Henry Bleeker Vilneff

Aug 31, 1875

Born in Sydney Township, Ontario to John and Nancy (nee Dirkins) Vilneff


Jan 29, 1916

Attested into the 155th Battalion CEF in Tweed, Ontario

Ø  Number 636522

Ø  Next of kin given as William Vleneff, brother, Sulphide, Ontario

Ø  Present address given as Tweed, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Labourer

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Methodist

Name on attestation reads Henery Vleneff

In the service file his name is also spelled as Henry Villneave and Henry Vleneff.  The Menin Gate has his name listed as H. Vilneff.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists his name as Henry Vilneff, while the Canadian Virtual War Memorial lists his name as Henry Vleneff.  The 1911 Canadian Census shows Henry Vilneff, born in 1875 living alone in Tweed, Ontario.  The War Memorial in Tweed, Ontario lists a Private Harry Villeneuve.  I could find no soldier by that name that died during the war from the Tweed, Ontario area and I assume this listing is for Henry Vilneff.

The Will in his file shows that he signed his name with an X with the note “His Mark”.  It would seem that he could not read or write and that may account for the various spellings of his name. 

The battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area


Oct 17, 1916

Embarked the SS Northland in Halifax, Nova Scotia



Oct 28, 1916

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and the battalion proceeded to Bramshott


Oct 30, 1916

Forfeited 3 days pay for an unrecorded offence


Dec 5, 1916

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Dec 6, 1916

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France as part of a draft of 147 reinforcements from England and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Dec 29, 1916

After leaving the base depot, Private Vilneff joined the 2nd Entrenching Battalion in Hersin, France


Feb 26, 1917

After leaving the entrenching battalion, Private Vilneff joined the 21st Battalion in the Support Trenches west of Thelus, France


Jun 1, 1917

Attached to the Canadian Corps Agricultural Supervisor for temporary duty


Nov 3, 1917

The 21st Battalion moved into the Passchendaele front line near Crest Farm and immediately came under an enemy attack.  The battalion suffered severe casualties overnight and into the early morning of the 4th.  Private Vilneff was among the men killed in action that night.  He was initially buried in a field on the outskirts of Passchendaele, Belgium, just east of Crest Farm, the current location of the Canadian Passchendaele Memorial. 



 That field as it appears today


When the war ended, his identifiable remains could not be located, and his name is recorded on the walls of the Menin Gate in Ypres for those killed during the war in Belgium with no known grave.


Following the war, the British War Medal and Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his brother, William Villneave, Tweed, Ontario.

There was no Memorial Cross issued


Henry Vilneff is honoured on the Tweed, Ontario War Memorial under
the name of Harry Villeneuve



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