Lieutenant Colonel James Ballantine, D.S.O.
76th and 109th Battalions
They have got a new Col. in this battalion since we came to it. His name is Ballantine, he has been to France twice, and this is his third battalion to command so he has had a little experience anyway. He seems to take a great interest in the work of the men. He says he don’t care what kind of officers he has as long as he has good N.C.O.’s and men, all that the officers are good for is figure heads in his mind.
(J. H. Bennett, 109th Bn. to Garnet Bennett [brother], 22 Nov 1916)
Born on 3 September 1876 in Georgetown, Ontario, James Ballantine was a member of the 20th Halton Rifles and received military training at Toronto, Hayland Island, Hythe and Aldershot. He fought in the Boer War and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for gallantry.
In 1915, Major Ballantine served in France with the 4th Battalion as second-in-command. After Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Birchall was killed during the second battle of Ypres, Ballantine assumed temporary command for several days. He returned to his hometown in summer 1915 to recover from wounds suffered in the fighting. After receiving the Distinguished Service Order and a promotion to lieutenant colonel, Ballantine organized the 76th Battalion from Collingwood, Barrie and Orillia.
Upon arriving in England, the 76th volunteers were absorbed into the 36th Battalion. Ballantine became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He briefly commanded the 109th Battalion until it was absorbed into the 12th Reserve. He subsequently returned to France to rejoin the 4th Battalion.
In August 1917, Colgate University in Hamilton, New York selected Ballantine for director of military science at the school. He died in Georgetown on 7 January 1948 at the age of seventy-one.
Digitized Service File (LAC):