William Noel Barclay


William Noel Barclay


Lieutenant, died 6 October 1944
On 6 October 1944, Lieutenant William Noel Barclay, 25, of the Royal Montreal Regiment (First Canadian Army H.Q. Defence Battalion) was killed during the fighting for the Leopold Canal in Belgium. The RMR's War Diary in describing the attack on the Leopold Canal has the following entry:

D Day – 0230 hrs
Coy arrives at Moerhvizen. Guides arrive and explain quite cheerfully that they know where the canal is but have not the slightest idea how to get to it. The 2 IC, Lt. W. N. Barclay, makes a hurried recce and finds a satisfactory route...
0525 hrs
Flame throwers open up and turn night into day. At 0530 hrs the flame throwers stop but there are still fires burning. The OC, Capt. R. Schwob orders No. 1 and 3 Platoons comd by Sgt. Murray and Sgt. Craddock respectively, to cross...Flares go up and then a German machine gun opens up...The hail of machine gun fire is now intense. The 2 IC, Lt. Barclay, had been detailed to cross in the second flight with No. 2 Platoon...As it is imperative that they cross as soon as possible, Lt. Barclay rallies them to the water's edge and with complete disregard for his own safety guided the flotilla across the canal. Due to his coolness and quiet efficiency, the second half of the Coy arrive shortly after the first. Unfortunately, just before the boat carrying Lt. Barclay touched the far bank, a burst of machine gun fire hit it and a very gallant officer and gentleman fell to the bottom of the boat mortally wounded.
Barclay is buried in Plot VIII, Row H, Grave 9 of the Canadian War Cemetery in Adegem, Belgium.
(Drolet 32)


Drolet, Dr. “Gil”. Loyola, The Wars: In Remembrance of “Men for Others”. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Wilfred Laurier University, 1996.




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“William Noel Barclay,” Loyola Archives, accessed September 22, 2018, https://lhsarchives.omeka.net/items/show/381.

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