Soldier Spotlight: Private Merlin Rae

Image: a letter from Merlin to his parents, printed in the 24 October 1916 Grande Prairie Herald

Regimental Number: 101357
Rank: Private
Branch: 31st Battalion

Merlin was born in Grand Forks, British Columbia on April 27, 1901. In September of 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Army, giving his date of birth 1899. This would still have been considered underage, but he was accepted. Merlin was killed in action at Courcelette on September 24, 1916. According to Bill Hannigan, he “died like the man that he was.” He was severely wounded in the leg and thigh at 11:00 AM, making him unable to walk. At 4:00 that afternoon a shell landed near Merlin and he died from the concussion.

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.