A meeting was called at Casa Loma by Sir Henry Pellatt on 1 October 1916, to consider the formation of an organization devoted primarily to the sending of food and clothing to Queen’s Own men who had been taken prisoners-of-war. The name, Q.O.R. Ex-Members’ Association, was adopted. Sir Henry became the chairman; the secretary-treasurer was Colour-Sergeant WaIter J. Barr; and, at first, Miss Constance Boulton ‘acted as secretary; later Captain H. M. George took over the duties. A strong executive was formed, and during the war years the Association flourished. Hundreds of parcels were sent to Germany through the Red Cross and much other useful work accomplished.
When the war ended the Association became dormant. Then on 8 March 1922, under the chairmanship of Major-General W. D. Otter, a group convened to discuss what steps could be taken to revive the organization now that the spur of war was gone. It was decided that the name be changed to The QOR of C Association; that all ranks, serving and non-serving, be eligible for membership; and that the motto be, “Once in The Queen’s Own, always in The Queen’s Own”. The Association would decide, from year to year, what regimental project it would support. It also affirmed, as a basic unifying principle, that there is no bond between men so strong as their consciousness of a common sacrifice on behalf of their country.
The preliminary work done, on 3 February 1923, the revived organization was launched under the presidency of Colonel Arthur Kirkpatrick. From the first, the custom of an annual re-union dinner was established. At the inaugural dinner, 29 March 1923, held at the King Edward Hotel, over 1,000 were present. Veterans of every battle from Ridgeway on sat down to re-create the glories of the past. At all these dinners, the serving members of the regiment attended in a body; the buglers sounded the calls and the military band provided appropriate music. As well, a Year Book, outlining the activities of the regiment for the past year, was distributed. Every aspect of the dinner was always carefully planned and properly carried out. Naturally, the event became one to which all looked forward eagerly.
From 1948 to 1958 the dinners were held in the University Avenue Armouries on the Saturday closest to D Day, 6 June. In 1959 the dinner was held in an hotel, and in conformity with the practice of the two regular battalions, on the Saturday closest to 26 April, the birthday of the regiment.
During March, 1923, a Memorial Building Fund was established with an initial subscription of $500.00 from Janles Pearson, barrister, a former officer of the regiment. Later It was decided that, instead of a building, a monument be erected in Queen’s Park. Finally, with the consent of the Rector and Wardens of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the decision was made that the, Memorial be established at St. Paul’s. A special body, The Queen’s Own Rifles Memorial Association, was incorporated early in 1928 to handle the financing. Brigadier-General J. G. Langton VD, was elected President. To assist him he had a galaxy of prominent men as vice-presidents and directors. Dr. H. A. Abbott acted as secretary; Mr. E. W. McNeill as treasurer; Mr. R. S. Cassels as solicitor; and Mr. Henry Barber as auditor. Finally, after years of sustained effort, on 18 October 1931, came the culmination of the Association’s high endeavour; for on that day the Cross of Sacrifice was dedicated. It was a great pity that Colour-Sergeant Walter Barr was not alive to witness the ceremony. Unfortunately, he died early in 1930. No man had laboured more for the memorial and the regiment than he. As a Colour Sergeant he had organized the first Sergeant’s Mess; and to the end, even as President of the Goldsmith Company of Canada, he was proud of his title and always insisted on its use.
At the Dedication Service, in the presence of the regiment, the Association, the Upper Canada College Cadet Battalion, and a great gathering of next-of-kin and others, the Cross of Sacrifice was dedicated by the Reverend Canon Cody, C.M.G., D.D., LL.D., Rector of St Paul’s and a former chaplain of the regiment, assisted by the chaplain, the Reverend Canon H. F, D, Woodcock VD. The unveiling was performed by the Right Honourable Sir William Mulock KCMG.
The Cross of Sacrifice is made of granite. On its octagonal base are reproductions of the regimental and battalion badges, The battle honours for World War I and World War II are carved on the plinth and sub-base. The Shrine was dedicated on 13 March 1932. It stands on a granite platform inside the Church. On this platform stands a richly carved alabaster table. The table bears a bronze casket, displaying heraldic devices. The casket, glass topped, contains the Book of Remembrance. In this book are inscribed the names of all QOR men who gave their lives whilst on active service. The list begins with the Fenian Raid, 1866, and ends with Korea, 1955. Let us hope that mankind has progressed to the point that it will not be necessary to inscribe further names in the Book of Remembrance.
As soon as possible after the official announcement of battle honours awarded for World War II the Association had the honours carved on the Cross of Sacrifice. The unveiling was held on Sunday, 9 November 1958, with the Bishop of Toronto, H/Major the Right Reverend F. H. Wilkinson MM ED, former chaplain of the regiment officiating, assisted by the present chaplain, Captain R. J. Newsham C.C.S. The actual unveiling was performed by Major-General H. A. Sparling CBE DSO CD, General Officer Commanding Central Command on invitation from Brigadier J. G. Spragge DSO. OBE, ED. Present on parade were the 3rd Battalion QOR of C, The QOR of C Association, the Upper Canada College Cadet Battalion and The QOR Branch, Canadian Legion. A proper rifle atmosphere was given by four standing sentries with arms reversed, two sentries on the approach, and two marching sentries in front with arms at the support. All were dressed in battle order with steel helmets. The Remembrance Day service was held after in the church proper. The officiating clergy were the Rector, Archdeacon C. Swanson D.D., a one-time member of K Company, the Reverend C. W. Sowby, Principal of Upper Canada College, H/Major C. J. Stuart MC CCS, Captain R. J. Newsham BA CCS, and the Reverend K. W. Scott L.Th. The huge edifice was filled to capacity and, for the first time, the regiment heard the remodeled organ, one of Canada’s finest, played under the masterly hands of Charles Peaker, Mus.D., F.R.C.O.
It is very apparent that the Association is of inestimable value to the regiment; and, of course, the Association derives its membership from the serving and ex serving members of the regiment. One example of this close familial link must be mentioned. At the funeral of Sir William Otter the last guard of the lying-in-state was marched off by the president, Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Hedges VD, and dismissed by the honorary vice-president, Major-General W. E. Hodgins CMG. It was the Association’s final tribute to its first honorary president; a tribute that the general would have fully appreciated. Since its inception, thousands of men have given of their time and money to further the aims of the Association. It would be impossible to list the names: but it is possible to indicate the accomplishments. Some tangibles have been mentioned; the intangibles-pride of regiment, loyalty and esprit-de-corps are implicit. Long may the Association flourish!
SUCCESSION ROLE OF PRESIDENTS
The Queen’s Own Rifles Ex-Members’ Association
1916-1922 Major-General Sir Henry Pellatt CVO VD
The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Association
1923 Colonel A. J. E. Kirkpatrick VD
1924 Colonel A. J. E. Kirkpatrick VD
1925 Colonel A. J. E. Kirkpatrick VD
1926 Brigidier General J. G. Langton VD
1927 Brigadier General J. G. Langton VD
1928 Major T. A. E. World VD
1929 Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Hedges VD
1930 Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Hedges VD
1931 Lieutenant-Colonel W. D. Greer DSO VD
1932 Will G. Reilly Esq.
1933 E. W. McNeill Esq.
1934 Lieuteant-Colonel W. G. Mitchell VD
1935 Lieuteant-Colonel B. Johnston OBE VD
1936 Major J. T. Dempster VD
1937 Colonel Reginald Pellatt VD
1938 Lt.-Col. P. N. Alexander MC VD
1939 Col. J. W. Langmuir MBE VD
1940 Col. J. W. Langmuir MBE VD
1941 Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Corrigan DSO VD
1942 Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Corrigan DSO VD
1943 Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Corrigan DSO VD
1944 Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Corrigan DSO VD
1945 Colonel A. E. Kirkpatrick VD
1946 Lieutenant-Colonel B. Johnston OBE VD
1947 W. P. Playter Esq.
1948 Lieutenant-Colonel R. H. Sankey
1949 Colonel J. W. McClain OBE ED
1950 Colonel H. C. MacKendrick OBE ED
1951 P. C. OsIer Esq.
1952 Lieutenant-Colonel C. O. Dalton DSO CD
1953 Lieuteant-Colonel W. T. Barnard ED CD
1954 Major I. R. F. Wilson
1955 C.Q.M.S. J. Little
1956 Major H. R. Downie ED
1957 Captain J. F. Lake
1958 Major E. A. Dunlop OBE GM
1959 Major N. A. Manchester CD
1960 Major R. D. Kenly CD