The King’s Own

Lieutenant Colonel F. C. McCordick
35th Battalion & 15th Bn., King’s Own Yorkshire Light InfantryMcCordick

My dear Col. McCordick,

If you haven’t already heard, you will be surprised to get this letter from m⁠e⁠—in Germany. It happened at that awful slaughter⁠—rhe 3rd battle of Ypres, & even now when I think of it all, I doubt my reality of existence…

Hope all is well with you & 35th. Good luck & best regards to all.

(Lt. A. Watson Sime to McCordick, 3 July 1916)

Born on 2 June 1873 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Frank Case McCordick was a leather manufacturer and member of the 19th Regiment. In early 1915, he took command of the 35th  Battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Charles Frederick Bick who transferred to the 37th. Many of McCordick’s volunteers belonged to Toronto’s militia units, the Royal Grenadiers, the Queen’s Own Rifles, the 48th Highlanders, the 12th York Rangers, and the 109th Regiment.

35thAfter training at Camp Niagara, the battalion sailed to England in October 1915. It was steadily depleted through reinforcement drafts. Twenty-five year old Lieutenant Adam Watson Sime, formerly of the QOR and York Rangers, was one of the 35th officers to go to the front. During the battle of Mount Sorrel on 3 June 1916, Sime was knocked unconscious by a shell blast. When he awoke, he found himself a prisoner of war. Writing from a German prison camp, Sime related a vivid account of the battle to his former commander.

Meanwhile in England, McCordick took charge of the 4th Reserve Battalion from January 1917 to January 1918. He transferred to the Imperial Army and after a posting with the Royal Warwick Regiment, McCordick became the first commanding officer of the 15th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was one of the few Canadian-born colonels to command a British Army regiment in action at the front. In July 1918, he was struck off strength to Canada at his own request.

While returning home on leave, McCordick remarked of the war, “I don’t see how it can be finished before the end of the next year.” Two days later, on 8 August, the Allies launched what would be known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which would end the war.

During the 1920s, McCordick remained active in the reorganized militia and advocated on behalf of veterans as a local representative of the Canadian Legion. He was mayor of St. Catharines from 1930 to 1931.

He died in Toronto on 19 November 1946.

Letter from Lt. A. Watson Sime to Col. F.C. McCordick,

Further reading:

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