William Hepburn

William Hepburn

42nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Quebec) Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada)

Died 28th March 1917

Private W. Hepburn – Can. Ex. Force and Private A. Hepburn – H.L.I.

These two men were brothers.  William was born in 1892; Alexander in 1894. Their elder brother Charles also served with the Canadians. William, Alexander and Charles were sons of James Hepburn, Farm Overseer, and Helen Walker who was a native of Lumphanan where the couple married. They lived for a time at Hillhead, Peterculter, then Danestone and, during the war at Milton, Campfield, Glassel. In October 1914 Mr Hepburn contributed to Lady Sempill’s Aberdeenshire fund for motor ambulances for the front in a conflict that was to claim two of his sons in 1917.

Private W. Hepburn – Can. Ex. Force

William Hepburn emigrated to Canada and became a Motorman (driver) on the Toronto Street Railway. He was unmarried when he enlisted (no. 192525) at Toronto on 13 August 1915 in the 42nd Bn of the Canadian Infantry (Quebec) Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada) who, as befits their Scottish origins, supported their own pipe band.

The 42nd  reached France in the autumn of 1915 and remained in France and Flanders throughout the war, as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division.  In the final week of March 1917 they were involved in the allied advance to the Hindenburg Line.

An extract from the battalion War Diary for Wednesday 28 March 1917, the date of William’s death, notes: “From No.3 Longfellow Post Snipers were able to enfilade Blurt Trench and several hundred yards of the Artillerie Weg, where they had numerous targets and claimed several hits”.

He is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St.Eloi.