Walter Trueman Ruggles was born in Londonderry, NS, on September 15, 1890, the son of Lenfest and Laura Elizabeth Ruggles. Walter enlisted in the 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) in Halifax on January 24, 1916. At the time, he was living in Middleton, Annapolis County, NS, and was a student. Prior to his enlistment, he had spent time in the militia serving with the 69th Annapolis Regiment.
Walter trained with the 85th Battalion in Aldershot, NS, before heading to England with them on the SS Olympic in October, 1916. After several months of training in England, they embarked for France and the Western Front, disembarking in Boulogne, France, on February 10, 1917. Walter had been promoted to the rank of captain the day before.
On June 19, 1917, the 85th Battalion was involved in an operation in front of Angres, France, in an area known as “The Triangle. The battalion captured some trenches from the Germans who retaliated with an extremely heavy artillery bombardment. Walter, who was the commanding officer of “C” Company at the time, received shrapnel wounds to his back and left arm. The blast from the exploding shell also ruptured his left ear drum. He was evacuated back to England for treatment and recovery. The shrapnel wounds were not considered serious but the damage to his ear drum caused him to develop otitis media, a bacterial or viral infection that would eventually lead to his death. Walter returned to the 85th Battalion in France a few months later in September, but within a month was back in hospital in England. He was finally invalided back to Canada on the SS Justicia in December, 1917. On February 1, 1919, Walter was admitted to Camp Hill Hospital where he was operated on for a diseased mastoid resulting from his ear infection. He died three days later on February 4, 1919. He was 28 years old.
Walter Trueman Ruggles was laid to rest in Annapolis Royal (Woodlawn) Cemetery in Annapolis County, NS.
The photo was probably taken in Canada in 1916, before he went overseas.
Ref. Number: 16-1 (2-1.2)
Image Information: Scan of original photo
Source: Walter Millen, Great Village, NS