Lieutenant Colonel Fred Hamilton
126th (Peel) Battalion
I am quite sure that the officer commanding the Peel battalion, Colonel Hamilton, who has returned home, never thought that the breaking up of his battalion was any stain upon his military record. It was a policy adopted for military reasons, and a great many battalions had to come under the rule.
(Blain, Debates, 13 Jul 1917, 3377)
Frederick John Hamilton was a municipal politician, member of Orange Lodge No. 163 and militia major. Born on 14 July 1869 in Port Credit, Ontario, he was a six-term town alderman with twenty years’ experience in the 36th Regiment. In early 1916, he was authorized to raise the 126th Battalion from Peel County.
The battalion sailed for England in August 1916 where it was divided between the 109th and 116th Battalions. The remnant was absorbed by the 8th Reserve Battalion in October 1916. Finding himself one of hundreds of unemployed senior officers in England, Hamilton returned home.
Conservative MP for Peel, Richard Blain defended the county battalion against the opposition criticisms that the recruitment system was ineffective, redundant and deceptive:
They either had to go over and go into the trenches as units or else be broken up. Those in military authority, who knew most about the war, decided that the best policy was to have them broken up.
Hamilton was an enthusiast for every variety of recreational sport. He was a championship badminton player and leading lawn bowler. In particular, he praised table tennis as “a sort of rejuvenated version of the old game, ping-pong, and requires considerable skill.”
He died in Port Credit on 20 January 1949.