Canadian Expeditionary Force
Leopold arrived in Liverpool, England on the SS Olympic on October 18, 1916. On March 20, 1917, he landed in France and would be sent to the Arras sector to help in the battle preparation for the attack on Vimy Ridge. Leopold was part of the 85th Battalion which played a significant role at Vimy. Prior to April 9, the 85th was primarily a labour battalion. On the opening day of the battle the 4th Division was assigned the specific task of taking Hill 145. They struggled greatly and in desperation it was decided to send the untested 85th in to action. The typical artillery battle was called off as it was feared that the battalion would become victims of friendly fire. This however was not communicated to all of the troops. They waited for it for a short time and then went over the top with no protection. Within ten heart pounding minutes the enemy fell victim to a ferocious and heroic bayonet charge. The 85th’s success that day was miraculous. Leopold survived this day physically unscathed.
Two short months later he was not so fortunate. While fighting near Lens on June 26, 1917 he was wounded having received a gun shot wound to his right foot. This was the end of his time on the front. He was sent home for medical reasons on November 19, 1917. He disembarked from the HS Araguay in Halifax on November 28, 1917. During his time in the army, Leopold continued to support his family. They received his $20.00 pay monthly but virtually no correspondence from him during his time overseas other than a Christmas card his oldest daughter received in 1916.
Leopold returned home to Canada but never to Sackville. After disembarkation in Halifax, his military file indicated his movements to Saint John and Fredericton. He was officially discharged on August 19, 1918. He never made contact with his wife or three children. He never sent any further financial support. The family only learned later that he had relocated to Massachusetts where he moved in with a cousin who had served with the American army. The family was understandably perplexed and upset by Leopold’s actions and Leopold’s wife struggled to support her family. Leopold died on November 28, 1936 having never reconnected with his family back in New Brunswick. When his grandchildren would ask their parents about their grandfather, Leopold’s children would refuse to discuss the matter. They still struggled to make sense of their father’s actions from so many years ago.
Curiously a postscript occurred in this story in 1993 when Tom Evans in Liverpool, England was planting daffodils in a public garden. He found Leopold’s dog tag with the bullet that had been removed from his foot affixed to it as he was digging. Mr. Evans held on to the bullet for 20 years when he decided he should try to connect with the Cadman family. An article appeared in the Liverpool newspaper in 2013. Someone in Canada came across it who in turn tracked down Jack Trueman, Leopold’s grandson. Jack too has struggled to put make sense of his grandfather’s post-war experience. He continues to do research and to look for clues of what took place in his life from 1918 to 1936.