Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Malone
208th (Irish Fusiliers) Battalion
The principal feature of yesterday’s casualty lists was the number of correction which had to be made, some unhappily, for the worse, others for the better.
(Toronto Globe, 8 June 1916)
On 5 June 1916, the Toronto press reported Captain Willard Park Malone of the 15th Battalion killed in action. Born in Owen Sound, Ontario on 3 March 1883, he was reputedly the first man to enlist from his district. Several days after his reported death at the battle of Mont Sorrel, his wife received a cable from Malone stating he was “quite well.”
Malone had deployed to France shortly after Second Ypres in late spring 1915. He soon gained a promotion to captain and after nearly two years in the field became second-in-command of the 15th Battalion. In March 1917, he was recalled to England to take a senior officers’ course at Aldershot. Shortly after the arrival of the 208th Battalion in May 1917, Malone replaced the original commanding officer, Thomas Lennox, a Toronto MPP.
The 208th was formally disbanded in January 1918 and Malone remained on staff of Bramshott Camp. He returned to Toronto with the 15th Battalion in May 1919. The Toronto Globe declared, “Although he had many narrow escapes he came through the war without a wound.”
While not physically wounded, his experiences in the trenches took a heavy toll on Malone’s health. He suffered a nervous breakdown and never recovered. He died in a London, Ontario hospital on 22 July 1922.