The cable is short and to the point, stating that William had been officially reported killed in action sometime between June 2nd and 4th.
On August 7, 1916, Leah received a letter from Lance Corporal W.E. French providing more personal details regarding William’s death and offering his condolences to the family.
Excerpts from his letter:
“I know the sorrow and pain which you must all feel. Each and every one of us, although we do not speak of it, silently mourn for our comrades. It is hard on us, but I realize that you dear folks in Canada have the greatest anxiety, the deepest sorrow and the saddest loss.”
“Your brother . . . was hit in the face with a bullet, while repelling the German advance. His life was quickly robbed from him. He fell without a moan and expired instantaneously.”
“I can assure you that your dear brother and my esteemed friend died a hero’s death.”
“The remains of our dear fallen comrades were buried in graveyards a short distance behind the front line. In which your noble brother lies, I do not know.”
“We feel more deeply than we can express, the sad loss you have sustained. But let us remember God rewards the noble men.”
The loss of William was devestating to the family. The fact that his body was never recovered and there was no known grave for their brother must have made the loss even more so. The family chose to erect their own grave marker for William in Oshawa’s Union Cemetery.