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:

3 thoughts on “First World War”

  1. 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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