The Farmer

Lieutenant Colonel T. Bart Robson
135th (Middlesex) Battalion
Robson

Experience teaches that a recruiting meeting in the Country has to be of the nature of an entertainment in order to draw the crowd.

(Robson, 14 Feb 1916)

Born in London, Canada West on 24 January 1859, T. Bartholomew Robson was a farmer with thirty years’ experience in the militia. As commanding officer of the 26th Middlesex Light Infantry, he was authorized to raise the 135th Battalion from Middlesex County in November 1915. When the unit arrived in England in August 1916, it was broken up and the troops were divided among the 116th, 125th and 134th Battalions.

Robson proceeded to France on a 15-day tour with the 54th Battalion in March 1917. The fifty-eight year old colonel was however found “now too old for active service at the front.” Upon returning to Canada in April 1917, a frustrated Robson declared “I didn’t enlist to stay in England.”   

 135thAlways a “staunch Liberal” in politics, Robson became the party nominee in the provincial riding of Middlesex. During the 1917 federal election campaigned for the Liberal Opposition candidate, James McCulloch Ross, who argued that the government had destroyed volunteer recruitment by breaking up local units like the 135th.

The federal Liberal appealed to farmer voters by calling for conscription of wealth. He further asserted that the sons of the rich should be drafted before the producer class. In the December election result, incumbent Unionist S. F. Glass defeated Ross by over 1000 votes.

In the October 1919 provincial election, Robson also went down in defeat to United Farmer candidate, John Willard Freeborn. Robson retired from the militia in 1920. He died on his farm on 23 January 1925.

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One thought on “The Farmer

  1. This is the second entry I’ve read here on officers who were 53/54 when they went overseas and were found too old to serve, and then came home.

    Funny what articles a person finds interesting at different points in their life. At age 53, and in better shape than most, I can see why that would be too old. It makes me tired just reading it about it.

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