This officer was wounded on April 23rd near Ypres as described in A.F.A.45 of the 27th Aug’15. He now has very free movement at the shoulder, and has no pain and has considerable strength in the arm. His nervous condition, however, is not yet normal and this board recommends another month’s leave from this date.
(Proceedings of Medical Board, London, 11 Jan 1916)
Born on 11 October 1868 in Brockville, Ontario, William Senkler Buell descended from one of the oldest Loyalist families in Ontario. His ancestors had fought for the British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. He followed his grandfather and father in politics and military affairs, becoming mayor of Brockville in 1900, president of the Liberal Association and commanding officer of the 41st Regiment in 1910. In August 1914, he helped to organize the 4th Battalion and was appointed second-in-command.
When Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Labatt fell sick in England, Buell briefly took charge until command passed to professional British soldier Arthur Birchall. During the second battle of Ypres, he was wounded by a piece of shrapnel to his left shoulder. Although Buell’s physical injury had healed by January 1916, in the opinion of the doctors, his strained nervous condition prevented a return to active service.
After his discharge from hospital two months later, Buell remained in England and took over the 36th Battalion on 24 April 1916. In January 1917, the unit was reorganized as the 3rd Reserve Battalion under Buell’s command. He briefly returned to the field in June 1916 on an instructional tour with the 2nd Battalion.
After the war, Buell moved west and settled in Vancouver. He was active in veterans’ issues and was elected president of the British Columbia Command of the Canadian Legion. On 5 August 1941, he dropped dead while addressing the Legion in New Westminster.
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