Michell, William Charles

Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Michell
Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Michell

Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Michell, MC, VD was born in Claremont, Ontario on 1 February 1868, son of Charles Michell and Rebecca Pangman.

He graduated from University College with a BA in 1890 and became a teacher. Eventually Michell rose to Principle Riverdale Collegiate Institute and Superintendent of Toronto High Schools.

Service Record

  • November 16, 1898 – Enlisted as a rifleman in “H” Company, Queen’s Own Rifles
  • May 15, 1901 – Promoted Corporal
  • August 20th, 1901 – Appointed Provisional Lieutenant
  • January 12, 1903 – Promoted Lieutenant
  • April 10, 1906 – Promoted Captain
  • 1910 – Proceeded to England for Army Maneuvers
  • October 1, 1914 – Promoted Major
  • June 28, 1915 – Detailed for duty with Toronto Civic Guard
  • November 1915 – Seconded for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 95th Battalion, appointed second in command and proceeded overseas
  • May 1917 – Served in France with 18th Battalion as a Captain; Lens, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Neuville-Vitasse, Amiens
  • August 1917 – Wounded Hill 70
  • August 8, 1918 – Wounded Amiens and awarded Military Cross (see citation below)
  • 1919 – Awarded Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal
  • 1919 – Transferred to Reserve of Officers, CEF with rank of Major
  • March 1, 1920 – Transferred to Active List, Canadian Militia, appointed Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion, QOR and promoted Lieutenant Colonel
  • January 6, 1921 – Transferred to command 3rd (Reserve) Battalion QOR
  • February 28, 1927 – Transferred to Reserve of Officers, Canadian Militia with rank of Lieutenant Colonel

“MAJOR MICHELL WOUNDED
Hurt Was Slight and He Remained on Duty.

Major W.C. Michell, of 695 Broadview avenue, has cabled from France that he is slightly wounded in the arm, but not at all seriously. The family received the official wire this morning stating he was remaining on duty. Major Michell was born in Claremont, Ont. In 1869, and completed his education, taking several degrees at Toronto University. While there he was champion long distance runner and generally a good athlete. Later he taught at Whitby and Ridley Colleges, Jarvis Street Collegiate as classics master, and for five years was the principal of Riverdale Collegiate. Major Michell held that rank in the Queen’s Own long before war was declared and in May, 1915 was appointed as transport officer in England. This, however, did not please him, although the authorities found him the right man in the right place. Eventually Major Michell told the War Office that he would revert to the ranks, if he might go the front, and in May, 1917, was sent to the 18th Battalion.

Pte. B. Michell [This is in error. The soldier is, in fact, Gunner Albert Charles Michell, reg. no. 337802.] , son of Dr. Michell, Dublin, Ont., was a nephew of the major, and went away about the same time with the University Battery. Pte. Michell was killed in the spring of this year.”

Citation for then Captain Michell's Military Cross
Citation for then Captain Michell’s Military Cross

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While in Command of a Company in the attack. Previous to zero hour, he personally went over the ground in front and saw that the paths were cut through the wires. At one point in the advance his company headquarters were held up by a machine-gune nest on a flank which had been passed over in the fog. He personally led his headquarters, which cleaned up this post. He was severely wounded at this time. His courage and example inspired all ranks. “

[London Gazette No. 31119 – 11 January, 1919]

Michell died 9 March 1934 and left a trust fund to provide scholarships for students attending University College, University of Toronto which was still active in 2012.

He is buried in St John’s Norway Cemetery, Toronto:

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