Lieutenant Colonel Adam Weir &
Major Andy M. Moffat160th (Bruce) Battalion
But still in England? Mustering as much good grace as possible we have finally given up all hope and desire to read the future. It is the third X mas in khaki for most of us, each having left a little farther up the beach of army life. Shall we continue? We cannot possibly go much further without slipping over the edge into life in France.
(Editorial, “Bruce in Khaki,” 1 Jan 1918, 98)
Adam Weir was a manufacturer in Port Credit and a twenty-four year member of the 32nd (Bruce) Regiment. He was born on 21 November 1863 in Aberfoyle, Canada West. In December 1915, Wier was appointed to raise the 160th Battalion from Bruce County. Well respected as a militiaman and civic leader, Weir, a local newspaper observed, “is regarded as a most capable officer, and is remembered here for his fine soldiering abilities.”
The 160th Battalion departed Canada for England in October 1916. On 6 May 1917, war veteran and former commander of the 52nd Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Sutherland, assumed command of the 160th from Weir. Military authorities needed to find a position for Sutherland after he had violated orders and arrived in England for further duty. After Sutherland returned to the front with the 52nd in 1918, he specifically requested reinforcements from the 160th.
On 1 December 1917, command of the Bruce battalion passed to Major Andrew McLean Moffat. Born in Walkerton, Ontario on 3 May 1881, Moffat had immigrated to the United States in 1903 and served as inspector general of the Kentucky National Guard until 1912. By 1915, he had returned to his hometown to join the 160th as second-in-command.
In October 1917, increasingly restless members of the 160th created a battalion magazine, “Bruce in Khaki,” to record interesting and entertaining aspects of garrison life in England. One issue from 2 November 1917 imagined a battalion reunion ten years in the future. The writer anticipated important postwar careers for the 160th senior officers: “Among the prominent ones present,” the fictional article explained, “were the Hon. Donald Sutherland, Minister of Militia, the Hon. A. McLean Moffat, Premier of Canada, and Brigadier-General Adam Weir, of the Canadian Standing Army…” Although Moffat never became prime minister and Weir did not pursue a professional career in the regular army, Sutherland did indeed become Minister of Defence in 1930.
After returning to Port Credit, Weir resumed his business and manufacturing career. An enthusiastic golfer, he founded the Mississauga Golf Club. Weir died on 5 Sept 1932. Following financial difficulties, Major Moffat drifted into obscurity. He resurfaced during the Second World War in a failed attempt to enlist in the army.
Weir, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 10203 – 35
Moffat RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 6274 – 30
Image: Top- Lt.-Col. Weir. Bottom- Maj. Moffat
Further Reading: Allan Bartley, Heroes in Waiting: the 160th Bruce Battalion in the Great War (Brucedale Press, 1996)