Lt. Col. W.O. Smyth

Lieutenant Colonel W.O. Smyth
209th (Swift Current) Battalion

His Honor Judge Smyth, is, and apparently has been for some time, absent from his judicial duties without leave, and it would appear from the correspondence before me that he is acting as Commanding Officer of the 209th Overseas Battalion.

(Deputy Minister of Justice, 17 Nov 1916)

William Oswald Smyth was a district court judge based in Swift Current and major in the 27th Light Horse Regiment. He was born in Toronto on 4 October 1873 and practiced law in Montreal before moving west. Although “anxious to go to the war,” Smyth was initially denied the opportunity to enlist. Justice Minister Doherty explained, “it did not appear necessary that the judges should be permitted to abandon their judicial duties for the purpose of undertaking military service.” Undeterred, Judge Smyth took command of the 209th Battalion and went overseas anyway.

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