnprior Ontario

 

Sep 14, 1921

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to 140 Sumack Street, Toronto (There is no mention of the first set being returned)

 

Apr 16, 1957

Deceased 

 

The following is a transcript of the interview conducted on his arrival in England following his release from German custody

I was wounded between 11 and 12 o’clock at night (April 7th, 1916 at St Eloi) in an attempt to recover the craters.  I was not picked up until early in the morning of the 11th, when I was unconscious, and the first thing I remember is being laid on the operating table and being told that I must have my leg, which was in a very bad state, off, the knee having been blown off.  I was put under chloroform, and the operation was successful, and for five or six days the doctors watched me day and night.  I do not know their names, but one was a colonel.  My arm was broken, but was properly set.  On the sixth day I was moved with three German wounded to Courtrai, Belgium, about 10 miles off.  I was well looked after in the ambulance.  I remained at Courtrai for eight days and was very well treated—first rate.  The German sisters both here and in the first hospital could not do enough for anyone, whether British or German.  On the 26th April, 16 of us were placed in an ambulance and taken to the station.  We left about 10 in the morning (Sunday) and arrived at Hannover early Tuesday morning. 

They treated us very well on the train. 

For the first four days my wounds were dressed regularly, but after that they were left quite six days.  There were no orderlies to do anything, but a Belgian soldier did what he could for me. 

There were about 700 patients in the hospital, but I only saw one doctor, who, however, did what he could for me. 

As regards food, in the first two hospitals, I had whatever I wanted, but at Hannover I was hungry from morning to night.  For breakfast (7 o’clock) I was given a small slice of bread, which had to last me all day, and a cup of coffee without sugar and very little milk; at 9 o’clock we were given a piece of pickled raw fish, at 12 o’clock we had dinner, either a small piece of meat or fish.   At 3 o’clock we had a cup of coffee as before.  Supper at 5.30: sometimes soup or a small piece of smoked fish, or half a smoked herring. 

If it had not been for two English comrades who helped me from their parcels I should practically have starved. 

The sanitary arrangements were very fair. 

There were also Russians, French, and Belgians in the hospital at Hannover, and we were all treated alike; the English and Canadians were put together.  They gave me a cap and overcoat (civilian) at Hannover; the Belgian sisters gave me an outfit at Courtrai. 

The Germans also gave me a change of clothes every week—shirts, drawers, stockings and handkerchiefs; they also changed the bed-linen once a week.  I did not receive any letters or parcels.  Any letters written in hospital were read by a French interpreter to a German who looked after the mail.  Men who received parcels had to sign for them, so far as I know, they were not opened.  We were allowed to write two letters a month and four postcards. 

I did not see any cases of cruelty to prisoners.  We were told by a German officer at Hannover that we were being treated in the same way as the German wounded, and would be punished just the same as their own men if we did anything wrong.  There were no rules put up that I could see. 

The American Ambassador did not visit any of the hospitals I was in. 

I did not witness any infractions by the enemy of the Laws and Usages of War. 

The interviewer, J Stewart Warless, added the following “ the witness’ statement, in my opinion, is entirely to be relied upon”.  This is dated 27th May, 1916 

 

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