The Band Leader

Lieutenant Colonel J. E. De Hertel
130th (Lanark and Renfrew) BattalionDeHertel

You have from now on not only to represent the honor of the 130th Battalion in those colours but the honour of your King. It was, as you know, customary to carry the colours into the battle-field, but this custom has been changed. The reason is that in the past thousands of men have sacrificed their lives in saving the colours. To avoid this unnecessary sacrifice of life it has been decided that in future the colours are to remain at home.

(Col. Hemming’s Address, Perth Courier, 2 June 1916)

John Edward De Hertel was a Hudson’s Bay Company factor, trade representative, manufacturer and sportsman. He was born in Perth, Ontario on 29 September 1863. While in charge of an HBC outpost during the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, De Hertel was briefly taken prisoner by Cree Chief Big Bear.

With nearly thirty years’ service in the militia, De Hertel had belonged to the 3rd Victoria Rifles in Montreal as well as the 42nd Regiment from his home in Perth. At the outbreak of the Great War, De Hertel acted as chief recruiting officer for Lanark and Renfrew Counties. In late 1915, he was appointed to raise the 130th Battalion from Perth. He organized the unit band and composed the battalion song, “130th March Past.”

Following a ten day tour of the front with the 18th Battalion, De Hertel returned to Canada to become an exemption officer in Kingston. He was one term mayor of Perth from 1925 to 1926. He died on 30 December 1945.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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