Lieutenant Colonel G.V. White, MP
224th (Lumbermen) Battalion
We cannot be too generous in our treatment of our sailors, soldiers and airmen. I take it that this measure will recompense fairly generously the men and women who have served their country well. I believe the people of Canada will wholeheartedly endorse this very important legislation.
(Senator White, Debates, 11 Aug 1944, 452)
Gerald Verner White was Conservative Member of Parliament for Renfrew North. Born on 6 July 1879 in Pembroke, Ontario, he was the son of Peter White (1838—1906), a lumber tycoon and former Speaker of the House of Commons. After his father’s death, the younger White won a by-election for Renfrew North in 1906. A militia officer with the 42nd Regiment, White enlisted as senior major with J. F. De Hertel’s 130th Battalion in November 1915. By February 1916, he transferred to the 224th Foresters as second-in-command to Alexander McDougall.
After McDougall was promoted to the Directorate of Timber Operations in September 1916, White assumed command of the 224th in England. When the battalion was absorbed into the Canadian Forestry Corps two months later, White was appointed Director of Timber Operations in Great Britain.
Although he did not stand for re-election in 1917, on 6 November 1919 Prime Minister Borden appointed him to the Senate. An advocate had pushed for his appointment, disclosing that White had returned from war “financially embarrassed.” As someone whose war service had been confined to Forestry operations in Britain, White argued that all veterans regardless of duty be included in pension legislation even if they had only served in England. He became as Senate Opposition Whip in 1947 and died in office on 24 October 1948.
Conservative Leader Senator John Thomas Haig eulogized his friend:
There was in Gerald White a quality which I cannot define, but which I have always wished I possessed. I liked him; I did not know why. I though perhaps I was the only one who felt something like love for him, but I have discovered that others had the same feeling. His was a personality which made people not only love him but trust him. The Senate is a better chamber because of his presence in it.