The Conscriptionist

Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Cooper
198th (Canadian Buffs) Battalion JACooper

We are cowards in front of a word, and that word is conscription. So far as I am concerned, I never was afraid of conscription. I am not afraid of conscription. All the men who are with me in my battalion are conscripts and they are proud of it. They are conscripts to their own consciences.

(Toronto Globe, 6 Mar 1916, 9)

John Alexander Cooper was a Toronto militia leader, press editor and original president of the Canadian Club when it was founded in 1897. He was born in Clinton, Ontario on 5 February  1868, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1892 and joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1896. A long-time advocate for militia and defence issues, Cooper was authorized to raise the 198th Battalion from Toronto.

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The Meteorologist

Lieutenant Colonel William D. Allan, D.S.O. †
3rd (Toronto Regiment) BattalionWDAllan

Since going into the trenches he was three times wounded, and mentioned in dispatches for many acts of signal bravery. The people of Canada still vividly recall the story of heroism when he went with another soldier into No Man’s Land under heavy fire to carry in a wounded comrade. The man was struck by a bullet and killed as they were carrying him to shelter. For this and other conspicuous acts of bravery he was awarded the D.S.O.

(Toronto Globe, 3 Oct 1916, 4)

William Donald Allan was a meteorologist and seventeen year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles. He was born in Toronto on 25 November 1879. Allan served as a company captain with the 3rd Battalion during the second battle of Ypres. After Robert Rennie was promoted to command the 4th Brigade, Allan took charge of the 3rd on 10 November 1915.

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The Queen’s Own

Major General Malcolm Mercer †
3rd Infantry DivisionMercer

It is now fully believed here that General Mercer is dead.

Nothing whatever has been heard of him since and it is now considered almost certain that his body lies in the shell torn area where the former front trenches were, but are now practically obliterated.

(Montreal Daily Mail, 6 June 1916, 1)

Malcolm Smith Mercer was the highest ranked Canadian officer killed in the First World War. He was born on 17 September 1859 in Etobicoke, Canada West. While a student at the University of Toronto, he joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1881. He became commanding officer of the Regiment in 1911 and was posted to the 1st Infantry Brigade when the First Contingent assembled at Valcartier in August 1914.

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The Clear Grit

Major General Robert Rennie, M.V.O.
3rd (Toronto Regiment) BattalionRennie

As a candidate, I seek election not on my personal record so much, but on that of those who were associated with me in the great war. I am now more a civilian than a soldier, but—and please let there be no frills about this—if war should threaten again, I am ready to offer my services.

I stand on a Liberal platform because I am a Liberal and always have been. I believe in the great principles of Liberalism…

(Rennie’s speech, Toronto Globe, 21 Nov 1921, 1)

Robert Rennie was a Toronto seed merchant and thirty-four year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles. He joined as a rifleman in 1880 and rose to become lieutenant colonel by 1914. Born on 15 December 1862 in Markham, Canada West, Rennie was an expert marksman, respected businessman and prominent sportsman, with a specialty in curling.

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