Irvin Emery Reinhart
Irvin Emery Reinhart was born on March 27, 1894 in Berlin Ontario, now know as Kitchener. He was a middle child to Andrew and Elizabeth. An older brother Melvin was born in 1891 and a younger sister came along in 1896. The family followed the Mennonite religion.
Sometime after 1901 the Reinhart family moved to a farm in Saugeen Township, on part of Lot 48 Lake Range near the 10th Concession. By 1911, 17-year-old Emery, as he had become known, was an apprentice brakeman for the Grand Trunk Railway. His work, soon after, took him to Northern Manitoba and the town of Dauphin.
It was here, on February 3, 1916 that he enlisted in the 226th Overseas Battalion (Men of the North) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Once formed the group moved on to Camp Hughes in the south of Manitoba close to the city of Brandon. This large training camp was designed for training in trench warfare and today is a Manitoba Historical Site. Training continued here until December 1916 when they travelled by train to Halifax and sailed for England on Dec. 13th arriving at the Bramshott Canadian Military training camp, South of London on the 26th.
Field training continued and in April 1917 the 226th was absorbed into the 14th Reserve Battalion. Emery became a member of the Machine Gun Reinforcement Pool and orders to sail to the front in France were given on September 13th, 1917. It was months later, March 1918 before his group was moved to active duty as part of the 3rd Battalion.
They were called the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and were commanded by Raymond Brutinel who was a geologist, journalist, entrepreneur and a pioneer in mechanized warfare. He commanded the Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade. There were a variety of motorized vehicles used to transport machine gun crews against the enemy. Emery Reinhart was promoted to Corporal in May of 1918.
The war took a major turn in August 1918, with the launch by the allies, of what became known as the 100 Days Offensive. This involved a series of major offensives by the allies along the Western Front that the Germans had an insufficient response to, and which resulted in them being pushed back to their homeland across the river Rhine by November of 1918.
By late August the Canadian Army had been involved in a series of successful battles from Amiens. A major battle at the end of the month was the Battle of the Scarpe and it was here that Brutinel’s Brigade, the first fully motorized brigade in the British Empire Armies, made its mark.
Unfortunately, it was near the end of this most important battle that Emery Reinhart was severely wounded with a gunshot wound to the back. After a short stay in the field hospital, he was transported to the larger hospital, at the coast, in Le Treport, on September 1st. The diagnosis was that he was suffering paraplegia of the lower body and legs meaning that there is no motor function of that portion of his body. His medical sheet indicates that he is “dangerously ill”. The next entry says, “may be visited”. And then on Sept. 16 in large dark capital letters, DIED OF WOUNDS.
The September 25th, 1918 Port Elgin Times front page had this very short report:
Corp. E. Reinhart
Dies of Wounds
The Times received word on Monday night of the death of Emery Reinhart.
He was wounded on September 1st and died on September 16th.
His parents are now living in Stratford where Mr. Reinhart is in the hospital suffering a broken leg.
Sympathy from the people here will be extended to the family.
Emery is buried in the Mont Huon Military cemetery near the city of Le Treport in North West France.
May He Rest in Peace.
Researched and written by: G. William Streeter