PRIVATE ERNEST ALBERT PROVEN
1ST CANADIAN MOUNTED RIFLES
12TH APRIL 1917 AGE 21
BURIED: BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY, FRANCE
"Go on, I'll manage". Ernest's father says that these words were spoken to a comrade but they could easily have been heard by Ernest Proven's brother, Harry. Both Ernest and Harry served with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion and on the morning of 9 April 1917 they were both part of the first wave of the attack on Vimy Ridge. Ernest was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel. He survived long enough to be passed down the casualty evacuation chain to a base hospital in Boulogne, where he died three days later.
Sergeant Harry James Proven survived the attack at Vimy Ridge but was killed seventeen months later on 29 September 1918, six weeks before the end of the war, in the Canadian Corps' attack on Cambrai. Hit in the chest by German machine-gun fire, he died on the way to the main dressing station. His father also chose his headstone inscription. It reads:
James and Harriett Proven
Served 3 years & 8 months
Information on the Proven brothers comes from a blog post written by Michael O'Hagan whose great-grandfather was Ernest and Harry's brother.
The inscription came to my notice in Eric McGeer's excellent article on Canadian epitaphs of the Great War 'Time But the Impression Deeper Makes'.