The Flag Hugger

Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Bywater
33rd Battalion

Considerable pressure is being brought to bear on adopting a new flag for Canada, in many cases by certain factions who were not over-zealous fighting Wars I and II and whose loyalty is often doubted.

Were a new flag to be adopted would it not be the most deadly insult and ingratitude toward the thousands buried in foreign lands, draped with the Union Jack and the thousands maimed and broken and hundreds of thousands who fought to keep that flag flying, a flag that has been baptized in the blood and sacrifices of our boys and now, next to the cross is a sacred emblem?

(Bywater, Globe and Mail, 17 Oct 1945, 6)

Arthur Edwin Bywater was a gentleman farmer and militia officer born in Colbone, Ontario on 7 April 1869. He first enlisted in the 21st Battalion before being appointed senior major with Lieutenant Colonel J. A. V. Preston’s 39th Battalion in March 1915. After the 39th was broken up, Bywater assumed command of the 33rd Reserve Battalion in England.

He relinquished command in August 1916 when the 33rd was absorbed into the 36th Battalion. Bywater transferred to the 4th Battalion and spent several weeks in the field until he was wounded in September 1916. Suffering shell wounds to his abdomen and thigh, the medical report found Bywater “tires easily and feels very depressed.” In 1920, he became first commanding officer of the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment. He was appointed honorary colonel from 1935 to 1940.

In response to calls for a new Canadian flag to replace the Red Ensign, Bywater appealed for all veterans to “protest against a flag we do not know, and never fought for.”

He died on 17 October 1945, the same day the above editorial was published in the Globe and Mail.

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