Lieutenant Colonel R.W. Smart
136th (Durham) Battalion
In a recent letter to this office from an old Durhamite, now living in Western Ontario, this reference is made to Col. Smart: “Tell the young men what a privilege it will be to serve under him and say that for the honor of the old loyal country every man much do his duty.
(Canadian Statesman, 2 Dec 1915, 1)
Robert Wallace Smart was a third generation military officer and thirty-three year member of the 46th Regiment. Robert Smart was born on 3 December 1864 in Port Hope, Canada West. During the 1885 Rebellion, the twenty-year-old Smart volunteered with Colonel A. T. H. Williams’ Midland Battalion. His grandfather, David Smart had raised a cavalry troop to help put down the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion.
As commander of the 46th Regiment and drill instructor at the Toronto Cadet School, Smart was appointed second-in-command for the 39th Battalion, commanded by fellow 1885 veteran, Lieut. Col. J.A.V. Preston.
He returned from England in early 1916 to raise the 136th Battalion from Durham County, Ontario. As soon as the under-strength battalion disembarked in England in October 1916, it was absorbed into the 6th Reserve. In March 1917, Smart was appointed to No. 3 Military District. In September 1917, he took command of 1st Depot Battalion, Eastern Ontario at Kingston. After the war, Smart assumed a leading role in organizing the 136th veterans’ association and was a regular attendee of annual battalion reunions.
Active in the Masons for fifty-seven years, Smart served numerous positions including master of the Ontario Lodge, warden of the Remembrance Lodge and Grand Prior of the Preceptory. He died at the age of ninety-five on 4 June 1960 at Sunnybrook Hospital.