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17 March 1912- 11 December 1944
Age 32 years
Fraser Charles Weatherall, the son of Charles and Mary Jane, was born on March 17, 1912 on the 10th Concession of Puslinch Township on Mat Bulmer's farm. Fraser had two sisters, Elsie and Mable and Elsie has a daughter, Shirley Bottaro. He also has a cousin, Margaret Rolfe who lives in Aberfoyle.
Fraser's father was a farmer and so Fraser also farmed, as well as working for other farmers in the Corwhin area. Fraser was noted for his great sense of humour and would put on quite a performance in community plays.
Fraser joined the Royal Canadian Army Services Corps in 1942 as private A/61432 and was attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade. The 2nd Infantry Brigade consisted of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and The Loyal Edmonton Regiment. The Corps provided overseas Units ranging from infantry brigade and armoured brigade companies to bridge companies and transport columns, in addition to Units for formation in Canada. Units or personnel were provided for duty in various parts of the world. The ratio of Supply Service to combat soldier, artillery and engineers is about 6 to 1.
Fraser was thought to have been in North Africa just before the invasion of Sicily as the Artillery guns used in Sicily came from North Africa. Fraser was a truck driver.
After Sicily and the push north from the invasion of the mainland on September 3, 1943 to Calabria, to the Foggia Plain, to Ortona in December 1943, to Rome in May, 1944, to Florence in June, 1944, and the Breaking of the Gothic line in August, 1944, to the Battle of the Rimini Line in September 1944, into the Lombard Plain in September and October 1944 and the Battle of the Rivers in December, 1944, Supply and Service looked after everything from food to ammunitions to spare parts, tents, etc.
When Fraser was killed near Ravenna and the Comachio lagoon on December 11, 1944, the 2nd Inf. Bde. Coy. was on reserve after putting in some heavy fighting in rain with canals and dykes filled to capacity. It is thought that he volunteered for some Supply mission with a "We all have to die sometime" comment. During some heavy shelling he took refuge under a bridge and the bridge came down.
Lindsay McFarlane said in a letter home that he thought Fraser must have been killed as he received his parcel from home. Everyone had to have an alternative name to receive mail in case of a fatality.
The Canadians were among twenty-six nationalities represented in the Allied forces in Italy. A total of 92,757 Canadians of all ranks served in this theatre, and more than a quarter of them became casualties. The final toll includes 5,764 dead, 19,486 wounded and 1,004 captured.
There are few memorials to their efforts unlike Normandy. Only the cemeteries tell the tale of what happened here in 1943,1944, and 1945. Canada's dead can be found in seventeen war cemeteries between Agina, Sicily and Argenta in Northern Italy. All are immaculately maintained.
Veteran Duncan Fraser stated: "The war in Italy was cruel and dirty. Under‑equipped with everything but spirit, guts and determination, the Canadians in Italy made a reputation as tough and courageous fighters. They slugged victoriously northward against an implacable, efficient and seasoned enemy army through the most difficult and heartbreaking terrain encountered by any army in the Second World War".
Fraser is buried in the Ravenna War Cemetery, Italy. Grave reference V.E. 11.
The D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945, David G. Stewart Inc.
The Canadians in Italy, volume II, 1943-1945, Lt.Col G.W.L. Queens Printer
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29 Brock Road South
Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch, ON N0B 2J0
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