By: Captain Michael M. O'Leary, The RCR
British War Medal and Victory Medal awarded to 733146 Pte William Tyler, The R.C.R.
William Tyler was born in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. His actual birth date is not recorded in his service record, and he cannot be positively identified in the 1911 Canadian census to confirm a date of birth (as of this writing).
Tyler attested for overseas service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the 112th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Windsor, NS, on 11 Dec 1915. Stating his birth date as 17 April, 1897, Tyler was accepted by the recruiters at his stated age of 18. On enlistment, he was examined for his fitness to serve and was described as 5-foot 6 inches in height, 145 pounds, with a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. Tyler declared his religious denomination to be Baptist. He identified his father as his next-of-kin; Elijah Tyler of Bridgetown, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. Claiming to have a civilian trade of "labourer", Tyler also claimed prior service with the 14th Regiment King's Canadian Hussars.
The 112th Canadian Infantry battalion was authorized by General Order on 22 Dec 1915. With a recruiting area of the province of Nova Scotia, and a mobilization headquarters at Windsor, NS, the unit would not be ready to sail from Canada until 23 Jul 1916 when Tyler and his fellow soldiers of the 112th embarked at Halifax. They sailed in the S.S. Olympic, a White Star liner used as a troop transport between 1915 and 1919.
On 31 Jul 1916, the men of the 112th Battalion disembarked in England at Liverpool, 36 officers and 1090 men strong. The 112th Battalion would cease to exist as a unit in January 1917, its war service ending in England, and remaining soldiers, including William Tyler, would be absorbed into the 26th Reserve Battalion.
As Private soldier in the CEF, Tyler's pay was $1.00 per day plus ten cents daily Field Allowance. On 1 Aug 1916 Tyler established a Pay Assignment of $15 per month (half his pay) to Mrs Delia Sims of Bridgetown, NS, who he claimed was his widowed mother. This pay assignment was sent between 1 Aug 1916 and 30 Jun 1917. While overseas Tyler was also receiving $20 per month Separation Allowance, his pay record also this allowance being sent to Mrs Sims. There was some question about the entitlement for this Allowance at it was stopped during March and April 1917 until a letter from O.S. Miller, a Bridgetown lawyer, appeared to satisfy the CEF requirement and it was restarted in May 1917 with arrears for the previous two months forwarded.
With the disbanding of the unit, on 2 Feb 1917, William Tyler would be struck off the strength of the 112th Battalion and transferred to the 26th Reserve Battalion. A month later, on 5 Mar 1917, he would again be transferred when he was struck off the strength of the 26th Reserve Battalion and sent to The RCR, overseas in France. The next day, 6 Mar 1917, as he landed in France after crossing the Channel, he was officially taken on the strength of The RCR in the field.
William Tyler would spend five weeks with The RCR in France. During this period, the Regiment would serve in the following roles:
During William Tyler's brief time with the Regiment, and with only one short front line tour, five fatalities and 26 wounded are identified in the War Diary. It was on 14 Apr 1917 that William Tyler made his last appearance in the Part II daily orders of The RCR,in an entry reading: "Transferred to England for discharge as a MINOR, and posted to Nova Scotia Regimental Depot." On 18 April he was taken on the strength of the Nova Scotia Regimental Depot, Bramshott.
A few weeks after arriving back in England, on 10 May 1917, Tyler was sent on command to the Canadian Discharge Depot, Buxton. He waited here until 26 May 1917 when he ceased to be on command and was struck off the strength to Canada for "disposal" of the Adjutant General, Ottawa. He boarded the S.S. Justitia on 26 May 1917 and disembarked at Halifax on the 7th of June.
Tyler as discharged at Halifax on 23 Jun 1917, the reason recorded for his discharge was simply "Minor." His character at the time of his discharge was described as "Indifferent." Tyler's discharge paperwork states he had "three months in France", which is considerably longer than his actual service in the theatre of war. As a soldier who had served overseas, Tyler would have been eligible for a War Service Gratuity which he did not receive because his pay record was annotated "Not eligible for W.S.G. at request of Parents."
733146 Private William Tyler of The Royal Canadian Regiment died on 13 Jul 1971.