First World War

Your King and country need you, enlist now [United Kingdom], [between 1914 and 1918] Archives of Ontario poster collection Reference Code: C 233-2-8-0-148 Archives of Ontario, I0016896
Your King and country need you, enlist now [United Kingdom], [between 1914 and 1918] Archives of Ontario poster collection Reference Code: C 233-2-8-0-148 Archives of Ontario, I0016896
With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Canada responded by sending the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). The Queen’s Own provided the vast majority of men to the 3rd Battalion. While it was thought The Queen’s Own would be allowed to retain its regimental identity, Ottawa refused to allow the battalion to wear its cap badge. Instead, small groups from the 10th Grenadiers (Toronto) and the Governor General’s Bodyguard (Toronto) were posted into the already over strength battalion, making the 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) CEF a composite unit.

One of the most extraordinary decisions taken by Colonel, The Honourable, Sam Hughes Minister of Militia and Defence at the outbreak of the First World War was that the Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (with two exceptions) would lose their proud titles and revert to a quasi-anonymous numbered method of identification. This would cause endless problems after the war with Battle Honours and perpetuation.

The QOR also recruited the 83rd, 95th, 166th, 198th and 255th Battalions. All were QOR battalions and perpetuated by the QOR. The 19th, 35th, 58th, 74th, 81st and 216th Battalions, though not perpetuated by the Regiment, also consisted largely of QOR personnel.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this page indicated that the 123rd Battalion also consisted of largely QOR personnel. While there were indeed QOR members in this unit, it primarily consisted of men from the 10th Regiment (Royal Grenadiers.)]

By the 11 November 1918 armistice, 7,562 Queen’s Own Rifles had served overseas. Of these 1,254 were killed in action, died of wounds or of other causes – approximately one in six. Thousands more were wounded.

Victoria Crosses

Six soldiers who had served with or been attached to The Queen’s Own were awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry:

Find More

You can find more information including links to the 3rd Battalion War Diaries on our WWI Resources page.

6 thoughts on “First World War”

  1. Looking for a cecil edgar died of his war wounds 1918 ish born bury st edmunds any help on his final days or resting place


    1. Sorry but I don’t have much on Cecil Edgar. He did not serve with the 3rd Battalion, which is my area of expertise. He attested with the 244th Battalion (Service No. 1054367) and served in France with the 24th Battalion. The information I have suggests that he was born June 28, 1897 to Alice Edgar, who was unwed. He immigrated to Quebec Canada in June 1911, when he was 13 years old, along with several other British born children. He joined the Canadian military in January 1916, was wounded August 28, 1918, and was discharged in January 1919. He apparently died in Quebec in 1921, but I don’t have any specifics.


  2. Your statement that the 123rd Battalion “…consisted largely of QOR personnel.” is not supported by historical facts. The 123rd Battalion, Royal Grenadiers was, in fact, mostly made up of men form the 10th Royal Grenadiers. In the interests of presenting history accurately, you correct your the inaccuracy in your blog. It is important for future generations of Canadians to have fact-based history.


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