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War in 1914, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

Outbreak of World War in 1914

The third and latest war in which Victoria County has taken part was the World War of 1914-18.

From the time of the accession to the German throne of William II in 1888, the leaders of the German people deliberately planned for a war through which Germany would subjugate and dominate the world. King Edward VII of England saw the coming storm and achieved the Triple Entente with France and Russia. The outbreak was to have come in 1908, the year of the first completion of the Kiel Canal, but Lord Fisher of the British Admiralty actually forced a postponement for six years by inaugurating the Dreadnought type of battleship and so rendering the Kiel Canal obsolete. A reconstructed canal was ready by 1914. During the spring of that year Germany quietly sold out most of her foreign investments and began to call in her reservists. On June 28th the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated. Germany and Austria spent a whole month more in secret preparation, unsuspected by a tranquil world, and then deliberately precipitated a hideous struggle which was to involve 64 millions of soldiers, and to cost $310,000,000,000 and 11,422,738 lives.

Victoria County Enlistments

Canada, as part of the British Empire, became involved August 4, 1914. A First Contingent of 33,000 men was mobilized at Valcartier, near Quebec, and sailed for England on the 3rd of October. This prompt achievement was chiefly due to the personal energy of the Minister of Militia, Sir Sam Hughes, of Lindsay.

With the First Contingent went a detachment of 75 men from Victoria County under Lieut. Col. F. H. Hopkins, Lieut. Walter Kirkconnell, Lieut. W. W. Wilson, and Lieut. George Weeks.

The Second and subsequent Canadian Contingents did not cross to England intact. The volunteer system was practiced until June, 1917, and yielded 450,000 enlistments. The government then enforced conscription and secured 100,000 more recruits.

The chief contributions of Victoria County after the First Contingent had left were to the 21st, 39th, 109th, and 252nd Battalions. "F" Company of the 21st Battalion, (Second Contingent) contained 110 local men. The 39th Battalion had a somewhat smaller number. The 109th Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col, J. J. H. Fee, was actually mobilized in Lindsay and reached a strength of 1050 in the spring of 1916. The 252nd Battalion, under Lt. Col. J. J. Glass, was not so successful, for it was organized in the lean days when voluntary enlistment was petering out. Many other Victoria County boys enlisted in units elsewhere so that the rolls of the local units would not be at all representative. An authoritative list of all who enlisted from this county could easily be compiled but would violate the proportions of a brief history of this sort.

Victoria County Soldier Dead

It has been thought wise, however, to include the following list of 205 heroes from this county who gave their lives for the cause of righteousness. The basis of this record is a list which I have prepared from the official files of the Patriotic Fund, which includes all cases where the soldier had designated Victoria County as the home of his next-of-kin. To this definite nucleus I have added many names, gleaned from miscellaneous sources, of those who once claimed this county as their home but had been transplanted elsewhere prior to enlistment. The complete list is as follows:

View List of Victoria County War Dead

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