First RMR Killed in Action: Private Hopey

Thursday, March 4, 1915

In trenches Rue Petillon

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Slight shelling by German ‘77’ guns about noon.  Had the first man killed in trenches by sniper.  Work begun to strengthen the line.   No’s 1, 2, and 3 Companies in front line, beginning from right, No. 4 Coy. in support in dugouts opposite Battn. H.Q. about 250 yards in rear.  Continuous sniping at night from fixed rifles from German line.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “Shelling each noon was a feature of this trench tour, and snipers, both by day and night, interrupted the construction and repair work on which the men of the 14th were employed” [2]

The Battalion history erroneously names the first man killed in action as “Pte. J.P. Rattigan.”  [3]   In fact Rattigan’s death occurred two weeks later, on March 18th.  The man killed in action on March 4th was Pte. Edmund E. Hopey, a 21 year old American from, Dorchester, Massachusetts.

22750 Private Edmund Eugene Hopey
22750 Private Edmund Eugene Hopey

Edmund Eugene Hopey was born June 25th, 1893, the only child of George Allen Hopey and his wife Ida Tedella (nee Corey) of 13 Granite Avenue, Dorchester, Mass., U.S.A.  He was educated there and was a carpenter by trade.  He joined the 8th Massachusetts Militia at Cambridge, Mass. on May 6th, 1914, but after the outbreak of war he went to St. John, N.B. and offered his services and was accepted for service with the 14th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on Aug 17th, 1914.  He is said to have met his death while “covering a parapet.”   He is buried at Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France.

Capt. George T. Jones of the 8th Massachussets  Militia wrote: “While he was connected with this company (A) he proved himself reliable, quiet and an earnest worker and one whom I was sorry to lose.”  Captain Curry of the 14th Battn. wrote to his mother,  speaking highly of his bravery in the trenches at Ypres.   [1]


[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, March 4, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]    R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 30.
[3]   Ibid.
[5]   Ibid.

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