Major Roscoe Vanderwater, D.S.O.
2nd (Iron Second) Battalion
Sharp at 4.45 one afternoon in broad daylight and under an almost cloudless sky, three companies under command of Major Vanderwater sprang from their trenches and advanced steadily toward the German line. In front of them our artillery laid down an intense barrage and out men followed so closely that they were almost in the midst of their own shells.
(The Weekly Ontario and Bay of Quinte Chronicle, 28 Sept 1916, 2)
Roscoe Dudley Vanderwater was a farmer and militia officer born in Foxboro, Sidney Township, Ontario on 6 January 1889. Shortly after the sudden death of his wife, in March 1915, he enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel J.A.V. Preston’s 39th Battalion from Belleville. After the 39th was broken up, Vanderwater reverted in rank from captain to lieutenant and joined the 2nd Battalion on the front.
In recognition of brave conduct on the battlefield, Vanderwater was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and promoted to major. He assumed command of the 2nd during the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Lorne McLaughlin between 30 August and 1 October 1918.
In the 1920s, Vanderwater became a municipal politician and entered Liberal politics. He ran for the 1924 federal nomination for Hastings West against fellow colonels, A.E. Bywater, E. D. O’Flynn and Russell Carman. All four withdrew to support Belleville mayor Charles Edward Hanna. Vanderwater ran for the Liberals in the 1926 federal election but lost to Conservative William Ernest Tummon.
Committed to conservation, Vanderwater devoted his efforts to deforestation and promoting nature tourism. He died in Belleville on 16 June 1957. The Vanderwater Conservation Area was named in his honour.
Militia personnel file number: 7035-1