Lieutenant Colonel Dick Greer
180th (Sportsmen) Battalion
But the English and Canadians and Australians fight in a different way. They make a sport of fighting.
The German soldier has no sport. He is a machine; he is rigidly in his place. He can’t understand the idea that fighting is sport to the British. That long line of men charging, laughing and kicking a football along ahead terrifies him.
(Greer to Fosdick Commission, Toronto Globe, 18 June 1917, 9)
As president of the Sportsmen’s Patriotic Association, Richard Haliburton Greer proposed to raise a battalion of athletes from Toronto. Born on 19 October 1878 in Toronto, Greer was an Ontario Crown attorney and one of the city’s leading sportsmen. In his youth, Greer played amateur and semi-professional baseball. As a member of the University of Toronto ball club in the late 1890s, he was regarded as “one of the best short-stops in Canada.” In the 1898 UofT yearbook, Greer cited as his chief ambition in life: “To play the game.”