PTE DAVID CUMMINGS 5TH C.M.R.
135461 Private David Cummings
5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles
killed in action 1st October 1916
Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt
Freeland Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir
Son of David Cummings and Magdalen Blair
The Mimosas, Bridge of Weir
David was born on 11th March 1888 in Bridge of Weir, the second of three surviving children of David Cummings, then a tanyard labourer originally from Ireland and Magdalen Blair from New Monkland, Lanarkshire who had married in Calton, Glasgow on 12th June 1885.
In 1891, David (35), Magdalen (36) and their family of two lived in Campbell's Land, Bridge of Weir, by which time David had become a tanner.
In 1901, the family lived in a 3 roomed flat in the Mimosas, Bridge of Weir. Helen (Nellie) was already working as a dressmaker at the age of 14.
The family was still in the Mimosas in 1911. David junior (23) was a commercial traveller in cotton yarns. David senior was still a tanner at the leather works. Helen and Anne were both dressmakers.
By 1915 David had emigrated to Canada where, like many expatriates from the UK, he volunteered for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He was still single, working as a clerk, and on 27th July 1915 at the Toronto Armories, was pronounced fit to serve. He was 27 years old. His attestation papers are over-stamped with 74th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force which had been authorized on 10th July 1915. The battalion embarked for Great Britain on 29th March 1916, where it provided reinforcements to Canadian Corps in the field.
At some subsequent point David was sent to reinforce the 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles (Quebec Regiment). In 1916, it had converted to an infantry battalion attached to 8th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division. David joined them in time to take part in one of the actions of the Battle of the Somme.
On 1st October 1916, the 5th C.M.R. was given the objective of capturing and holding part of Regina Trench during the Battle of the Ancre Heights. The detailed account in the War Diaries describe a fiercely fought assault and holding operation of 34 hours near continuous fighting, only for the gains to be lost in a German counter attack. The trench was eventally taken in November 1916. David was one of the 45 "Other Ranks" killed that day.
David Cummings senior was a deacon in Freeland Church, Bridge of Weir. His death was reported in the Freeland Church Record as 10th May 1918, 18 months after his only son.
|1891 Census||1901 Census||1911 Census||Birthplace|
|Ellen||5||Nellie||14||Helen||24||Bridge of Weir|
|David||3||David||12||David||23||Bridge of Weir|
|Annie||9||Anne||19||Bridge of Weir|
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada - David Cumming [sic]
- David Cummings birth certificate 11th March 1888. Regd. Kilbarchan, Renfrew 20th March 1888.
- 1891 UK Census: Parish: Kilbarchan: Ward: Bridge of Weir. Page 3; Sch 13: 568/01 009/00 003.
- 1901 UK Census: Parish: Houston; ED:1; Page:20; Line:9; Roll: CSSCT1901_188.
- 1911 UK Census: Parish: Houston; Ward: Houston West: page 9, lines 8-12; 559/0B 001/00 009.
- Attestation Paper, Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force, page 1, page 2; 26th July, 1915; Toronto
o Age, 27yrs 4 mths; Ht 5'8¼". Chest 32"; Dark complexion; hazel eyes; black hair. Scar on finger of left hand.
- War diaries -. Library and Archives Canada. War Diary Reference: RG9 , Militia and Defence , Series III-D-3, Volume 4949 , Reel T-10759-10760, File : 473 , Access code: 90, Parts: 1 File Title: War diaries - 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles Outside Dates: 1915/07/29-1917/02/28: Vol 12 September 1916; Volume 13 October 1916.
- 30th September 1916: Battalion still in Chalk Pit, but is to go into front line tonight and carry out an attack on REGINA TRENCH the following day. At 7 am "C", "D" and "A" Companies in order named commenced to dribble up to the front line to relieve the 1st CMR Bn. - platoons moving at five minutes interval. The 4th CMR Battalion are on our immediate left and the 24th Battalion (Canadian) on our right. The latter Battalion is only about 120 strong having been badly cut up. Tomorrow afternoon at about 3pm we are to attack, capture and consolidate a line of German trench known as REGINA TRENCH. As the front of our objective is well wired the artillery have been heavily engaged today endeavouring to cut the wire. Patrols are to be pushed out as far as possible after dark and report on the cutting. All ranks keyed up and in fine spirits, very eager to attack.
- 1st October 1916: Weather dull and cool. Night passed quietly with occasional shell fire. Very little rifle or machine gun during the night....The 5th C.M.R. Battalion to attack on the right with the objective REGINA TRENCH from R.23.A.5.6 (Road inclusive) to R.22.B.4.4 (Road inclusive) ...
- 3.15pm Our artillery opened full blast. German guns replying vigorously.
- 3.16pm The 1st wave of the attacking force went over parapet - "A" Coy led by Lieuts. DAUBNEY and CAMPBELL. When "A" Coy were about 100 yards from REGINA trench enemy opened with m/gun and rifle fire which became very intense during the next 50 yards of the advance, causing many casualties. The enemy was then seen to be rapidly evacuating his front line, and very few were left when our men got up. Many of the enemy were brought down by our men as they were passing back to their rear line. The captured trench was found to be pretty well blown in and work was at once commenced to consolidate. Lieut. CAMPBELL was killed shortly after trench was captured and Lieut. DAUBNEY wounded. 3.23pm Two white flares from left of our objective showed that "A" Coy were in REGINA trench. Three prisoners captured by "A" Coy. A few minutes later it was reported that B Coy had also reached their objective but this was afterwards found to be incorrect. A very few only reached the objective the others coming up against uncut wire on the right, and as their losses were very heavy, the survivors were forced to fall back to their original position. A platoon of "D" Coy was immediately sent forward to assist remnants of "B" Coy to hold their original line. 4.10 pm Strenuous fighting going on in the occupied portion of REGINA Trench being at this time in our possession and tenaciously held by "A" Coy and a few men of "C" and "B" who had succeeded in getting over. The 4th CMR Bn on our left and the 24th Bn on our right having apparently been held up, both our flanks were in the air and subjected to enemy attacks. 20 men of "D" Coy were sent forward to assist in holding on to captured trench and every effort made to keep attacking force supplied with bombs and S.A.A. A German m/gun having been captured by "A" Coy it was used in conjunction with 2 L/ guns to bring fire to bear on the enemy and helped to bear on the enemy and materially helped to drive off the constant counter attacks which the enemy was launching at this time, many casualties being inflicted on the enemy. 7.20 pm. Situation appears to be as follows:-remnants of "A" Coy and reinforcements from "B" Coy are still holding out in REGINA trench with both flanks in the air. Remnants of B & C in HESSIAN trench. Two platoons of 2nd CMR Battalion in ZOLLERN trench. Also two of our Colt Guns. All available men being used as carrying parties to take up bombs and S.A.A. to REGINA trench. Blocks established right and left of captured trench and machine guns mounted.
- 7.00 am. ... before these reinforcements could arrive, the Germans commenced another counter attack on REGINA trench. They attacked in overwhelming numbers and also endeavoured to outflank on our right. Our men held on with great gallantry until two of our machine guns had been put out of action and the supply of bombs exhausted. At 7 am. The position became untenable and our men retired in good order bringing the majority of wounded out. The reinforcements arrived a few minutes too late to retain the trench which had been so stubbornly held. I took immediate steps to hold HESSIAN trench and by 8.35 am. The situation was again normal.
- All ranks displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. They were severely tried, fighting continuously, often practically hand to hand for 34 hours against superior numbers. The artillery support was unfailing, prompt and accurate. The good work of the detachment of 1st and 2nd CMR Bn enabled the Battalion to extend the gains and hold out so long.
- Casualties 3 Officers 45 OR killed. 1 officer 1 OR died of wounds. 6 officers 168 OR wounded.
- Freeland United Free Church. Record Since July 1916. pub. December 1916.
o Deaths: On Active Service: Sep. 30-Oct. 3 - Pte. David Cummings, Canadian Mounted Rifles.
- Freeland United Free Church. Record Since March, 1918. pub. October 1918.
o Deaths: May 10.- Mr. David Cummings, deacon, Mimosa.
- Medals: Victory, British War.
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