PRIVATE RADIVOJEM CHETKOVICH
CANADIAN MOTOR MACHINE GUN BRIGADE
1ST JULY 1918 AGE 35
BURIED: PERNES BRITISH CEMEMTERY, FRANCE
Radivojem Chetkovich served in the 2nd Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Brigade under the name Harry Melin. Born in 1889 in Boan, Uskosi (now Uskoci), Montenegro he was living in Canada and working as a labourer when he volunteered in Sidney, British Columbia on 1 July 1916.
The battalion diary exists and shows that it was out of the line for most of June 1918. It doesn't mention suffering any casualties but it does mention that many of the men had 'three-day fever' and some of them had Spanish Flu and were very ill. Chetkovich died in Pernes, a large Casualty Clearing Station centre two years to the day after he had volunteered.
His father, who still lived in Boan Uskosi, chose his inscription, highlighting the seemingly strange fact that his Serbian son should die in Belgium fighting in the British Army.
The First World War began when a Bosnian Serb assassinated the Crown Prince of Austria on the 28 June 1914. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia mobilised against Austria-Hungary to protect Serbia, Germany declared war on France to support Austria-Hungary and Britain declared war on Germany when she invaded Belgium to attack France. Serbia and Britain were therefore on the same side, both fighting Austria-Hungary and her ally Germany.