It appears that Clarence William George Heppell was the first of the family to enroll with the 68th Depot Battery. He was attested on 23 December 1915. He must have talked highly of his experience as his younger brother Cecil Wesley Earl was sworn in on 5 January 1916. The Heppells were a farm family that had moved from Red Deer, AB to start farming in Surrey, BC. There were 7 brothers and 2 sisters so it may also have been that the Army served decent meals compared to what a large farm family in Surrey was able to put on the table. Whatever the reason, their father, John Thomas Heppell signed up 12 May 1916 and all three were in the 5th draft that left Canada onboard the SS Grampian 15 August 1916. Once in England, the 5th draft continued their training at Shorncliffe until proceeding to France where they would be designated for specific Artillery Brigades. The three Heppells were all posted to 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery and they all survived the war. Cecil was wounded in June 1917 and returned to the Brigade after recovering, Clarence severely burnt his hand in September 1918 and John appears to have survived the war with no annotations in his medical record.
The challenge for any of our readers is to closely examine the group photo of the 5th Overseas Draft, 68th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery Oct 1916 and see if you can identify the father and two sons. We’re also looking for the war diaries from the 2nd Brigade to see if we can find any mention of the Heppells. Any information you find can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
All the latest happenings with the Vancouver Gunners