Photo of Private Alexander Broadfoot
Private Alexander Broadfoot
72nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Seaforth Highlanders)
Died 8 November 1917
Private 130245 Alexander Broadfoot was born on 11 April 1889 at Horwich, the son of Alexander and Margaret Broadfoot. After moving to Galloway he worked in William Cook’s grocers shop in Port William. In 1913 Alexander emigrated to Canada, sailing from Glasgow to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He enlisted on 14 February 1916 at Vancouver. His enlistment documents signed in Vancouver, identify him as living at the Lotus Hotel, Vancouver; he nominated his next of kin as his sister, Hettie who lived in Eastbourne. His trade was Grocer. His medical assessment states that he was 5 feet 9-and-a-half tall with fair hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion. His religion was Presbyterian (before emigrating he had been a member of the congregation at Wigtown’s parish church). In August 1916 the Seaforths were in France and in April 1917 Alexander and the Canadians were involved in the Battle of Vimy Ridge enjoying rapid success despite the battle being fought out in a snowstorm. Within days a spectacular victory had been achieved and, during it, Alexander Broadfoot was awarded the Military Medal for his work as a messenger. Apart from Vimy Ridge the Seaforths were involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the war including Ypres and the Somme.
On 1 December 1917 the Galloway Gazette reported:
Mrs Turner, Clarksburn, Monreith village, Port William, has received official intimation that her nephew, Private Alexander Broadfoot MM, Seaforth Canadian Highlanders, died of wounds on November 8th. Private Broadfoot was twice mentioned in despatches and at Vimy Ridge he was successful in winning the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Private Broadfoot served five years as a grocer with Wm Cook, Port William and is the second employee to receive the Military Medal. In 1913 Private Broadfoot went to Canada and joined the colours shortly after war broke out. His last leave was in August [the Gazette had reported on 11 August that Alexander was home on leave at his old home, Mrs Turner’s at Clarksburn. It further mentions the award of the MM at the Battle of Vimy Ridge for “some daring work as a runner”.] Most sympathy is felt for his bereaved friends at home and his brother who is on active service at the front. His sister has received the following letter from a chaplain to the forces.
It is with sorrow I write to inform you of the death of your brother. He was brought along with many other Canadians to hospital some days ago. I have seen him each day and have tried to keep him cheerful. It was not difficult because he was a brave soul. Each time I came away from his bed I felt more and more glad because he was so certain of the presence of God with him. Yesterday he was exceedingly cheerful, and I had no doubt of his recovery. But he must have had some internal injury, and this morning I stood by his bed and held his hand as he passed into the larger, brighter Blighty, the true Home. God give you all needful grace and strength and comfort.
Alexander Broadfoot is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. He is also commemorated on Glasserton War Memorial.