Sgt. William Merrifield was a native of England, who had emigrated to Canada for employment. He enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on the outbreak of war and in 1917, was transferred to 4th Battalion, CEF, as a replacement. He went on to win the Military Medal (MM) for his conduct during the horrendous battle of Passchendaele in November of that year.
At the Battle of Abancourt in October, 1918, only a month before the Armistice, Sgt. Merrifield was trapped with his comrades under the fire of two German machine-gun posts. Merrifield gathered up bombs (grenades) and single-handedly attacked and destroyed the two machine guns.
Although wounded, he refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his platoon forward until wounded yet again. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic actions.
The 4th Battalion is perpetuated today by The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, which contributed the majority of the soldiers to the unit