Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Alexis Hannum Helmer

In memory of:

Lieutenant Alexis Hannum Helmer

May 2, 1915

Military Service


Age:

22

Force:

Army

Unit:

Canadian Field Artillery

Division:

1st Bde.

Additional Information


Son of Brig. Gen. R. A. Helmer and Elizabeth I. Helmer, of Gilmour St., Ottawa, Ontario.

The following circumstances of his death have been compiled from letters received by Lieut Owen Carsley Frederic Hague's father, Frederic Hague from officers in the area at the time. Early on Sunday morning, May 2, 1915 Lieutenants' Hague and Helmer left their position to check on a Canadian Battery who had positioned themselves on the bank of the Yser Canal near St. Julien close to the France-Belgium border. They had only gone a few yards when a six inch, high explosive canon shell burst. Lieutenant Helmer was killed instantly.

Commemorated on the Lieutenant Alexis Hannum Helmer Plaque.

Commemorated on Page 18 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:
Grave Reference:

Panel 10

Location:


The Menin Gate Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town of Ypres (now Ieper) in the Province of West Flanders, on the road to Menin and Courtrai. It bears the names of 55,000 men who were lost without trace during the defence of the Ypres Salient in the First World War. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and erected by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission, it consists of a Hall of Memory", 36.6 metres long by 20.1 metres wide. In the centre are broad staircases leading to the ramparts which overlook the moat, and to pillared loggias which run the whole length of the structure. On the inner walls of the Hall, on the side of the staircases and on the walls of the loggias, panels of Portland stone bear the names of the dead, inscribed by regiment and corps. Carved in stone above the central arch are the words:


TO THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO STOOD HERE FROM 1914 TO 1918 AND TO THOSE OF THEIR DEAD WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE.

Over the two staircases leading from the main Hall is the inscription:

HERE ARE RECORDED NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN WHO FELL IN YPRES SALIENT BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND HONOURED BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH.

The dead are remembered to this day in a simple ceremony that takes place every evening at 8:00 p.m. All traffic through the gateway in either direction is halted, and two buglers (on special occasions four) move to the centre of the Hall and sound the Last Post. Two silver trumpets for use in the ceremony are a gift to the Ypres Last Post Committee by an officer of the Royal Canadian Artillery, who served with the 10th Battery, of St. Catharines, Ontario, in Ypres in April 1915."

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

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  • Memorial – "IN FLANDERS FIELDS" IN MEMORY OF LIEUT. ALEXIS HANNUM HELMER 2ND OTTAWA BATTERY
1ST CANADIAN FIELD ARTILLERY KILLED IN ACTION MAY 9, 1915, AGE 22, AT THE SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES, BELGIUM. HE WAS THE FIRST LISGAR GRADUATE  TO DIE IN WORLD WAR I. HIS DEATH INSPIRED HIS CLOSE FRIEND LIEUT. COLONEL DR. JOHN McCRAE TO COMPOSE THIS IMMORTAL POEM. 
ALERE FLAMMAM
ERECTED BY THE LISGAR ALUMNI ASSOCIATION IN RECOGNITION OF THE 160 ANNIVERSARY, 2001.
  • Attestation papers – Attestation Papers: Alexis Helmer
  • Document – CWGC documents show Alexis Hanmer's body was originally buried at 28 C. 19.c.25.0.5 and later moved to the White House Cemetery at St-Jean-Le-Ypres  in Plot 3 Row X Grave 29.
  • Burial Report – CWGC documents show Alexis Hanmer's body was originally buried at 28 C. 19.c.25.0.5 and later moved to the White House Cemetery at St-Jean-Le-Ypres  in Plot 3 Row X Grave 29.
  • War Diary – War Diary
2 May 1915 CANAL BANK, YPRES
Composite battery arrived from ST JEAN during night. Intense heavy shelling by enemy all night which increased towards morning. Lt Helmer killed & Lt Hague severely wounded while observing. Casualties to date 6 killed 50 wounded. Other Canadian Batteries being moved from ST JEAN to west of CANAL. Two guns of 4th Battery put out of action by direct hits. Only 12 available guns now.
  • Circumstances of Death Registers – Lt Alexis Henmer grave registration - Menin Gate
  • Memorial Plaque – This memorial plaque was installed at Dominion Methodist Church, now Dominion United Church "In loving memory of Alexis Hannum Helmer Lieut 2nd Battery 1st Field Artillery Brigade Canadian Expeditionary Force Fell in action near Yprs May 2nd 1915 Aged 22 years "Be God's gentleman and the King's gentleman""
  • Biography – Lieut Alexis Hannum Helmer, Obit, Ottawa Collegiate Institute (now Lisgar Collegiate Institute).
  • Panels – Inscription on the Menin Gate - August 2012 … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial – Panel 10 of the Menin Gate - August 2012 … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Honor Roll – From the "McGill Honour Roll, 1914-1918".  McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 1926.
  • Commemorative plaque – This plaque is dedicated to Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, whose death inspired the 'Flander's Fields' poem.
  • Map – Map Flanders province, Belgium
  • Inscription on Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial – Detail from panel 10 on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium, where Alexis Helmer is commemorated. Picture by the Dover War Memorial Project, England
  • Photo of PRO DEO ET PATRIA – Pro Deo Et Patria Erected by the Royal Military College Club of Canada Anno Domini 1923. Ex-cadets are named on the Memorial Arch at the Royal Military College of Canada.

841 Lieut Alexis Hannum Helmer (RMC 1912) was the son of Brig. Gen. R. A. Helmer and Elizabeth I. Helmer, of Gilmour St., Ottawa, Ontario. He served with the Canadian Field Artillery, 1st Bde. Early on Sunday morning, May 2, 1915 Lieutenant Helmer left his position to check on a Canadian Battery who had positioned themselves on the bank of the Yser Canal near St. Julien close to the France-Belgium border. He had only gone a few yards when a six inch, high explosive canon shell burst. Lieutenant Helmer was killed instantly. He is remembered on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial Belgium.
  • TRUTH DUTY VALOUR – On their 50th anniversary the class of August 1915 at the Royal Military College of Canada have placed this memorial stained glass window to honour their fallen classmates.

841 Lieut Alexis Hannum Helmer (RMC 1912) was the son of Brig. Gen. R. A. Helmer and Elizabeth I. Helmer, of Gilmour St., Ottawa, Ontario. He served with the Canadian Field Artillery, 1st Bde. Early on Sunday morning, May 2, 1915 Lieutenant Helmer left his position to check on a Canadian Battery who had positioned themselves on the bank of the Yser Canal near St. Julien close to the France-Belgium border. He had only gone a few yards when a six inch, high explosive canon shell burst. Lieutenant Helmer was killed in action instantly. He is remembered on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial Belgium.
  • Menin Gate Memorial – 841 Lieut Alexis Hannum Helmer (RMC 1912) was the son of Brig. Gen. R. A. Helmer and Elizabeth I. Helmer, of Gilmour St., Ottawa, Ontario. He served with the Canadian Field Artillery, 1st Bde. Early on Sunday morning, May 2, 1915 Lieutenant Helmer left his position to check on a Canadian Battery who had positioned themselves on the bank of the Yser Canal near St. Julien close to the France-Belgium border. He had only gone a few yards when a six inch, high explosive canon shell burst. Lieutenant Helmer was killed in action instantly. He is remembered on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial Belgium.
  • Photo of Sympathy With Helmer – Toronto Star clipping 1915 May 5.
  • Photo of In Flanders Fields – Dr. McCrae records Lt. Helmer's last entry in his diary, Saturday  May 2nd...  "It has quieted a bit,I shall try to get a good sleep..."
  • Memorial Stairs – Memorial stair, Royal Military College, Kingston, On
  • Memorial – Memorial arch, Royal Military College, Kingston, On
  • Memorial Doll – Royal Military College, Kingston, On
  • Lisgar Collegiate Institute yearbook – Lisgar Collegiate Institute yearbook 1914, war notes.
  • Roll of honour – Lisgar Collegiate honour roll
  • Photo of Alexis Helmer – Alexis Helmer, in uniform

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