Robert Gaffikin
James Harvey



Nov 14, 1889

Born at Belfast Ireland


Apr 3, 1915

Attested into the 21st Battalion at Lindsay Ontario 

Ø      Number 59434 (temporary number 1365)

o       He attested under the name of James Harvey

Ø      No next of kin was given

Ø      Previous occupation given as Steamfitter

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Roman Catholic


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec



May 8, 1915

Assigned to the Depot Company


May 15, 1915

Disembarked at Devonport England and proceeded to West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent


Aug 28, 1915

Name changed to read Robert Gaffikin


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St Seiriol at Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked at Boulogne France and proceeded to St Omer


Feb 25, 1916

SOS (Struck Off Strength) on transfer to the 3rd Canadian Tunneling Company, Canadian Engineers


Mar 20, 1916

Declared to be AWL (Absent Without Leave)


Mar 29, 1916

SOS as a Deserter


Sep 15, 1916         

Puchervillers British Cemetery
Somme France


Feb 2, 1917           2nd Canadian Division Routine Orders


It would appear that the army was re-thinking his classification as a Deserter given that he was wounded near the front 5½ months after he disappeared



For the 7 nights leading up to November 11, 2010, the names of all Canadian soldiers who were killed during the Great War were projected onto the Belgian War Memorial in Ypres.  At the same time, the same names were being broadcast via the internet to schools across Belgium and Canada.  The image above shows the opening ceremonies at the Belgian War Memorial on November 4, 2010.

Below on the left is the name of Robert Gaffikin being projected on that wall.  Below right shows the name being broadcast to the schools.  Each name appeared for 25 seconds and each night 9,700 names were shown.

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