The Executioner

Lieutenant Colonel A.J. McCausland
74th (Peel & York) Battalion

The accused No. 1 Fuehrer Adolf Schicklegruber, alias Adolf Hitler, Elite Guard, Berlin, Germany, a soldier of the Third Reich, is charged with: Murder, rape, theft and sadistic crimes against humanity … The accused was tried before the court of public opinion on this 28th day of April, 1945. The court found the accused guilty of all charges and sentenced him to be taken out and hanged until he is dead and may God have mercy on his soul.

-Maj. A.J. McCausland

(Brantford Expositor, 1 May 1945, 5)

A Toronto native, Alan Joseph McCausland was born on 9 June 1887. He enlisted as a private in the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1903, and at the outbreak of the war was a militia captain with the 36th Peel Regiment. At the age of twenty-eight, he was one of the youngest men appointed to battalion command when authorized to raise the 74th from Peel and York counties. He sailed overseas in March 1916, and his unit provided reinforcements for Ontario battalions at the front.

At the end of the Second World War, McCausland had the distinction of announcing the death sentence for an effigy of Adolf Hitler in Brantford, Ontario just days before the real Hitler killed himself.

After the 74th Battalion was broken-up in September 1916, McCausland joined the 75th in the trenches on an instructional tour. He served as town major from April to September 1917, when he was struck off strength to Canada. On arrival home, he became commanding officer of 2nd Depot Battalion, 2nd Central Ontario Regiment. He presided over the courts martial of contentious objectors and others who defied conscription.

An advocate for veterans, McCausland became president of the Canadian Army & Navy Veterans’ Association in 1919. “One of the best things which would result from the war would be the associations which had been formed overseas,” McCausland stressed, and he “could not agree with some people who took the view that the men should hustle back into civilian life and forget all.” Following the death of his father in 1923, he took over business operations of McCausland Limited, a family-owned stained glass studio. McCausland Limited produced stained glass war memorials, such as the windows in Kingston Memorial Hall.

During the Second World War, McCausland acted as second-in-command of No. 20 Canadian Infantry Basic Training Centre (CIBTC) in Brantford, Ontario. On 28 April 1945, the unit celebrated exceeding their $85,000 Victory Loan target with the court martial of a wooden “dummy Fuehrer.” Among the long list of war crimes, the Nazi dictator was guilty of having “committed or caused to be committed inhuman acts of violence against millions of defenseless individuals.” McCausland read out the death sentence of public hanging, and the effigy was displayed from makeshift gallows. By the time the press reported the event, the real Hitler had shot himself on 30 April.

When McCausland retired from the militia in August 1945, a superior remarked, “He was a grand solider and gentleman, admired by all who knew him.” He died in Toronto on 20 October 1951.

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