Where once they served

Reprinted from The Packet, February 26, 2016
by Lester Green

Horatius Seward, Southwest Arm’s Blue Puttee

Horatius Seward was the first person from the Southwest Arm area to answer the proclamation appealing to young men to enlist in the war.


Born in November 1888 , he spent his his early years at Gooseberry Cove. His parents were Adam and Mary Ann (Strong) Seward. His family moved to Clarenville around 1895.

On September 8, 1914 he became the 172nd person to enlist in the Regiment and was allotted the Regimental  #172. .

He completed his preliminary training at Pleasantville in a cricket field that was converted to a military training base. He embarked on the SS Florizel with 536 of his comrades and headed overseas. The ship joined a convoy and arrived 11 days later at Plymouth, England.

This group would later become known as the” First Five Hundred: The Blue Putees”.

From here the troop boarded a train and travelled five hours to Salisbury Plains. This was to become their home and training grounds for the next several weeks.

In  August, the Regiment joined the British Expeditionary Forces at Gallipoli. They continued to train on the outskirts of Cairo until they were ordered to embark for the fighting at Gallipoli.

They landed during the night of Sept. 19, 1915  at Sulva Bay and soon became familiar with the whistling sounds of war. When daylight broke the next day, they all faced the grim reality of war. The Turks located on the highlands spotted the new arrivals and shells delivering bursting shrapnel  inflicted the first of many wounds that soldiers would experience. By September 23, the Newfoundland Regiment suffered its first two deaths  and Newfoundlanders back home would begin mourning the loss of many of its sons.

Private Seward survived the first month of battle but developed Enteric (Pyrexia) fever. He was invalided to England aboard the “Latitia” and transferred to 3rd General Hospital at Wandsworth. He spent the next 91 days recovering from high fever associated with this disease.

He rejoined the Battalion on Christmas Day , 1916 and continued active fighting on the Front line until he was admitted to hospital on April 22 suffering from P.O.U. mild (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin) likely related to his early contact with Pyrexia Fever.

By June, 1917, he had recovered and rejoined his base camp at Rouen, France. Five days later he was assigned to “A” company, No. 4 Platoon, 1st Battalion Newfoundland Regiment on the Western Front. The battalion was involved in what was known collectively as the Ypres Salient Battles, a series of battles with the Germans that had started during 1914 and continued into 1917. The Germans held the best defensive ground which resulted in a large number of allied causalities.

From Aug. 16 to 18, the Allies launched a second general attack on German positions. The battle was meant to allow the British to gain grounds at a place called Langemarck, near Ypres, Belgian Flanders. It was at the beginning of this attack that Private Horatius Seward was struck by a lethal bullet killing him instantly.

Eight days later, two telegraphs were received at the telegraph office at Clarenville, one addressed to Reverend W.A. Butler and the other to Private Seward’s father, Adam.

It stated

 “Regret to inform you Record Office, London, today reports No 172, Private Horatius Seward, was killed in action on August  Sixteenth.”

His family received a Memorial Scroll that was presented to all servicemen who had lost their lives during the war. His parents  would have also received the British War Medal, along with The Victory Medal.

The Seward family had three sons who served in the Great War. Isaiah and Bartholomew served in the Royal Naval Reserve. Their greatest loss was Horatius who had gallantly served his country for two years — 346 days ± before being killed in action on the battlefield of Langemarck, Belgium.

Next article will relate the story of Private Alfred Butler, who was the second soldier from the Southwest Arm area to join and travel overseas as part of the First Five Hundred-The Blue Puttees. He listed his address as Hodge’s Cove on his enlistment papers and returned to live with his brother, Reverend William Arthur Butler after the war for a brief period of time.

Royal Newfoundland Military Service Record

Horatius Seward #172

Sept. 8, 1914: Attestation papers signed regarding his enlistment.

Oct. 3, 1914: Embarked aboard the SS Floziel for overseas.

Aug. 20, 1915: Embarked for Mediterranean Expeditionary Force t

Sept. 13, 1915: Embarked for Gallipole

Sept. 19, 1915: Landed on the beaches of Sulva Bay during the night and experienced his first exposure to war.

Nov. 24, 1915: Diagnosed with Enteric Pyrexia and transferred aboard “Latitia” to England.

Dec, 8, 1915: Admitted to General Hospital ship at Plymouth and transferred to 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth.

Dec, 11, 1915: Adam Seward received telegram from J.R. Bennett Colonial Secretary of Newfoundland Regiment informing him of his sons sickness.

April 12, 1916: Letter from Colonial Secretary that his son was now fit for duty and granted furlough from March 7 to April 28.

Dec. 12/13, 1916: Private Seward recovered and embarked for Southampton and disembarked at Rouen, France.

Dec, 25, 1916: Joined the 1st Battalion Newfoundland Regiment.

April 18, 1917: Admitted with a mild case of Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (P.U.O). This could related to his exposure to Pyrexia in Nov.  1915.

May 10, 1917: Discharged to 3 Rest Camp Marlboro, Boulogne.

June 11, 1917: Rejoined base camp at Rouen, France.

June 16, 1917: Assigned to “A” company, No. 4 Platoon, 1st Battalion Newfoundland Regiment for active duty on the Western Front.

Aug. 16, 1917: Received fatal bullet wound and killed in Action.

Aug. 27, 1917: Two telegraphs received in Clarenville, one for his father and the other for Reverend Butler.

March 1, 1920: Adam Seward acknowledge receipt of Memorial Scroll with an accompanying message.

March 15, 1920   Receipt signed by Adam Seward that he received the 1914-1915 Star Medal given to soldiers who served in any theatre of World War against the Central European Powers during 1914 and 1915. His parents would have also received the British War Medal and Victory Medal. However, records to confirm these two medals was not located in the files.

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