David Sinclair Van Fleet

Regimental number: 
Unit at enlistment: 
8th Brigade C.F.A., 40th Battery
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Survived the war: 
Date of death: 
November 6th, 1917
Passchendaele New British Cemetery - Ypres, Belgium - XII.F.21.
Commemorated at: 
Colborne Street Methodist Church, I.O.O.F. Memorial Tablet and Obelisk Harmony Lodge, 40th Battery C.F.A. Memorial Plaque, Massey-Harris Memorial Plaque (Toronto)
Birth country: 
Birth county: 
Birth city: 
Brantford, Ontario
Address at enlistment: 
13 Victoria Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
13 Victoria Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Commercial Traveller
Massey-Harris Co.
Religious denominations: 
Marital status: 
Age at enlistment: 

Letters and documents

Cause and Place of Death: Previously reported Missing now for Official purposes presumed to have died. Now Killed in Action.

BX November 23, 1917

Mr. J.R. Van Fleet, 12 Victoria Street, received a telegram from Ottawa this morning announcing that his son, Gunner David Sinclair Van Fleet, artillery, was officially reported missing since November 6. Full details have not yet been received. The young man at the time of his enlistment over two years ago was in the employ of the Massey-Harris Company, Toronto, and went overseas with the 40th Battery, formerly commanded by the late Major Gordon Southam of Hamilton.

BX December 8, 1917

Gunner D. Van Fleet is Now Missing – Was Last Seen Aiding to Bring Back Wounded Man
Mr. and Mrs. Van Fleet have received a letter confirming the report that their son, David, is missing. The letter follows:

November 17, 1917

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Van Fleet,

We are extremely sorry to have to confirm the official report which you have no doubt received, that your son David is missing, but we hope that it may be a source of comfort to you and the members of the family to know that we who worked and chummed with him have done all that it is possible to do to locate him.

David was last seen by Lieut. McCaul, helping back one of our signallers, who had been wounded, towards a dressing station, after which no trace has been found of either, though the neighborhood, has been carefully searched.

With you, we miss him keenly for “Van” had been with us through training and the many trying experiences here, proving himself in every time of need a courageous and true friend.

We wish to extend to you and members of the family our sincere sympathy, and hope that your sorrow may be lightened by being shared with us.


40th Battery Signallers

BX November 9, 1918

VAN FLEET – In Sad and Loving Memory of Gunner David Sinclair Van Fleet, 40th Battery, C.F.A., Aged 27 years, Dearly Beloved and Eldest Son of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Van Fleet, 13 Victoria Street, Brantford. Previously Reported Missing in the Battle of Passchendaele, Now Presumed Dead 

Our beloved boy has fallen,
And lies in the fields of France.
He shrank not with his comrades
When they got the word to “Advance.

In the morning of life he was taken,
Before the noonday sun.
The Master saw fit to call him
While his work was just begun.

An unseen string of memory’s harp
Is softly touched today,
And thoughts of him come crowding fast
And tears I cannot stay.

One year has passed and how we miss him.
Loving him dearly his memory we keep.
Not while life lasts shall we ever forget him.
Sacred to us is the place where he sleeps.

When alone in our sorrow the bitter tears flow;
Their stealeth a dream of the sweet long ago,
And unknown to the world he stands by our side
And whispers these words, “Death cannot divide.”

– The Family

BX March 25, 1922

Confirmation of Heroic Death – Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Van Fleet Officially Notified of Death of Driver Van Fleet

The following communication confirming the death of their son in action has been received by Mr. And Mrs. J.R. Van Fleet, 13 Victoria Street, city. The notice comes three years and four months after the conclusion of hostilities.

Referring further to the late Driver David Sinclair Van Fleet, will you please note that information has been received upon the authority of which the casualty to this soldier has been amended to read ‘Killed in Action.’  During the work of searching the late battle areas for unallocated graves, the officers of the Graves Registration Units have been successful in locating the isolated grave of Driver Van Fleet and the remains have been removed and reburied in a military cemetery in order that the grave could be properly cared for.

The communication is signed by the Director of Reports for the Adjutant-General.

BX November 3, 1916
Reported Wounded
Word was received in the city today that Gunner David Sinclair Van Fleet had been wounded on October 15. Particulars as to the wounding were lacking. He enlisted with the 32nd Battery.

BX November 4, 1916


Mr. J.R. Van Fleet received a telegram from Ottawa announcing that his son, Gunner David Sinclair Van Fleet, was wounded on Sunday, Oct. 15 and that details would follow later. The young man was in the employ of the Massey-Harris Co. Toronto, and was a member of the 40th Battery, formerly commanded by the late Major Gordon Southam of Hamilton.