Thomas Fleming - Lest We Forget

Thomas Fleming was born in Revelstoke on April 8, 1893.  He was the son of William Fleming and Nora Melaney Fleming.  William Fleming was born either June 23, 1865 (from 1901 census) or June 1872 (from 1911 census) in Ontario. Nora Melaney was born July 1864 (from 1901 census) or July 1870 (1911 census) or July 1868 (BC Archives) in the United States.  She came to Canada in 1891 and married William Fleming on October 21, 1891 here in Revelstoke. William Fleming had first arrived in Revelstoke in 1889 and was associated with Frank McCarty in a butcher business.  He also worked for P. Burns butcher for many years and operated his own butcher shop.  In 1911 William Fleming was a Foreman for the Government Roads Department of the B.C. Government. Thomas had a number of siblings, all of whom were born in Revelstoke: Mary born 1892, William Jr. born 1898, Marguerite born 1900, Jean born 1903, Frank born 1904 and Eva born 1907. 

Thomas Fleming was working as a teamster when he enlisted on June 5, 1915 at Vernon.  He was one of the 100 men who enlisted from this area in the spring and summer of 1915 and joined the 54th Kootenay Battalion.  His regimental number was 442068. He was 22 years old, single, 5’ 8” tall with auburn hair and blue eyes.  His religious affiliation was Roman Catholic.  Letters sent back from the front and printed in the local newspaper noted that he was among a number of Revelstoke men mentioned by name as being well.  However, during the battle for Mount Sorrel in June 1916, in which six Revelstoke men lost their lives, Thomas Fleming was wounded.  A letter from the front noted that Henry Anderson was with “Tommy” Fleming when he received his wounds.  It appears he was hit by shrapnel in the arm and hand, but Anderson mentioned that “Tommy went out of the trench to the hospital camp smiling.”   Thomas was in the same trench where two Revelstoke boys, Judd Eaton and Earl Pettipiece, were killed.  Henry Anderson was killed on the same day as Thomas Fleming.

Thomas Fleming died on April 8, 1917 at the battle of Vimy Ridge.  It was his 24th birthday.  At the time of his death he was a Private in the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment.  He is buried at the Arras Road Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.  His name is on both the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.