The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

455277 Pte David Jahiel (John) Dulmage

The Royal Canadian Regiment (C.E.F.)
R.C.A., R.C.O.C., R.C.E.M.E. (Second World War; B-89092)

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

David Jahiel (John) Dulmage was born at Warkworth, Ontario, on 20 Nov 1895. The tenth child born to parents William George and Emma Sarah (nee Breckenridge) Dulmage, David was only six months old when his father, a teamster, died the following year. In the 1901 Canadian census, the family, headed by widowed mother Sarah (then 47) still shows six children living at home; Irene H. (18), Mabel (16), Charles (13), Georgina E. (10), William Geo. (8), David J. (5).

Dulmage attested for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) with the 59th Overseas Battalion at Barriefield, Ont., on 6 Aug 1915. A 20-year-old chauffeur, Dulmage was described on his attestation paper as 5 feet 4 1/2-inches tall, with a 35-inch chest, a fair complexion, brown eyes, and light brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. Dulmage identified his widowed mother, Mrs. George Dulmage, Warkworth, Ont., as his next of kin. On attesting with the 59th Battalion, Dulmage was given the regimental number A55277, which was later changed to 455277.

When Dulmage attested for service with the 59th Battalion, he claimed prior service of 10 weeks with the 39th Battalion, C.E.F. He was discharged from his earlier period of service on 21 Mar 1915 but no further details of his service with that unit or the reason for his discharge are recorded.

The 59th Battalion (Ontario), C.E.F., was authorized on 20 Apr 1915 and recruited in Eastern Ontario and Hull, Quebec, and was mobilized at Barriefield (now CFB Kingston), Ontario. The unit provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 6 Jul 1916, when its remaining personnel were absorbed by the 39th Battalion.

With the 59th Bn., Dulmage embarked at Halifax, N.S., on 5 Apr 1916 and sailed for for England aboard the S.S. Olympic. He disembarked at Liverpool, Eng., on 11 Apr 1916 and remained with the battalion until 28 Jun 1916 when he joined a draft of 190 soldiers from the 59th Battalion for The Royal Canadian Regiment in France. This large number of reinforcements helped to replace the Regiment's losses suffered during the battles around Mount Sorrel in early June 1916.

The Regiment continued to follow the established cycle of rotations in forward trenches, support trenches, and reserve positions that would characterize the infantry experience of the Great War. Between Dulmage's arrival and the start of September 1916, the Regiment would cycle through the forward line of trenches three times, each rotation being about four days between relief operations. The remaining time was spent in Brigade, Divisional, and Corps Reserve tasks with varying levels of working parties and battalion run training to support the forward lines and to keep the troops ready to resume front line service.

The first six days of September saw The RCR in Corps Reserve at Steenvorde. Moving by train to Cramont on 7 Sep, the Regiment remained in reserve and changed locations a few more times before 15 Sep 1916. On the 15th, The RCR moved to the Chalk Pits south of the ruined town of Pozieres and then into the old British lines north of the town. Here, orders were received for the Regiment to attack the German positions of the Zollern Graben immediately west of Courcelette. An operational narrative report by Lieut.-Col. Hill, the Commanding Officer, describes the assault:

"Zero time was 5. p.m. At this hour the Bn. was disposed as follows:- "A" Co. & "D" Co. in FABECK GRABEN, "C" Co. in SUGAR TRENCH, "B" Co. in OLD BRITISH TRENCH. The Artillery Barrage was to have commenced at 4.45 p.m., but according to reports the few shells that went over burst well in rear of the objective and caused practically no damage to the Hun, who was holding his line very thickly.

"A" and "D" Cos. advanced about 75 yds from FABECK GRABEN in the face of extremely heavy rifle and M.G. fire together with considerable artillery fire. The casualties were heavy and the advance was held up about 150 yds from the ZOLLERN GRABEN. At this juncture Lieut. PENNIMAN, finding himself alone and unable to find any other fit men near him, proceeded to a point about R.29.a.8.5. where the Regimental Bombers, together with the P.P.C.L.I. were bombing up the ZOLLERN GRABEN. Here I understand the machine gun which had done considerable damage to us was put out of action by our bombs.

"At 6.25 p.m. orders were received to move "C" & "B" Cos. to FABECK GRABEN at once. The Bn. was in position in and about the FABECK GRABEN until relieved by elements of the 52ND and 60TH Bns. at or about 4. a.m. on the morning of the 17th, when we proceeded to bivouacs at TARA HILL. The total casualties as far as can be ascertained amount to 1 Officer killed, 4 wounded and about 279 O.R. killed, wounded or missing."

Dulmage was one of the many listed among the 279 other ranks killed, wounded, and missing. On 15 Sep 1916, he was wounded by shrapnel in the left thigh and left shoulder. With his records noting four small wounds on front of left thigh, Dulmage was admitted to No. 3 General Hospital at Le Treport.

On 3 Oct 1916, Dulmage was transferred to England aboard the hospital ship H.S. Panama. Two days later he was admitted to Hope Auxiliary Military Hospital at Pendleton, Manchester. On transfer to England, Dulmage was struck off the strength of the Regiment to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre (C.C.A.C.) . By 7 Oct, his wounds recovering well, Dulmage was "allowed up." Three days later, his medical case notes state that his wounds are almost healed but it would not be until 27 Oct 1916 that they were recorded as fully healed. With the only complication to his recovery a 24-hour period of fever on 2-3 Nov, which was treated with Quinine/Sulphur, Dulmage recovered well enough to go on furlough to London on 10 Nov. This was identified as part of his treatment and in London he stayed at the Union Jack Club.

Dulmage was transferred to Woodside Park, Epsom, Military Convalescent Hospital, on 22 Dec 1916. On 11 Jan 1917, he was attached to the Canadian Convalescent Depot (C.C.D.) in order to further recover from his wounds and rebuild his strength for a return to the front. Ten weeks later, on 23 Mar 1917, Dulmage was taken on the strength of the 26th Reserve Battalion from 2nd C.C.D., and posted from the Nova Scotia Regimental Depot (N.S.R.D.).

The N.S.R.D. was part of the new regionally based reinforcement system, with named Depots taking in troops from battalions raised in those areas in Canada and providing reinforcement drafts to similarly designated fighting units. The RCR, having been headquartered in Halifax in the decade before the War, was associated with the N.S.R.D. These Depots also became the parent unit for any soldiers returned to England from their affiliated battalions in France and Flanders.

Dulmage was posted from the 26th Res. Bn. on 10 May 1917 to The RCR overseas. He was taken on the strength of the Regiment again on 11 May when he landed in France, although he remained at the Canadian base Depot in Le Havre.

Leaving the C.B.D. on 27 May for his next stage in movement to the front lines, Dulmage was sent to the 3rd Entrenching Battalion, arriving at the unit three days later. This Divisional troops unit was employed as a ready labour force and by design its troops were a forward reserve of reinforcements for the division's fighting battalions. They were also used as labour forces to maintain and build trenches or other work as needed.

On 9 Jun 1917, almost nine months after his wounding and evacuation, Dulmage was sent from the Entrenching Battalion to The RCR. The following day the Regiment moved to 3rd Line positions near Vimy and provided working parties each night until the 13th of June. On 14 Jun 1917, The RCR moved to the Quarries Area where the unit would conduct training until 2 July 1917.

The RCR returned to the cycle of front line, support, and reserve tasks on 3 Jul 1917 when the battalion went into Local Support in the Avion sector. Between early July and the end of September 1917, The RCR would find itself in the front trenches for three tours of duty, the remaining time spent on Brigade, Divisional, and Corps Reserve.

Moving back out of the lines in early October, the Regiment would conduct another period of training from 6 to 22 Oct 1917. From 23 to 28 October working parties from the unit would carry ammunition and other stores into the front line and provide manpower for the shifting of guns by the Artillery. On 29 Oct 1917, The RCR would return to battle at Passchendaele Ridge.

The Regiment's "Battle Bar Document" (prepared after the war by the Militia Department in anticipation of the possibility of clasps for the British War Medal) succinctly describes the disposition of companies on 29 Oct 1917: "A", "B" & "D" Coys to support position at ABRAHAM HEIGHTS. "C" Coy going in reserve to PPCLI and 49th Bn."

The War Diary provides more detail for the actions of the Regiment on 29 Oct 1917:

"29-10-17. – ST JEAN AREA.

"Fine clear day with drying wind. A working party of 25 other ranks was furnished the Engineers in the morning. Advance parties went forward early in the day to take over from the P.P.C.L.I. in support. The Regiment moved off - "A", "B", "D" Cos. at 3.30 p.m., 3.45 p.m., and 4.00 p.m. "C" Company following at 9.00 p.m. Battalions HQs, at OTTO FARM, Sheet 28D.15a.10.05. "A", "B", "D" Cos. in shelters on ABRAHAM HEIGHTS. "C" Co. sent two platoons each to P.P.C.L.I. and 49th Battalion as a reserve. "A", "B", and "D" Cos. were heavily shelled during the night with H.E. and Gas Shells.

"4 other ranks wounded in action. "1 other rank evac. to C.C.S."

Dulmage's service record shows that he was one of the soldiers wounded in action on 29 Oct, and that he was the solitary soldier evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to No. 3 Field Ambulance that day suffering from shell gas poisoning. The following day he continued moving rearward in the medical evacuation system, being transported by No. 27 Ambulance Train and then admitted to No. 7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples.

After a week in hospital, Dulmage was transferred to No. 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples, on 6 Nov 1917, and the following day to No. 13 Convalescent Depot, Trouville. As his time in convalescent care lengthened, Dulmage was transferred from The RCR to the Canadian Infantry Base Dept (C.I.B.D.) on 1 Jan 1918 and then to the C.C.R.C. on 6 Jan 1918. By 1 Feb 1918, he was well enough to go A.W.L. for the day on 29 January, for which he was sentenced to 10 days Field Punishment No. 1 and forfeited 1 days pay by Royal Warrant.

Dulmage rejoined The RCR on 24 Feb 1918 and returned to the cycle of tours in and out of the front line trenches. He would complete four front line tours with the Regiment before being medically evacuated once again. This time the cause wasn't enemy action, but an attack of appendicitis. Dulmage was admitted to 43 C.C.S. on 1 Jul 1918. His appendectomy was performed at No. 3 General Hospital on 4 Jul 1918. During his post-op recovery, Dulmage's case notes included the following statement on his general condition: "Patient is underweight, weak and nervous. Requires dental and ear treatment."

Dulmage was evacuated to England for further convalescence on 21 Jul 1918. On leaving the theatre of war, he was posted to the N.S.R.D., Bramshott, and admitted to Princess Patricia's Red Cross Hospital, Bexhill. On 3 Aug 1918, a specialist's note on his hearing stated: "There is some catarrhal deafness, will treat him a few times."

By 15 Aug 1918, Dulmage's status was described a: "General condition much improved. Fit for transfer to Convalescent Hospital." He was discharged to duty on 20 Sep 1918 and taken on the strength of the 17th Res. Bn. from the N.S.R.D.

Dulmage would proceed overseas to France again on 7 Nov 1918 to rejoin The RCR. He arrived at the unit on 11 Nov 1918. As the unit waited for demobilization and return to Canada, Dulmage would go through one more medical evacuation. Initially diagnosed with tonsillitis and admitted to No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital on 16 Dec 1918, he would be evacuated on Ambulance Train No. 1 on 18 December with myalgia.

Invalided sick to England on 14 Jan 1919 aboard the ambulance transport A.T. Cambria, Dulmage was posted back to the N.S.R.D. On 22 Jan 1919, Dulmage once again demonstrated that he had recovered enough to contravene military authority. While he was a patient in the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Epsom, he was away without leave from 2130 hrs, 22 Jan 1919, to 2030 hrs, 23 Jan 1919 (23 hrs). For his crime, he forfeited one days pay in accordance with Pay and Allowance Regulations.

Dulmage would remain hospitalized until 3 Feb 1919, when he was placed On Command, i.e., a temporary duty assignment without changing parent units, to 2 C.C.D. until 26 Feb 1919 at which time he returned to the 17th Res Bn. On 28 Feb 1919, Dulmage was medically examined at Ripon in preparation for his discharge from the C.E.F. The completed form noted his hospitalizations for his leg wound, shell gas, appendicitis, and myalgia. He was determined to have no lasting disability from his service. The form noted two scars from his appendectomy and four small "10 cent" scars on the middle front of his left thigh.

Dulmage submitted a form for his War Service Gratuity on 10 Mar 1919. He stated on this document that his place of residence after the war would be 909 Windimere St., Vancouver, B.C. His return to Canada commenced on 13 Mar 1919 with his attachment to the Casualty Clearing Centre at Kinmel Park. On 15 Mar 1919, he was struck off the strength of the 17th Res. Bn. and transferred to the Military District Wing No. 2 at Kinmel Park. Nine days later, on 24 Mar 1919, Dulmage would board the H.M.T.S. Canada at Liverpool. Sailing that date, he was officially struck off the strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada and taken on the strength of No. 2 District Depot, Toronto, where he would be discharged.

Dulmage arrived back in Canada on 1 Apr 1919. Two days later, he was discharged from the C.E.F. at No. 2 District Depot, Toronto.

As a Private in the C.E.F., Dulmage was paid $1.00 per day plus an additional ten cents daily field allowance. He sent no part of his pay home during the war, instead letting the money he did not take on pay parades to build up in his pay account. On discharge, his pay account held $677.82 in accrued pay. He also received $35 clothing allowance on discharge. In addition to his accrued pay, Dulmage was entitled to a War Service Gratuity of $420. This was paid to him in installments between April and August 1919.

In the first years after the war, Dulmage returned to civil life as a truck driver and a hardware shop assistant. On 16 Mar 1921, he married Kate Gertrude Hill at Toronto, Ont. The couple would have eight children over the next two decades.

For his service in the C.E.F., Dulmage was entitled to receive the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These were despatched to him at 181 Keewatin Ave., Toronto, Ont., on 11 Aug 1922.

Beginning in 1922, Dulmage would be employed as a garage assistant. He continued with this until 1926 when he went into business on his own as a self employed motor mechanic, although he later worked as a hired mechanic with heavy transport. He was doing this work when the Second World War broke out.

Dulmage's second war started for him on 31 Jul 1940 at the age of 44, when he attested for service in the Canadian Active Special Force (C.A.S.F.) at No. 2 District Depot in Toronto. A motor mechanic by trade with 18 years of experience, Dulmage was living at 47 Lakeview Ave., Toronto, Ont., with his wife Kate. His religious denomination was then recorded as United Church of Canada. Assigned the service number B89092, Dulmage's attestation form was first marked for the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.), but this was struck out and replaced by Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.). Taken on strength at the rank of Driver at 44 years of age, Dulmage was given a medical category of "A."

On 14 Aug 1940, Dulmage was transferred to the Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.) Training Centre at Petawawa with the rank of Gunner. On arrival, he was attached to the Canadian Army Service Corps (C.A.S.C.).

Dulmage found himself at odds with the military's justice system on 11 Nov 1940 with a return to his old habit of occasionally going A.W.L. On that day he was tried for overstaying leave for which he forfeited one day's pay and received three days Confinement to Barracks (C.B.).

Embarking at Halifax on 13 Dec 1940, Dulmage would be at sea for Christmas and disembark at Gourock, Scotland, on 26 Dec 1940. On arrival overseas, he was taken on strength of No. 1 Canadian Artillery Holding Unit. After the new year, he proceeded on a week of Landing Leave from 5 to 12 Jan 1941.

After a few months with the Holding Unit, Dulmage was posted to the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft (L./A.A.) Regiment, R.C.A. at Colchester, Eng. Three Canadian regiments of Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) were garrisoned at Colchester at a mobilization and training centre.

Dulmage qualified as a Motor Mechanic on 21 Jun 1941. His service record notes that on the same date he started receiving Trades Pay, Group "B." A month later, Dulmage enjoyed his first period of Privilege Leave from 18 to 26 Jul 1941. He would proceed on Privilege Leave again from 26 Nov to 3 Dec 1941 and from 3 to 10 Sep 1942.

On 6 Oct 1942, Dulmage was struck off strength of the 3rd L./A.A. Regt., and transferred to the Canadian Ordnance Reinforcement Unit (C.O.R.U.). In November he failed technical training to qualify as as Fitter (Motor Vehicle). Despite this he continued to be employed as a mechanic and on 3 Dec 1942 was transferred to No. 5 Section Canadian Armoured Corps Ordnance Workshop (C.A.C.O. W./S.). Dulmage's quality of work was obviously sufficient, on 1 Jan 1943 he was granted Tradesman's Rates of pay of $2.00 per diem, based on his proficient service as a Motor Mechanic.

Dulmage was transferred to the 2 Army Recovery Company, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.) on 29 Jan 1943. He would go on Privilege Leave again from 5 to 14 Feb 1943.

On 7 Mar 1943, Dulmage was transferred again, to 1 Army Recovery Company, 4 Canadian Armoured Troops Workshop, and then transferred to the Canadian Ordnance Reinforcement Unit (C.O.R.U.) on admission to Bulford Military Hospital. True to his old habits of the Great War, Dulmage proved his fitness to leave hospital by going A.W.L. On 21 Jul 1943, he forfeited one days pay under A.A. Sec 11 and the following day was posted to 1 Canadian Base Ordnance Workshop.

His disciplinary habits didn't stop Dulmage from receiving regular periods of Privilege Leave which he took from 21 to 30 Aug and again from 20 to 29 Nov 1943. Conversely, having regular periods of leave didn't stop Dulmage was taking unauthorized absences either. On 24 Dec 1943, he was recorded as "A.W.L. from 0200 hrs." He returned at 2340 hrs, 2 Jan 1944, and the next day was up on charge. Dulmage was awarded 14 days Field Punishment for an offence under Sec. 15(1), A.W.L. 6 days 21 hours 40 minutes. He forfeited seven days' pay under Financial Regulations and Instruction (F.R.&I.), effectively returning the pay for the period he was absent, and another 14 days under the regulations as a punishment. Dulmage's total forfeiture of pay was 21 days for his seven days' absence.

On 18 Jan 1944, Dulmage was interviewed by a Personnel Selection Officer. The following notes are from the report of that interview:

"B89092 Pte Dulmade, D.J.

"Education: Ontario Public Grade 8, age 14.

"Occupation: Printing business 2 years; Harness making 1 year; then Garage Business 20 years; on and off as Motor Man.

"Enlisted: CEF 1917-19. Enlisted CASF 31 Jul 1940. Came overseas 23 Dec 1940, with RCA. Transferred to RCOC 6 Aug 1942. Qual. Motor Mechanic Class II. Now working at this and can carry on at his trade to some extent.

"Other Information: Med cat A. Age 48. Height 5' 4 1/2". Weight 145. Very seldom on sick parade except for flu at times.

"Married, 7 children, ages 21, 20, 18, 16, 13, 9, 3.

"Home: Toronto (address redacted).

"Never had a re-board since being in army. Stability average. Seems to be getting old and tired. Unable to carry on to the extent he should. His morale seems to be breaking down. Seems older than his years. Does not seem to be employable to the extent he should be. This coupled with his home problem makes him of little use to the army overseas.

"Recommendation: Suggest referral to Reallocation Center."

Dulmage would be back on leave 19-28 Feb 1944. Two weeks after returning to duty he again changed corps, being transferred from the R.C.O.C. to R.C.E.M.E. on 15 May 1944. Dulmage was granted seven days Privilege Leave and a 48 hour pass for the period 2-11 Sep 1944. He would again be on leave from 2 to 11 Dec 1944.

Repeating his performance of 1943, Dulmage went A.W.L. for Christmas and New Years' again in 1944. He was A.W.L. from 0200 hrs, 26 Dec 1944, until returning at 2345 hrs, 1 Jan 1945. On 2 Jan 1945, he started his new year with another charge parade. Dulmage was awarded 14 days Confinement to Barracks (C.B.) and a forfeiture of nine days' pay under F.R.&I. 149(2) for an offence under Army Act Sec. 15(1), "while on Active Service Away Without leave. from 0200 hrs 26 Dec 1944 to 2345 hrs 1 Jan 1945. Total time absent 6 days 21 hours 45 minutes." He forfeited another seven days' pay under F.R.&I. 149(1)(a) for a total forfeiture of 16 days' pay.

On 18 Jan 1945, Dulmage was reclassified from Motor Mechanic to Vehicle Mechanic (M.V.) in the rank of Craftsman. He proceeded on his last period of leave during the war from 3 to 12 May 1945. A few weeks after returning from leave, on 30 May 1945, Dulmage was struck off the strength of 1 Canadian Base Workshop to 3 Canadian Repatriation Depot. On 15 Jun 1945, on sailing from England, he was taken on the strength of No. 2 District Depot, Toronto.

Back in Canada, Dulmage was granted 30 days disembarkation leave from 24 Jun to 23 Jul 1945 and authorized to draw ration allowance of 50 cents per diem in accordance with F.R.&I. 196(4). As part of his demobilization process, he was interviewed by an Army Counsellor at No. 2 District Depot on 27 Jul 1945, Toronto. The Department of Veterans Affairs report completed after that interview included the following:

"Dulmade, David J., Craftsman, B89092

"Pre-Enlistment Education: Completed Grade VIII at 14 at urban Ont. School.

"Occupational History:

"Immediate Pre-Enlistment Employment: self-employed as motor mechanic in Toronto.

"Short Account of Service, Training and Duties: 1915-19, served as infantryman, later as armourer for 3 years overseas Total service (present war), 60 months. Enlisted as motor mechanic with Artillery, transferred to Ordnance in U.K. in same capacity. Trade as motor mechanic "B", service overseas 54 months. Part time as watchmaker unqualified.

"Educational Courses While in Service: Nil.

"Medical Officer's Statement of Physical Limitations (If Any): Fit as per age.

"Post-Discharge Mailing Address: 47 Lakeview Ave. Toronto, Ont.

"Basis for Counselor's Recommendations:

"Father of 7 children, 3 of which are dependent, Dulmage is confident of his future and his ability to care for them He is a man of average build who looks younger than his age of 49. He talks slowly but easily and quietly. He was a motor vehicle mechanic both in civilian and army life. He has spent his spare time watch repairing. In this trade he claims to be quite proficient and hes acquired all but one set of the necessary tools (value $100.00) including a lathe.

"He does not wish to return to civilian work as 4 mechanic because of his age and the keen competition of younger men recently released after years of army experience.

"He plans to move himself and dependent family of wife, and three children to a suburban town (probably Acton) and there go into business for himself as a watchmaker and small time jeweler. He has found a large demand for his services at large and feels assured of employment with a big jewelry company or dept. store at any tine.

"He inquired about re-estab. credit. His intention is to use it at least in part for his remaining necessary tools and furniture.

"Action Recommended:

"Primary: Self-employed business of watchmaker. Supp: Credits for business tools and household furniture.

"Other Possibilities: Seek employment as a watch repair man.

"Referred to: N.S.S. 172 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Ont. D.V.A. (re-estab. Credit); 55 York St., Toronto, Ont."

David Dulmage was discharged from the Canadian Active Service Force on 30 Jul 1945. For his service in the Second World War, he was eligible to receive the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, and the 1939-45 War Medal.

David Dulmage died on 8 Jan 1956 at Wicklow, Northumberland County, Ontaio.

Pro Patria


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