Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Price, M.P.P.
204th (Beaver) Battalion
It seems to me to be a crying shame that having raised and trained this battalion at a cost of $2000, it should after a year need further training so men taken to reinforce units not from Toronto and its senior officers cast adrift as if they were useless.
(Price to Borden, 4 Apr 1917)
William Herbert Price was an Ontario lawyer and Conservative MPP for Parkdale (1914—1937). He was born in Owen Sound on 25 May 1877. In spring 1916, Price competed with multiple battalions in Toronto to gather volunteers for the 204th. Despite having no militia experience, the popular politician was well positioned to organize the recruitment campaign.
This site normally profiles majors, colonels and generals—but for Remembrance Day, I focus on a private soldier, my great-great uncle, H. J. Barrett.
Private Harry John Barrett
204th and 3rd (Toronto) Battalions
Whist in the act of firing his Lewis Machine Gun during Military operations in the vicinity of UPTON WOOD, Private Barrett was shot by a bullet from the rifle of an enemy sniper and instantly killed.
(H. J. Barrett, Circumstances of Death, 30 Aug 1918)
Harry John Barrett was born in Peterborough, England on 31 March 1900. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1907 and worked as a labourer in Toronto. Despite being only one month over sixteen, Harry enlisted in the CEF on 26 April 1916. Claiming to be eighteen years old , he joined the 204th Beavers commanded by Parkdale MPP, Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Price. Harry’s older brother, George William Barrett, had signed up earlier in April with the 208th Irish Fusiliers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lennox, another Ontario MPP.