b. 09/10/1890 Brentwood, Essex. d. 08/08/1943 Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
William Merrifield (1890-1943) was born in Brentwood, Essex, England, on 9th October 1890. He later emigrated with his family to Aylmer Road, Ottawa. Merrifield then moved to Sudbury and took a job as a fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railway. On 23rd September 1914 at Camp Valcartier, Québec, Merrifield enlisted and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion. He fought with this unit during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, before being transferred to the 4th Battalion, with which he served for the remainder of the war. He was awarded the Military Medal for his conduct during the horrendous Battle of Passchendaele in November 1917.
On 1st October 1918, the advance of Sergeant Merrifield and his men near Abancourt in France was being blocked by intense fire from two German machine gun emplacements. Merrifield resolved to attack both positions alone. Running from shell-hole to shell-hole, he killed the crew of the first machine gun and, although wounded, continued to the second emplacement, where he used a hand grenade to kill all of the enemy defenders. Merrifield refused to be evacuated, and went on leading his platoon until he was wounded again, this time severely. For showing the highest qualities of valour and leadership in this action, Sergeant Merrifield was awarded the Victoria Cross.
William Merrifield was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Sandringham House, Norfolk on 26th January 1919. After the war, Merrifield left Southampton, England, to travel back to Canada on board the S.S. Olympicon April 15th, 1919, and was discharged from the service on April 24th. He took a job with the Algoma Central Railway in Sault Ste. Marie. William Merrifield suffered a stroke in 1939 from which he never recovered, and he died in a hospital in Toronto on 8th August 1943. He is buried in the West Korah Cemetery in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
At a ceremony held on Monday, 21st November 2005, at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Sergeant William Merrifield were donated to the museum by his descendants, the Merrifield family of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
LOCATION OF MEDAL:CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, OTTAWA, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: WEST KORAH CEMETERY, SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO, CANADA.
War Memorial in Saulte St Marie (Kevin Joynt)