- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Personal symbol
- Department Arms and Technology
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1918/12/01
- Latest 1918/12/31
- Inscription 410913 PTE. H. V. BIGNELL, P.P.C.L.I.
- Support loose
- Materials Bronze
- Rank Private
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Unit Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
- Measurements Length 6.0 cm, Width 4.2 cm, Thickness 0.3 cm
- Caption Medals Project- Bignell, Hilary Vivian
Hilary Vivian Bignell was born in Toronto, Ontario, on 23 November 1889 to Charles, a travelling salesman in books and shoes, and Georgia (née Fairfield) Bignell. By 1891 he was the third of three children. The family had moved to Montreal by 1901, with his father continuing as a commercial traveler. By 1911 Hilary is the only child living at home on Tupper Street, Montreal, with his father and aunt. Hilary was at McGill University studying Engineering and an active member of the university Officer Training Corps at the outbreak of the First World War.
He attested for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 24 February 1915 in the 15th Batttalion (Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa). His CEF records indicate that he transferred to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). Bignell sailed from Canada on 24 June 1915 and joined his unit in the field in France. At the end of July 1915, the PPCLI was stationed at Steenwerck, just north of Lille, France. The unit had suffered a high number of casualties during the defence of Bellewaerde Ridge during the Battle of Frezenberg in May 1915. The unit diary noted that on 27 July 5 officers and a new draft of 244 men from McGill arrived. The draft was paraded and inspected on the 31st and Bignell was formally taken on strength that day. Bignell suffered problems with infections as his record indicates several hospital admissions in France to remedy. On 13 March 1916, Lance Corporal Bignell was detached from the CEF and given a temporary commission as a Lieutenant in the British Army with the Royal Engineers (RE). He was discharged from the CEF on 26 October 1916 in the United Kingdom to take up his new position with the 9th Field Company RE, in France. The remainder of his service was with the Royal Engineers, where he rose to the rank of Captain.
By 1919 he is back in Canada and working as an Assistant Engineer with the Grand Trunk Railway and, in 1921, as an engineer with Price Brothers of Kenogami, Québec. There are numerous passenger lists documenting his travel back and forth to the United Kingdom including one in 1934 with his wife Louise and two children, and he shows up in the Voters’ lists in Westminster in 1938. Bignall died on 25 January 1957 in Montreal, and he is buried in Cimetière Mont-Royal.