Ralph (Raffaele) Merolla

Feb 15, 1887

Born in Cassino, Italy to Salvatore and Caterina Merolla


Nov 5, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59653 (temporary number 203)

Ø  Next of kin given as Salvatore Merolla, father, Cassino, Italy

Ø  Previous occupation given as Construction Foreman

o   Later noted as Powder Foreman

Ø  Previous military experience given as Italian Artillery Reserve

Ø  Religion given as Church of England

Ø  Posted to “B” Company

o   This was later reorganized into “A” Company

The 21st Battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area through the winter of 1914-15.


Mar 19, 1915

Forfeited 1 day’s pay for being absent


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


May 24, 1915

Sentenced to 5 days Detention for breaking out of camp while a defaulter


Jul 7, 1915

Forfeited 3 days pay for being absent from July 5 to July 7


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Nov 17, 1915

The 21st Battalion was resting in billets in Ridgewood, Belgium, near Dickebusch, and there is some doubt as to exactly what happened as there are 2 conflicting reports. 

The battalion’s war diary reports that there was only 1 casualty on the 17th, that of a man wounded while on a work party.  However, there is a first hand account written 20 years later that indicates Private Merolla was tending to the battalion’s horses when wounded.  That description is questionable, as the main details of the description have been proven to be incorrect.

The fact is, Private Merolla received shrapnel wounds to his head, legs and back.  He was evacuated to the No. 5 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) for first aid before being transported to the No. 8 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)


Nov 23, 1915

Transferred via the No. 1 AT (Ambulance Train) and admitted to the No. 6 British Red Cross Hospital in Etaples, France


Dec 1, 1915

While a patient of the British Red Cross Hospital, Private Merolla succumbed to his wounds and was buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery.


Following the end of the war, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to his father, Salvatore Merolla, c/o San Giovanni, Cassino, Italy

The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Mde. Caterina Merolla at the same address


Return to Tribute list