“But should I die serving my country…”

John Archibald McCallum was old by the standards of the average Canadian soldier enlisting in 1916. The attestation papers remark that his hair was “Black sprinkled with grey” when he joined the 160th Battalion at Lion’s Head, Ontario. Regardless of this sign of age the doctor examining him declared his physical development as “excellent.” The…

“If it so happens that I am allowed to die for my country…”: The Unusual Will of Private R.H. Burgess D.C.M.

A will is a macabre document. It is a recognition by the object of the will, the living person (the testator) who is making the will out, that they will cease to exist. The will exists and enforces the conditions of the testator after they have died and invokes certain conditions at the distribution of…

A Mother Found

Private Robert Mitchell Armitage was a little out of his element when he was transferred to the 18th Battalion. Private Armitage enlisted in London, Ontario but was originally born in Montreal, Quebec and listed his “current address” upon attestation as Charlestown, Ohio. This Canadian man who joined initially the 1st Depot Battalion, Western Ontario Regiment…