Saturday, May 31, 2008

Martin Cumming 48 Highland Rgt. WW1

Cpl. Martin Cummings,"Lewis Gun Corpral" , born Sept 1896 Spring Cove,Tupper Lake,New York son of Anthone Moses Genereau alias James Cummings bap. St Michaels Catholic Church,Bellville,Ont. Canada, 16 Sep. 1855 and Margaret Jane LaVallee born Bellville,Hastings Co. Ontario,Canada 20 June 1859. Martin was the 10th child of 14 children and the first child to be born in the United States, being a citizen by natural birth.
Martin as a boy lived at Spring Cove, his father was a blacksmith,
mother ran the mess hall for the crew of lumber man that worked their. Just when the family left Spring Cove is not clear, but by 1920 they were in Altamont, Franklin Co.
21 March 1916 Martin Enlisted in the 48th Highland Regiment,53 rd
Battalion, of Cornwall, Ontario,Canada. 10 Jun 1916 he was ordered to Berry Field, camp Kingston, Ontario. assigned to 4th Company, 13th platoon, 3rd Canadian Brigade, in 1st Canadian Division. He received his basic training and was given special
instruction on the use and care of the Lewis Machine Gun. This
weapon was developed for use on Air Craft, but was quickly modified for the individual combat soldier. The strongest men in each platoon was selected for this duty, In addition to your regulation gear, you had the Lewis gun weighed 28 pounds, delivered devastating fire with 47 or 97 round magazine. Each Platoon had one Lewis gun, making this person the prime target of the enemy.
On Oct 14 1916 Martin sailed for France on the "Olympic"
embarking at Halifax,Nova Scotia. Upon arriving in France it
was training, boredom and mud day after day, the war was bogged
down with both sides dug in trenches and fighting to gain or lose a few feet. It was the following May before his unit was ordered into action. The French troops had started in April to mutiny and
the 1st Canadian was moved in to fill the gaps. The French had lost 150,000 men in 5 days, now the Canadians were at Paschendale, the British were losing on a
average 2323 men daily for 105 days.
By June 4th the French mutiny became widespread, affecting half of French army. Gen Pershing with U.S. forces arrived at Boulogne and releived the pressure. July 17 the ongoing battle of Ypres
opened with artillery bombardment, and the usual gut feeling that this might be the day. You stand in the mud filled trenches day after day waiting for the order, wondering if you will be able to do your part. The 48th was the first unit to be gassed back in March 1915, so they knew what to expect, Martin had been gassed several time but had warning enough to be ready.
It was at the battle of Amiens, that Martin was wounded 8 Aug 1918, transfered to England
were he served out his time until 7 May 1919 when he boarded the "Baltic" and returned to Halifax. He received 1 Gold Stripe for his service and was discharged 29 May 1919.

As a small boy about eight or nine I used to love to listen to his exciting
stories about the war, the big ships he was on and life on the front lines. I lost track of Martin, he does not appear in any census records, from newspaper articles I know he lived in Faust, N.Y. [this is the southern part of Tupper Lake [seem's the first postmaster of this district had to chose a name for the Post Office and she settled on Faust]. Martin married Evon Proulx [spelling might be off]. they had 9 children, if you know any of these relatives I would love to hear from them. When my grandmother Maggie Cummings Olyer, was alive we all were much closer, time
has a way of dispersing families all over the world. Hopefully
genealogy will help to bring us closer again.

1 comment:

Rosebud Collection said...

When you read about all those lives lost, it is so sad..Kind of sad how families get separated today..but I always think with travel being easier, everyone figures they can get together again.