Walwyn, William Edwin McLean

Major William McLean Walwyn, MC, MD, MRCP

William Edwin Mclean Walwyn, MC, MD, MRCP was born in Stratford, Ontario on 16 April 1894, son of Reverend Isaac Barker Walwyn and Francis McLean. He attended Riverdale High School.

  • 18 May 1916 Attested  in Toronto with 198th Battalion CEF
  • 8 March 1918 – Transferred to 3rd Reserve Battalion
  • 23 March 1918 – Transferred to 102nd Battalion and reverts to Captain to proceed overseas
  • 1 January 1919 – Awarded Military Cross (no citation)
  • 21 March 1919 – Appointed Acting Major
  • 3 April 1919 – Appointed Educational Officer 11th Infantry Brigade
  • 23 June 1919 – Struck off strength to CEF in Canada.
  • 13 June 1919 Demobilized

Walwyn graduated from University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Trinity College, in 1921 and began to practice.

He died at the age of 30 in the Homewood Sanitarium, Guelph, Ontario on 4 January 1925 of “suicide by strangulation” per the death register and was buried in Park Lawn Cemetery, Toronto.

The Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929, list Walwyn’s death as encephalitis lethargica. Between 1915 and 1926, a world-wide encephalitis lethargica pandemic occurred, impacting nearly 5 million people and killing an estimated 1.6 million people and this may well have been why he was in a sanitarium at the time of his death.

Obituary in “The Buffs Bulletin, Vol 1, No.2” March 1925 by a former comrade:

“William Mclean Walwyn – gentlemen, scholar, soldier, has passed from the life of man on earth to the fuller life in the great beyond.

It would be contrary to his wishes, I’m sure, for anyone to laud his virtues, his manliness, his willingness, his sincerity and a zealous endeavour to promote every work which is hands found to do.

I knew him as a soldier. He came to the Canadian Buffs in 1916, when that unit was in its formative stage. As commanding officer of “A” Company, he built up as efficient an organization as was ever established in any Canadian unit. His fair mindedness, his love of fair play endeared him to the officers and men who served in his immediate command, as well as to all his comrades in arms. As an instructor in things military he possessed the power of passing on to others knowledge he had gained by earnest and industrious study. In “the field” where he served, I’m told, with distinction and ability, qualities which made him an outstanding officer in the long days of training clearly marked his actions under fire and his bravery and devotion to duty were rewarded by the well merited award to him of the Military Cross.

On the conclusion of hostilities he returned to resume his interrupted studies in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, where he graduated with high honours. During his academic life at Varsity, he was on several occasions elected to important positions in the gift of the student body. The pursuit of further learning took him to Scotland, and to Belgium where he suffered his first illness necessitating his return to Canada.

No one who knew him well but say that William Mclean Walwayn has written “one radiant, ringing line” in everything he undertook in his short life here. No one who knew him but will mourn his removal

The funeral which was held on January 7th [1925], was under the auspices of the battalion. Large turn out of all ranks was a sad but pleasing evidence of the affection and regard in which this popular officer was held throughout the unit. The firing party was supplied by the Royal Canadian Regiment, while the Royal Canadian Artillery furnished the gun carriage. The Bugle Band of the Canadian Buffs, in charge of Sergeant Gordon Gray, blue the Last Post over the grave of our departed comrade.

Headquarters was represented by the Lieutenant Colonel Prince of Weston, and the Royal Grenadiers by its Adjutant, Major Albert Gooderham. The pallbearers were Colonel John A. Cooper, Majors Watts, Henderson and Tidy, and Captains McEachern and Henderson.

All ranks of the Battalion assure the parents and family of the late Major Walwyn that they have their deepest sympathy in their sad bereavement and that the members of the Battalion mourn with the family the loss of a distinguished son and brother and their comrade in arms.”


"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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