Kirkpatrick, Arthur James Ernest

Colonel Arthur James Ernest Kirkpatrick VD was born c. May 1876, the son of George Brownly Kirkpatrick and attended Upper Canada College from 1885-1890.

He joined “K” Company (Old University Company), Queen’s Own Rifles, as private, 1893; was promoted to Corporal, Sergeant, and finally Colour-Sergeant of “K” Company; was promoted Lieutenant in 1897, First Lieutenant 1900; was appointed Captain of “E” Company in 1904; gazetted as Brevet-Major 1914; gazetted Major in 1915.

In civilian life Kirkpatrick served in Toronto as the General Manager for Canada for The United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co., of Baltimore, Maryland.

At the outbreak of War in August, 1914, Kirkpatrick was appointed in command of No. 1 Company, 3rd Battalion, Toronto Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force and left with that battalion for Valcartier. At Valcartier he was appointed junior major of the 3rd Battalion.

After training at Valcartier and Salisbury Plains he left for France with his battalion and, shortly after their arrival, was appointed battalion second in command. In the Second Battle of Ypres he had command of “C” and “D” Companies, took up an advance position on the left of St. Julien and earned the title of “Hang-on Kirkpatrick,” owing to the fact that he held the position until entirely surrounded by the Germans, and was taken prisoner with what were left of his men (see War Diary Transcription for April 1915). After twenty-two months as a prisoner in Bischofswerda, Saxony (Germany), he was transferred in December 1916 to Mürren, Switzerland owing to bad health, and not making sufficient progress towards health, was repatriated to England in October 1917. Kirkpatrick returned to Canada in January 1918.

His nephew Lieutenant Alex D. Kirkpatrick also of “C” Coy, 3rd Battalion, having survived St. Julien, was killed at Langemarck on April 23, 1915.

Upper Canada College First World War Prisoners of War
Major Kirkpatrick interview with reporters on return to Toronto.
Major Kirkpatrick interview with reporters on return to Toronto.

Colonel Kirkpatrick went on to become Commandant of the Queen’s Own Rifles from April 9, 1922 to April 8, 1925.

He also served as President of the Royal Canadian Military Institute 1928/29 and President of the Empire Club of Toronto in 1926.

Colonel Arthur J.E. Kirkpatrick, VD, ADC – Thirteenth Commanding Officer, 1922-1925 and Honorary Lieutenant Colonel from 1936-1946. The original oil painting by Lieutenant (Robert) Allan Barr, hangs in the Queen’s Own Rifles Officers’ Mess. Photograph by Christopher Lawson, June 17, 2010.

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