Lieutenant Colonel H.C. Sparling
73rd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
The dissolution of the battalion caused the greatest regret and depression among all ranks, and the officers, who had witness the splendid work of the men in the Bn. during the last four months, could only express the highest admiration for the way all N.C.O’s and men carried out their duties during that time, with the knowledge of the possible dissolution of the battalion.
(Sparling, 73rd War Diary, 19 Apr 1917, 36)
Herbert Cosford Sparling was born in Kerrwood, Ontario on 6 February 1880. Previously a member of the Mississauga Horse, Sparling had moved to Ottawa shortly before the First World War. He enlisted as senior major in Peers Davidson’s 73rd Battalion, which deployed to France in March 1916 as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division. Sparling assumed command in December 1916, but the battalion was removed from the line on 9 April 1917 just before the battle of Vimy Ridge.
Unable to sustain reinforcements, the 73rd was divided between the 13th (Royal Highlanders of Canada), the 42nd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) and the 85th (Nova Scotia Highlanders). Sparling assumed staff positions with 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade and the 33rd Division in the British Army.
He served with the 16th Brigade headquarters during the Siberia Expedition and remained with the Permanent Force after the war. He died in Halifax on 3 June 1934.