Every soldier tells a story.
John Hewitt Laird was the son of John and Julia Grace Irvine Laird, born in Quebec City. He attended Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario. When he attested in August 1916, he listed his profession as bank clerk. He was killed at Hill 70 on 15 August 1917, weeks before his 20th birthday.
Laird is buried in Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, France. A bronze plaque in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City reads:
In Loving Memory
John Hewitt Laird
Lieutenant 24th Battalion, Victoria Rifles of Canada
Born in Quebec, 2nd of September 1897
Killed in action while leading his platoon at Hill 70, near Lens, France.
Laird is remembered in Memorial of the Great War, published by the Bank of Montreal in 1921:
John Hewitt Laird, Lieutenant, 24th Battalion, CEF, was born in Quebec City, in September 1897. He received his education at Bishop’s College School, Lennoxville, and at an early age he entered the service of the Bank of Montreal. He enlisted in January 1916, as a Private in the Canadian Infantry. After reaching France he was given his commission as Lieutenant, and attached to the 24th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, with which he remained until his death. On the early morning of August 15th, 1917, while leading his platoon in the attack on Hill 70, near Lens, he was severely wounded in the face. He refused to return to the dressing station, as his company had not yet reached its objective and he believed that his duty was not yet done. He still pressed forward at the head of his men, but he had gone but a few yards when he was instantly killed by enemy shell-fire. (p 57)