On April 10, 1919 two news stories about the 18th Battalion were published on page three in the Border Cities Star. One story was about the past, told of a traitor in the 18th who “surrendered” to the Germans in July 1918 while the Battalion was stationed in the Telegraph Hill area in the Arras Sector. The other story told about the future plans welcoming the Battalion home when it arrived as a unit to London, Ontario.
General Currie advocated the return of Canadian soldiers repatriated after the war in their units to maintain esprit de corps, discipline, and to recognize the battalions as an entity. This would forgo the repatriation of individual soldiers and offset some of the controversy as to how soldiers would be sent home and in what order.
As one can derive from the news article below that there was a concerted effort to engage the veterans of the 18th Battalion and keep the local Windsor community informed to the organized efforts to arrange a welcome upon the repatriation of the 18th Battalion.
The accuracy of some of the officer’s names appears to be problematic and all the errors are in regards to the officers currently serving overseas with the Battalion and the article relates that of the original 1,100 men who made up the establishment of the Battalion in April 1915 only 20 men from the “ranks” (private soldiers and non-commissioned officers) are still with the Battalion.
The letter concludes with information that attempts to define and glorify the 18th Battalion when it specifically relates to the Battalion keeping its “identity” because is was currently commanded by Lt.-Col. L.E. Jones who was a member of the Battalion from its inception. Though, not confirmed at the time of this post, it is likely that other CEF battalions finished the war with officers from the founding ranks. Though rightly proud making the claim that the 18th Battalion had the most glorious record of all the other line battalions in the CEF is a wonderful example of hyperbole tinged by the language of post-war patriotism.
IS ARRANGING WELCOME FOR ORIGINAL 18TH
Col. Wigle and Vets of Unit to Meet Comrades at London
18th Battalion has Distinction of Being Only Battalion to Remain Intact
Col. E.S. Wigle, who commanded the famous 18th Battalion and took the unit to France n September 1915 is in communication with all the returned officers of the original battalion arranging that they go to London to assist in the Western Ontario welcome that will be accorded the men when the unit arrives in the city in the near future.
The original commissioned officers that were on Col. Wigle’s staff that already have returned home are Major A.C. Prince, Major W.J. Baxter, and Captains H.G. Emery, A.B. Laing, Arthur Carlisle and D. St. John Wigle, all of Windsor.
The only original officers[i] of the 18th still with the unit are Lieut.-Col. L.E. Jones D.S.O., of Sarnia, in command, and Majors P.C. Laing [C.P. Laing], Windsor; Joseph Bell [probably James Stark Bell, M.C.], Toronto; D.N. McIntyre of Galt[ii], and J.E. Elliott [Robert Gordon Elliot] of Galt.
The 18th had the distinction of being the only battalion of the C.E.F. that kept its identity in France, that is still commanded by an original commissioned officer.
Of the 1,100 men that went overseas with the unit about 20 of the originals still remain with the ranks.
The battalion suffered as severe fighting as an unit that went out of Canada, and no battalion has a more glorious record than our good old 18th.
[i] Reference the image of the 18th Battalion Nominal Roll, April 1915.