In their debt

About the picture: “Love the blog,” writes Pete in Toronto. “Thought I’d share a rare photograph from 1936, since it does feature a cute dog – no doubt the regiment’s mascot at the time. These are the officers of the Toronto Regiment. Several are First World War veterans, and the rest almost certainly served in the Second World War. Sadly the regiment was soon to be amalgamated with another Toronto unit due to lack of personnel and budget cuts. Lest we forget.”

From Garth: The soldier holding the regimental mascot (whose name has been lost to time) is Lieut. Andrew Duncanson.  We know this about the battalion… It sailed for England from Quebec City on the SS Tunisian on 25 September 1914, arriving in England on 16 October with a strength of 42 officers and 1,123 men.

The battalion became part of the 1st Canadian Division, fighting the foe at Ypres, Vimy Ridge and along the Western Front. In the attack on Vimy Ridge, the battalion was covered by very successful artillery barrages but still lost around 150 killed or wounded. Over 280 soldiers  were taken prisoner during the war – all but 21 during the 2nd Battle of Ypres during April and May 1915.

The battalion returned to Canada from England on the SS Olympic arriving in Halifax on 21 April 1919, then in Toronto by train and demobilizing in the afternoon of 23 April 1919. Only 40 of the original contingent from 1914 arrived back at the end of the war although others had been demobilized or taken prisoners of war.

The Canadian Militia was reorganized after the Great War and in 1936 the Regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Grenadiers to form the Royal Regiment of Toronto Grenadiers which subsequently became the known as The Royal Regiment of Canada, 11 February 1939. This is the photograph taken to mark that event, presumably portraying some of those forty who survived the battlefield horrors of earlier days. In three years’ time, more would come.

Lest we forget.


#1 mitzerboyakaQueencitykidd on 11.11.22 at 10:56 am

Dogs are Great
beer is good

Lest we Forget

#2 Doing my Part on 11.11.22 at 11:24 am

Lest we forget the brave efforts those young Canadians made for there country.
I appreciate them every day.

#3 baloney Sandwitch on 11.11.22 at 11:24 am

️ Lest we forget ❤️

#4 A.R on 11.11.22 at 11:29 am

Thanks for the reminder that money isn’t the most important thing in this life. Freedom is second to none. Today we remember the brave one’sand their sacrifice.

#5 IHCTD9 on 11.11.22 at 11:42 am

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

Cut from a different cloth back then, different values, willing to sacrifice it all for an ideal.

#6 State of the current woke Canadian "Army" is on 11.11.22 at 11:57 am

DELETED (Homophobic)

#7 Søren Angst on 11.11.22 at 12:05 pm

11 – 11 – 11 – 1918

Lest we forget.

61,000 dead
172,000 wounded
Population: 8 million then.

651,000 dead
953,886 wounded
Population: 36 million then.

Nov 4 is when Remembrance Day (La Festa dell Unità e delle Forze Armate) is celebrated in Italia – when the ceasefire that followed the Armistice of Villa Giusti in 1918 began.

In the final battle of VITTORIO VENETO between 24 October to 3 November 1918,

front line then a few km from where I am typing,

350,000 Austro-Hungarian Empire soldiers surrendered.

37,461 Italian casualties.
2,139 UK casualties.
778 French casualties.
528,000 Austro-Hungarian Empire casualties.

57 Allied divisions (52 Italian, 3 UK, 2 French) vs. 61 Austro-Hungarian Empire divisions.

That battle secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and contributed to the end of the First World War just one week later. *


* German chief-of-staff Erich Ludendorff, a prominent World War I figure, stressed the importance of the battle, claiming that its outcome prompted the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, “dragging Germany in its fall”.

My grandfather and great uncles fought in that battle & their stories told to me. To them and to the brave Cdn soldiers …

Eterno riposo. Operi latura vetustas heroum.

#8 SlantySemi on 11.11.22 at 12:19 pm

That photo appears to be taken at the entrance to the Fort York Armoury in Toronto.

Here is a recent photo of that same entrance.

I grew up in a country liberated by Canadian soldiers from Nazi occupation. As a result, I had a peaceful and prosperous childhood.

I’m forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.

#9 Søren Angst on 11.11.22 at 12:29 pm

11 – 11 – 11 – 1918

Lest we forget.

Many 🍁 Heroes in WWI. A few …

Americans not the only ones with a Sgt. York, Warrant Office Francis Pegahmagabow:

Colin Fraser Barron, Victoria Cross

Inspirational Lieutenant James Edward Tait

Sergeant Frederick Hobson, Victoria Cross

Cpt. Edward Donald Bellew, Victoria Cross


Superhuman feats of bravery & courage by Cdn WWI soldiers. May their stories live forever.

#10 Don't Believe The Hype on 11.11.22 at 12:34 pm

Was at a dealership just now for winter service on my vehicle. At 11AM, everyone in the waiting room as well as staff stood up to watch in silence, the TV coverage from Parliament Hill. Very touching.
Last we forget.

#11 Quintilian on 11.11.22 at 12:37 pm

My great grandfather lied about his age to enlist; he was only 15.

He fought at Vimy Ridge.

While we honour, respect, and value the sacrifices of the soldiers, we need to remember it was a war caused by hunger for power of greedy men.

The propaganda machine can create a lot of evil and needless suffering even today.

Lest we forget

#12 Brian on 11.11.22 at 12:41 pm

Lest We Forget
Both of my grandfathers fought in WW1. One fought for the allies and one fought for the Germans. They became good friends years later. Miss them both!

Not like our PM.
Remember when Justin Trudeau was late for the Remembrance Day ceremony last year? He laid the groundwork. It’s not surprising he’s decided to skip it entirely so he could travel to Cambodia of all places today. He has no respect and he is an embarrassment to our country.

#13 Søren Angst on 11.11.22 at 12:42 pm

I mucked up the

Colin Fraser Barron, Victoria Cross link … here it is, apologies

and for the accident, some more background on him

#14 TurnerNation on 11.11.22 at 12:43 pm

WW1: our rulers told us it was ‘The War to End All Wars’. And that the new Income tax was a temporary measure.
We should have learned it then, take what our rulers tell us and flip 180 degrees to make sense.

All those young men of prime breeding age, sent over the top to face well fortified machine gun positions.
This wasn’t a war it was a slaughter. This we must never forget.
And we went along with again in WW2.
The world re-made, always for some higher noble-sounding cause. Peace, Health. But it never comes does it.

#15 Joseph R on 11.11.22 at 12:47 pm

#6 State of the current woke Canadian “Army” is on 11.11.22 at 11:57 am
DELETED (Homophobic)

The cry of the incel, keyboard warrior.

#16 DC on 11.11.22 at 12:53 pm

One of your most important blogs. Lest we Forget!


#17 crowdedelevatorfartz on 11.11.22 at 1:02 pm

And over 100 years later…

The bombs and guns of a dictator are still firing in the fields of Europe.
We may never forget
We will never learn.

#18 S McBeath on 11.11.22 at 1:14 pm

My grandfather, Robert LR McBeath, was the most inspirational person in my life. He signed up in 1915 in Golden, BC with the 54th Kootenay Battalion. Immediately upon landing in England several months later, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, which had been decimated during the first years of the war. He was with the 1st Battalion at Vimy and numerous other campaigns. He served over two years in the trenches of France, rising in rank to Sergeant, without physical injury. His wounds were invisible. As kids, we learned of them when we visited — he often awoke screaming during the night. Rest in peace, Rab.
(Highly recommend the book ‘Vimy’ by Pierre Berton – should be required reading in high school).

#19 Is anybody listening? on 11.11.22 at 1:20 pm

This ought to help Vancouver real estate!

Vancouver man to open store selling cocaine, crack, heroin, meth, and more.

#20 earthboundmisfit on 11.11.22 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for sharing this Garth.
My family lost a great uncle at Vimy Ridge.
Royal Highlanders of Canada … 73rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Never known, but never forgotten.

#21 WTF on 11.11.22 at 1:49 pm

Went to the War Museum in New Orleans a few years ago, Canada and the Allies were well represented. Have also been to the one in Ottawa.

The Famous pic “Wait for me Daddy” Shot in New Westminister was my coworkers Father and his step brother. Apparently they marched that day and went home. Shipped out few weeks later. The Young man later became Mayor of Tofino.

One of the older fellows who worked for me, mentioned his Father was Oroville Fisher (War Artist) I asked him if he ever met anyone famous. Thought for a minute. No, but the phone rang one day while dad was home in palliative care. “Oroville there”? Growled the person on the other end. Gave it to Dad, he talked for a few min, hung up smiling. “Who Was that”? Winston Churchill….

#22 Brian on 11.11.22 at 1:51 pm

Re #18 S McBeath

I remember as a young lad my grandfathers would not answer any of my questions of the war. I think it was something that was just too traumatic for them to tell me as a young child.

#23 Faron on 11.11.22 at 2:14 pm

#19 Is anybody listening? on 11.11.22 at 1:20 pm

Garth’s blog post is a memorial dedicated to remembering those who served Canada and, thus, you.

Show some god damned respect and shelve the trolling garbage for at least 24 hours.

#24 Grumpy Panda on 11.11.22 at 2:37 pm

I never met my great uncle. Wounded in France he laid in the cold mud for three days before being found. Infection set in and he died a week later in a hospital. Today I am warm, dry and thankful.

#25 Editrix on 11.11.22 at 2:56 pm

And the Royal Regiment was decimated on August 19, 1942 on Blue Beach at Dieppe.

#26 AM in MN on 11.11.22 at 3:11 pm

Never forget their sacrifice.

Freedom isn’t free, never take it for granted.

#27 Fasa on 11.11.22 at 3:16 pm

Grateful for the ultimate sacrifice made by all, it will of course never be repaid but always remembered.

#28 Rick on 11.11.22 at 3:41 pm

Interesting coincidence. In 1908 my grandfather came to Canada on the SS Tunisian as an eight year old British Home Child. Two of his older brothers fought in WW I. One with the British, the other with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Thanks for the post Mr. Turner. Lest We Forget.

#29 Ponzius Pilatus on 11.11.22 at 4:07 pm

#22 Brian on 11.11.22 at 1:51 pm
Re #18 S McBeath

I remember as a young lad my grandfathers would not answer any of my questions of the war. I think it was something that was just too traumatic for them to tell me as a young child.
I can relate. my Mother lost 5 brothers and her Husband in WWII.
All were Austrians forced to enlist in The Wehrmacht.
Never said a word about it.
Learned about it from my aunt.
The Horror.

#30 Shirl Clarts on 11.11.22 at 4:10 pm

Took the kids to the ceremony this morning in Maple Ridge. The Flanders Fields poem was recited, a staple on Remembrance Day. The bag pipes in person really hit you, puts that lump in your throat.

In Flanders Fields
– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

#31 Sail Away on 11.11.22 at 4:56 pm

Ah, a fine Remembrance Day. I had a small role in this year’s proceedings. Luckily, the uniform still fits just fine 22 yrs after separating.

Our company in Korea had a cocky little curly-tailed mascot mutt named Claymore.

Now enjoying a relaxing day with the whole fam (both kids home!) and maybe a movie later.

#32 Jens on 11.11.22 at 5:01 pm

Make that the “RMS Olympic”. Yes, that one — the sister ship of the ill-fated “Titanic”. Her story during WWI is in itself a rather interesting one.

Thanks Garth for sharing this interesting piece of history.

#33 Canadarm2 on 11.11.22 at 5:37 pm

Just the sound of the two vintage jets flyby was enough to stir a visceral reaction; can only imagine what hundreds of those jets would sound like over a battlefield in full engagement.

Lest we forget and work towards the day when we not only have a memorial to the Unknown Soldier but also to the Last Soldier to die on the field of the final battle.

Peace to us all.

#34 Mad Vlad on 11.11.22 at 5:45 pm

I wonder what these brave guys would think at the state of Canada if they could see it today?

#35 Nora Lenderby on 11.11.22 at 5:50 pm

#34 Mad Vlad on 11.11.22 at 5:45 pm
“I wonder what these brave guys would think at the state of Canada if they could see it today?”

They’d think we were lucky. Get a grip, Mr. Vlad.

#36 Grasshopper on 11.11.22 at 5:50 pm

My compliments on the thoughtful post, Garth.

Lest we forget.

#37 Barry on 11.11.22 at 6:36 pm

Watched a new German language film last night based on the Romain Rolland novel “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Then read Wilfred Owen:
Then went to cenotaph memorial this morning in our community. Then listened to what is played every November 11th at the cenotaph in London. One of the most beautiful compositions ever – Dido’s Lament by Henry Purcell a.k.a. When I Am Laid In Earth.

#38 Johnny D on 11.11.22 at 6:47 pm

Lest We Forget

#39 Wrk.dover on 11.11.22 at 7:23 pm

Being school age in the GTA, fifteen>thirtyish years after WWII was pretty cushy, thanks to these fellows.

#40 Drill Baby Drill on 11.11.22 at 7:54 pm

Never ever Forget. My Grandfather’s 2 cousins were killed in 1918 in France they were both 18 and 19. My grandmother was a nurse in the first world war. She would tell me of stories whereby some soldiers came home in baskets. Never ever Forget.

#41 Russ on 11.11.22 at 8:07 pm

Good post Garth.

The missus and I attened the Cenotaph Ceremony this morning. The fly-over was a WWI bi-plane and WWII fighter in close formation during some sombre reflection.

It was also the first time we sang “God Save the King”.

Cheers, R

#42 DON on 11.11.22 at 8:25 pm

Hopefully we haven’t forgotten.

Lest we forget.

#43 Robert Ash on 11.11.22 at 9:04 pm

Lost two Grandfathers in WW1, let’s hope we go to a better place and I can finally meet them… Joseph Robert Ash, and Malcolm Harold Stewart. RIP. Lest we forget.
Different commitment and outlook on life. Regular guys, who had conviction and courage.

#44 Summertime on 11.11.22 at 9:41 pm

1st world war started as Europe’s war, Canada was part of the British Empire and the war actions were to protect the interest of the British Empire/now dissolved.

How exactly the participation in the war was protecting Canada that was not threatened at any point in time by anyone is beyond my understanding of history.

1st world war was not about fighting evil enemy either.

It was an unnecessary war.

How many of the people posting here served in the army?

Do you know what war is?

While appreciating the patriotic pathos my view is that Canadians were used as fighting force for the British and all these victims fallen were for the British Empire.

World war 2 was something very different.

So somebody please explain to me how the participation in world war 1 was something to be proud of, who were the Canadian solders fighting for, what were they protecting in order to justify it and be proud of their actions?

Enlighten me.

#45 Summertime on 11.11.22 at 10:02 pm

Watched ‘Nothing new on the Western front’ on Netflix.

World war 1 was politicians/kings/empires war.
For some countries it was an attempt to fix historical territorial/unjust losses caused by earlier wars.

The only lesson I would learn from it is not to trust politicians/kings/empires.

Somebody also please explain to me how Churchills’ folly at Gallipoli that caused that many casualties/including Canadians and that ultimately and utterly failed is something to be proud of.

How on earth following war lunatics and killing other people for little cause is a reason for celebration?

And how are the ‘enemy’s arguments different than ours?

My take is on this is: remember and honour the victims and ensure this is not repeated.

Fighting when attacked and protecting your country is one thing and fighting useless wars far away when not threatened is something very different.

As Ataturk/the enemy said about Galipoly:

Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnie
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours,
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.

#46 Doug t on 11.11.22 at 10:26 pm

For my Grandfather in WWI
My Dad in WWII
My uncles in WWII
My Father-in-law In Korea

Thank you

#47 Michael in-north-york on 11.11.22 at 10:35 pm

Lest we forget.

Soldiers who fought against the tyranny in the past.

Soldiers who are fighting against the tyranny right now.

Thank you.

#48 Inadequate on 11.12.22 at 12:17 am

Interesting to know that Royal Regiment has a reserve unit. I didn’t know that. I was with 7th Toronto Regiment in my younger days, an artillery unit. I underwent a winter warfare training with Royal Regiment in Petawawa in the middle of winter. There, I identified 3 thing that I hate the most in life: cold, hunger and sleep deprivation.

#49 Ronaldo on 11.12.22 at 12:40 am

A very nice story of a WWII Veteran who was honoured today in Saskatoon on his 100th birtday.

Reg Harrison was a bomber pilot and captain with RCAF squadron 431 (now the Snowbirds squadron) flying out of a base in England. My Uncle was the wireless operator gunner on Reg’s crew and received the George Medal for bravery for rescuing Reg from the wreckage of the plane after crashing on takeoff with a full load of bombs. This is his story:

#50 Watson Busniess Machines on 11.12.22 at 1:19 am

Let’s not forget the true nature of war.

War is profitable.

#51 Keith Tollar on 11.12.22 at 8:10 am

Thank you so much for sharing this story. Lest We Forget!

#52 Tony on 11.12.22 at 9:45 am

I’ve got a lot of pictures of my grandfather from World War I. My grandfather enlisted underage to join the first world war. My grandfather loved war to the day he died. He was a regimental sergeant major and fought in both world wars. Some of the pictures I posted on Canadian Chat on Dsl Reports this year and last year at this time. My uncle still has all his medals. My grandfather was one of the few Canadians who earned the Member of the Order of the British Empire medal.

#53 Tony on 11.12.22 at 9:54 am

Re: #34 Mad Vlad on 11.11.22 at 5:45 pm

My grandfather would rollover in his grave. My other grandfather never fought during either world war. My grandfather used to go to schools and other conventions with other war veterans to tell everyone about the war.

#54 Tony on 11.12.22 at 10:14 am

I found it online when my grandfather got the MBE medal. He was my grandfather on my mother’s side.
Under 08

10/06/44 McDONALD, John James Victor WO1 – RSM RCA MBE

My name and my brother next oldest to me got the same name as John and James.