"As a preliminary you might say that the Midlands has about the oldest traditions of any unit in Canada, as five
companies from the area served with the York Rangers in 1812-13-14 and were known as the Midland Companies. The unit also served as a Regiment in 1885 and has that battle
honour, along with all the battle honours of the 2nd Battalion, C.E.F., in the first Great War." —Lt. Col. J.C. Gamey, Officer Commanding, Midland Regiment
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This article is based on materials provided by Pat Leuty, daughter of the last Midlands' Officer Commanding, Lt-Col John Gordon Leuty Other material of
various kinds is from the collection of the late Norman Burr Gould Group photos were contributed by Norma (Smith) Wallace, Dorothy (Harwood) Hosking and Heather (Harwood)
The Midland Regiment originated Oct 5, 1866 in Cobourg, Ontario, as the 40th Northumberland Battalion of Infantry Redesignated May 8, 1900
as the 40th Northumberland Regiment Redesignated March 12, 1920 as The Northumberland (Ontario) Regiment Redesignated May 15, 1924 as The Northumberland Regiment
Amalgamated Dec 15, 1936 with The Durham Regiment and redesignated as The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham) Redesignated Nov 7, 1940 as the 2nd (Reserve)
Battalion, The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham) Redesignated June 1, 1945 as The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham) Redesignated April 1,
1946 as The Midland Regiment Amalgamated Sept 1, 1954 with the 9th Anti-Tank Regiment (Self Propelled), RCA; 34th Anti-Tank Battery (Self Propelled), RCA; and The
Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
Lt. Col. John Leuty presents the Colours to Peoples' Warden Arthur Finnie, Sunday Nov 21, 1954 Picture from Pat Leuty and Norm Gould cursor over a face
from The Evening Guide Monday November 22, 1954 MOVING CEREMONY AS ST. MARK'S CHURCH BECOMES REPOSITORY OF MEMORIAL REGIMENT
PASSES INTO ANNALS OF HISTORY by Jo Carson "...for safekeeping, as a token of their gratitude to almighty God." These solemn words bore the sorrow
and the pride of a noble regiment. The service for the depositing of the colours of the Midland Regiment closed as a memorial to the men of all ranks who had served under
the colours and passed into history.
Port Hope citizens assembled at St. Mark's Church yesterday, the 21st of November, 1954, as a tribute to the bravery and memory
of their regiment. They awaited the occasion with remembrance of days when their men set forth to far shores and they remembered with regret that their famed name should pass
into the annals of history.
In impressive dignity the battalion arrived at the doors of the Church. The Colours, escorted by one platoon in front, halted outside
the main door while the Adjutant advanced and knocked three times on the door with his sword-hilt. His words asked for admission under the command of Lt. Col. Leuty, C.O.
of the Midland Regiment. [Adjutant Norman Gould writes that he said, "As adjutant of the regiment I have knocked on the door with my sword and have received permission
that we may enter. I am announcing this to officers and men on parade."] Granted the request by the
officiating clergyman the Rev. C.H. Boulden, the battalion was led into the church. Heading the procession to the chancel were the choir, clergyman and selected laymen
to the stirring words of "Onward, Christian Soldiers."
The congregation remained standing. The Colour Party came to attention at the chancel steps. Lt. Col.
Leuty's words could be plainly heard as he said: "Sir, on behalf of the officers and men of the Midland Regiment, I have the honour to inform you that these are the
Colours of their battalion, and to request that they be deposited here for safekeeping, as a token of their gratitude to Almighty God by Whom alone victory is secured,
for His providential care and gracious benediction granted them in the discharge of duty. In so acting they also desire to provide a memorial to the men of all ranks who
served under these Colours, and to afford an inspiration for patriotic service and sacrifice to all who may worship here for all time to come."
The order of
service proceeded with the Rev. C. H. Boulden, accepting the Colours into the safekeeping of the Church. Lt. Col. Leuty took part in the service, in reading the lesson,
and the sermon was given by the Captain, the Rev. Canon A. S. McConnell, M.B.E.
Major H. Long then took command of the regiment and the Midlands took their
last march past the Cenotaph. Lt. Col. Leuty took the salute and was flanked by former commanding officers of the regiment. Attending at the Cenotaph were Lt.
Col. A.V. Thorn, Lt. Col. J.C. Gamey, E.D., Lt. Col. J.A.V. Fraser, Lt. Col. L.N. Carr, Lt. Col. A.H. Bounsall, Lt. Col. R.E. Bricker and Lt. Col. J.G. Leuty,
Leaving the church after the service Picture from Pat Leuty and Norm Gould
click the image to enlarge and see the names
from the Cobourg Sentinal Star Thursday Nov 25, 1954 Tears were in the eyes of women, and stern soldiers were pale faced and grim Sunday at St.
Mark's Church, Port Hope, as the final act in the life of the Midland Regiment was performed. The Regiment, that first saw service in 1812,
was rendered hors d' combat not on the field but by decision of the Government which this year instituted sweeping changes in the reserve army set-up, and in doing so
disbanded the Midland.
Many district men from Cobourg and Port Hope joined the 'Mad Midlands' during the second world war and saw service with the unit in Canada
before going overseas as reinforcements for other regiments. Two of the local men who signed up with the Midlands were taken at Hong Kong when that city fell to Japanese.
One of them, Bud Bevan, returned home after liberation, the other, George, better known as 'Shorty' Medhurst died in a Japanese prison. The two had gone as reinforcements
to the Winnipeg Rifles. There were other names, brave names, on the Midland roll as well.
The regiment as it was constituted today took the news with sorrow but
obeyed as the soldier always does, and, here [referring to the picture above this caption] the colour party, followed by the armed guard, prepares to march into St
Mark's as the drums beat in sadness. The colours were deposited at the front of the church in an impressive ceremony for "safekeeping, and as a token of gratitude to
After the service the regiment passed the cenotaph where Lt. Col. J.G. Leuty, E.D. took the salute, and the Midlands were no more.
Picture from Pat Leuty and Norm Gould
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville Thursday November 25, 1954 MANY VETS' EYES MOIST AS 'FINISH' WRITTEN TO UNIT'S HISTORIC RECORD Tears filled many
eyes on Sunday as the proud old Midland Regiment was laid to rest in Port Hope. It wasn't an official funeral service, but it might as well have been because everyone realized that
once the colours had been deposited for safe-keeping in St. Mark's Church, there wasn't too much hope of seeing them again carried proudly at the head of a Midland Regiment parade,
as they had been many times.
The ceremony was carried out with pride and dignity. Bands and militia personnel from both the Hastings and Prince Edward Regt. and the
Midlands marched in parade from the Armoury to the Church, plus nearly 100 civilians who had served with the unit during the second world war. They came from many parts ot the
province while others deliberately stayed away, not wishing to take part in the sad ritual.
Lt. Col. J.G. Leuty, E.D., Commanding Officer, who will retire along with
his unit, led the parade, and at the chancel steps spoke these words "Sir, on behalf of the officers and men of the Midland Regiment, I have the honour to inform you that these are
the Colours of their battalion and to request that they be deposited here for safekeeping, as a token of their gratitude to Almighty God by Whom alone victory is secured, for His
providential care and gracious benediction granted them in discharge of duty. In so acting they also desire to provide a memorial to the men of all ranks who served under these
colours, and to afford an inspiration for patriotic service and sacrifice to all who may worship here for a!l time to come." Rev. C.H. Boulden accepted the colours and
deposited them on the altar.
Special speaker Captain the Rev. Canon A.S. McConnell, M.B.E., and chaplain of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regt. paid tribute to the
over 5,000 officers and men who had been a part of the Midland Regiment during World War II and had done their job well. He also reviewed in brief the lengthy Midland Regt. history
which goes back to 1812, with its first battle honours being awarded following the Northwest Rebellion in 1885. Following the impressive service, the Midlands took their last
march past the cenotaph, where Lt. Col. Leuty, flanked by former commanding officers of the Midland Regt., took the final salute.
Former Commanding Officers of the Midland Regiment Nov 21, 1954 cursor over a face
Reviewing the parade to the
cenotaph Nov 21, 1954 cursor over a face
The Midland Regimental March - 'The Standard of St George' - performed by The Royal Newfoundland Regiment Band. I have failed to find a copy of the Midland Band's recording
of this tune, made in Edmonton in 1943.
from The Canadian Statesman,
Bowmanville, Ontario Thursday June 2, 1932 OFFICERS OF THE 9TH BRIGADE TO HOLD FIVE DAYS' CAMP AT TRENTON Subject to Approval of District Staff Officers
Will Go Under Canvas on July 1st Meeting Decides Lt.-Col. P.H. Jobb, officer commanding Durham Regiment, announced at the annual meeting of officers held in Port Hope
armouries on Wednesday, that a camp for the officers of the 9th brigade would be held in Trenton this year for five days, commencing July 1, according to present plans. The camp
as above stated is not positively decided and is subject to the approval of the district staff.
Business pertaining to the affairs of the regiment were discussed at
length and it was decided to hold a regimental dance again next year.
Port Hope Badminton Club were thanked in a resolution for their donation of $50 to the regimental
band and also Millbrook Badminton Club for the donation of two easy chairs to the officers Mess of "C" Company.
Major G.C. Bonnycastle. Major W.J. Hoar. Major A.H.
Bounsall. Major E.S. Ferguson and Captain Floyd Dudley attended the meeting from Bowmanville.
from the Orono Weekly Times
Thursday May 13, 1937 NEW COMMANDANT MIDLAND REGIMENT Major E. Smith Ferguson, Bowmanville, Succeeds Lt-Col. A.V. Thorne Major E. Smith Ferguson, assistant Customs
officer of Bowmanville, and second in command of the Midland Regiment, has been appointed commanding officer of the unit, General Headquarters of Military District No. 3, has
announced. Major Ferguson's appointment will date back to April 1st, on which date Lt.-Col. A.V. Thorne, of Millbrook, retired.
Major Ferguson stated that he would only
occupy the office temporarily as his work and fraternal connections took most of his time. He is master of Jerusalem lodge, A.F. and A.M. The new commanding officer was born in
Simcoe and joined with the 136th Battalion from Cartwright Township in 1916, going overseas with that unit from Bowmanville. After serving in France he returned to England where
he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, later receiving his commission us Lieutenant. Returning to Canada at the conclusion of the war, Lt. Ferguson became identified with
the Durham Regiment (militia) and in 1922 became captain. In 1928 he was promoted to major, and it is expected that his appointment as 0.C. Midland Regiment will bring him the rank
Major Ferguson expects a successor to be appointed some time during the summer and this will likely fall to the lot of a Bowmanville man, Major A.H.
Bounsall, senior officer of the unit. Recently the Durham Regiment was amalgamated with the Northumberland Regiment and the name changed to the Midland Regiment with headquarters
from The Statesman, Bowmanville March 6, 1941 HISTORY OF MIDLAND REGIMENT REVIEWED BY OTTAWA JOURNAL The following news item, clipped from the Ottawa
Journal, will be of interest to Statesman readers since it deals with the Midland Regiment, a company of which was recruited in Bowmanville. by W.Q. Ketchum In
commenting on the smart appearance of the 1st Battalion, Midland Regiment, Active Force, few people realise that only on its arrival in Ottawa was the unit brought together. Each
company had been training separately in the area in which it had been recruited. The Midland Regiment was one of the first Canadian units called upon for guard duty just prior
to the outbreak of war. It was mobilized as a unit of the Canadian Active Service Force (now the Active Army), July 22, 1940, and was authorized to recruit to war establishment
under Colonel A.H. Bounsall, E.D., acting Officer Commanding.
FIRST CRACK GUARD DETAIL From the commencement of hostilities guard details had been maintained at
the Trenton Airport and the Arsenal, Lindsay. 'D' Detachment Guard at Trenton, under Major F.L. Dudley, now second in command of the unit, earned the distinction of being "the
crack guard detail in Canada." Enrolment of Active Army volunteers began in August. Men from the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Victoria and Haliburton joined up in such
volume that recruiting was halted on August 12. Simultaneously a 2nd Battalion (Reserve Army) was recruited in the counties of Northumberland and Durham. Before coming to
Lansdowne Park the unit was distributed as follows: Headquarters Company, Lindsay; 'A' Company, Cobourg; 'B' Campbellford and Norwood; 'C' Port Hope; 'D' Bowmanville. Battalion
Headquarters of the unit was at Cobourg and in each of these areas personnel of the unit was billeted in homes. The regiment dates back to 1866. It acquitted itself with
marked distinction in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. In 1936 the regiment was reorganized to Durham Regiments. To-day it perpetuates the 39th, 138th and 139th Battalions,
C.E.F., with their long list of battle honours. Lieut. Colonel A.H. Bounsall, owing to war wounds, was unable to continue as O.C. He urged that Major J.C. Gamey be recalled
to succeed him. At the time the present Officer Commanding was overseas with the 1st Infantry Holding Unit.
COL. GAMEY POPULAR Officers, non-commissioned officers
and men were delighted when the man named by Col. Bounsall succeeded him with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Col. Gamey had been associated with the unit for 18 years. In the
First Great War he joined up in Peterborough and served overseas with the 54th Battalion. He won the Military Medal and incidentally his commission in France. In the last war he
was billeted for a time at old Market Square. This is the second time Lansdowne Park has been his military home.
Officers of the unit follow: Battalion Headquarters,
Lieut. Col. J.C. Gamey, M.M., commanding officer; Major F.L. Dudley, second in command; Capt. R.C. Burness, adjutant; Lieut. E.C. Anderson, assistant adjutant; Lieut. J.K. Haynes
(attached), paymaster; Lieut. C.G. Jones, intelligence officer; Capt. L.V. Shier (attached), medical officer Headquarters Company; Major R.S. Gamey, officer commanding; Lieuts. T.
Bouckley, G.O. Cowling, B.B. Dawson, C.F. Haultain, J.G. Leuty, J.A. Ross, G.L. Skipworth.
'A' Company, Major K. Hall, officer commanding; Captain G.A. Galbraith, second
in command; Lieuts. C.H. Fourt, C.P. Niles, C.O. Fowler, D.P. Melville. 'B' Company, Captain T.W. Quinn, officer commanding; Lieuts. G.T.B. Honeyman, J.F. Clemence, 2nd Lieut.
W.H. Black. 'C' Company, Major P.J. Bigelow, officer commanding; Captain A.A. Wallace, second in command; Lieuts. F.E. Southby, H.K. Long, L.N. Carr, G.H. Bedell, 2nd Lieut.
A.M. Wootton. 'D' Company, Major F.E. Lycett, officer commanding; Captain L.M. Curtis, second in command; Lieuts. W.H. Oattes, R.E. Dennis, J.M. James; 2nd Lieut. C. Spencer.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville July 31, 1941
MIDLAND RESERVES LEAVE FOR CAMP Nineteen N.C.O.'s and men and five officers of 'D' Coy., 2nd Midland Battalion, left Bowmanville via C.N.R. at 7 a.m. Sunday to join the other
companies of the unit and proceed to summer camp for three weeks' intensive training. Because of the early departure, only a few relatives and friends of the boys were present to
see them off. The unit was under command of Lt. Col. P. H. Jobb. Entrainment details were in charge of Lieuts. Leitch Scott, Wm. Brown, Wally Braden and Wm. G. James.
The Midlands will join 35 other units of the Canadian Reserve Army which now numbers some 170,000. Encampment this year is at Connaught Ranges, 9 miles west of Ottawa, where it is
expected training will centre upon rifle and machine gun work. According to plans now formulated, some of the junior officers are expected to proceed from Connaught to the
Officers Training School, Brockville, for qualifications.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville Thursday September 18,1941 MONTREAL TABLOID HANDS BOUQUET TO MAD MIDLANDS 'The Canteen,' a 20-page tabloid
published in Montreal which is 'devoted to the officers and men who are serving their country and empire' hands out a nice bouquet to the Midland Regiment stationed at Saint John,
N.B. In its issue of Sept. 2nd under the newsy chit-chat headed 'Around the Maritimes' it has these items:
We like Adjutant Jones of the Midland Regiment, a former
newspaperman who was in and around Singapore when war broke out. Although youthful-looking, he probably has had lots of experience. Best of luck to you, Sir.
nice people, too, of the Midland Regiment, from Ontario, Lt. Anderson, Col. Gamey and the whole regiment in general is a well behaved outfit. By the way the Midland Regiment is
composed of Irish, Scotch and English lads from the suburban parts of Ontario. This regiment has a fine bunch of athletes and a beautiful band, too.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville Thursday Oct 9, 1941 LOCAL OFFICERS
O.T.C. GRADUATES AT BROCKVILLE Lieuts. Brown and James Are Transferred to Armoured Corps. — Lieut. Braden to Join Highlanders.
After three months of strenuous
training at the Officers Training Centre at Brockville, 2nd Lieuts. Wm. Brown, Wallace Braden and Wm. James, all of Bowmanville, received their graduation diplomas at the
graduation exercises held two weeks ago. All three officers have since been posted on Active Service. Lieut. Braden will continue in the Infantry branch of the service
and take an advanced training course at Camp Borden where he will graduate with the rank of Lieutenant. On the completion of his qualification he will be attached to the Stormont,
Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders.
Lieuts. Brown and James having both graduated in Infantry were chosen from a number candidates to transfer to the Canadian Armoured
Corp. They have both returned to Brockville where they will take a special 2-months' course in Armoured Corp training. They will then go to Camp Borden for advanced training in
this branch of Active Service preparatory to going overseas. The three officers were formerly with 'D' Company, 2nd Battalion Midland Regiment. Other officers from the 2nd
Midlands who graduated in Infantry and have since been posted to the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders are 2nd Lieuts. John Dure, Brighton; Harold Kernaghan and Dan Dudley,
Colborne; Hugh McKellar and Cadet Fred Lloyd, Port Hope.
Leitch Scott, also from 'D' Company, has been posted to the 1st Battalion Midland Regiment now at Niagara.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville April 16, 1942 MIDLAND
OFFICERS HOME FROM ENGLAND Recently returned from England and enjoying short leave at home are the following members of the 1st Midland Battalion: Major Bigelow, Orono; Lieut.
Chas, Spencer, son of Major Canon C.R. Spencer, C.S.M.; A.E. Boustead, Bowmanville, and Sgt. G.N. Puffer, Norwood. They have since rejoined the Midlands in the west to direct
Under the government's search for ways and means of keeping abreast of the war tempo set by Hun and Jap, they adopted the plan of sending overseas a
few officers and men of each organized unit where they could absorb first hand information on modern mechanized warfare. These men of the Midlands have had 4 1/2 months of most
intensive training with various units in Britain.
There was nothing of the 'holiday' element in the trip, from the hazardous ocean crossing to the hard, gruelling
"Commando" training they received at the hands of hard-bitten instructors. They had but few leaves, lived on army rations that were enough but not what troops get in Canada. Their
trip was strictly business. It is evident that this scheme is working out well for it is being continued. As trained men come back, others are sent over for like experience. A
recent contingent from the Canadian Armoured Corps to go overseas includes Lieuts. Bill Brown and Bill James.
These returned chaps are hard and fit and not one could be
induced to talk of their experiences which is right in line with military requirements. They saw plenty and are impressed with the gravity of the task in a way we, at home, are
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville April 16, 1942 by Lieut. John M. James After less than a month away from Niagara district over 200 officers,
N.C.O.'s and men of the 1st Bn. Midland Regt. returned on Wednesday for 14 days' furlough. Another 200 will leave Edmonton, Alta., about May 1st when those on leave now will have
returned to the Western city.
Included in the list of those who returned are Lieut.-Col. J. C. Gamey. M.M., E.D., Orono, Commanding Officer of the unit, Major R.C.
Burness, O.C. of "B" Company from Campbellford, Major F.E. Lycett, Orono, O.C. of "D" Coy. which was mobilized in Bowmanville; Capt. G.A. Galbraith, Cobourg; Capt. E. Don Stuart,
Padre, of Brantford; Lieut. G. Cowling, Enniskillen; Lieut. L. Scott, Toronto; Lieut. T. Bouckley, Oshawa; Lieut. J.M. James, Bowmanville; L Sgt. A. (Slim) Phillips; Cpls. George
W. Graham, George E. Richards, Ron. E. Richards, Ed. J. Rundle, E.V. (Ted) Sheehan; Lance Cpls. Gord W. Kennedy, Jack H. Kilgannon, Art H. Living, Tom Rae and Ptes. D.A. Alldread,
Frank Anderson, Joe Bland, George Burns, Johnnie Graham, Harry Gusul, George Homewood, Bill Ireland, Stan Lade, John Living, Alec Lyle, Fred Mason, Charlie Mills, Jake McEachern,
Walter Park, Tom Phillips, George Purdy, Norm Richards, L.C. "Gike" Sheard, Norm Thompson, W.A. Tomlinson, Joe Tullock, Bill Wallis, H.K. Wright, Tom Sheehan, Dick Little, Pte.
Ormiston and Cassady. They will all be found at their homes or with friends. And they all looked mighty pleased to be back in Ontario although they cannot praise western hospitality
They were not too happy about the trip down because the seats were of the colonist type and after two and a half days they became quite hard. There was a good
deal of dirt seeping into the cars all the way across the prairies too which didn't help matters any, but withal they enjoyed the trip and are all set to get well rested during the
The boys are becoming increasingly appreciative of the courtesies and hospitality of the Edmonton people. Every Sunday several dozen are invited to homes
throughout the city and a couple of weeks ago 13 lads from "D" Company visited a farm house just outside the city limits where they downed roast chicken and gallons of delicious
fresh cow's milk, an item which is rather scarce on the army diet list. After supper the farmer went out to start the milking machine to replenish the supply only to find that the
machine was on the "blink". As he had some 30 cows to milk he was most unhappy until the boys rose from their seats and took over the cows, milking them in as good time as the
machine could have made. That farmer has high words of praise for the Midlands. Other reports which have been received state that all over the city the Midlands are carrying on the
high reputation they have acquired in other cities from coast to coast.
When the furlough lads arrived home they were greeted by several of the 100 who left the Midlands
last week to join another unit headed for action. Among those from here on the draft were Cpl. Jim Knox; Ptes. Charlie Mason, Bob Bird, and Jack Stacey.
The entire unit
is sad to see these fine lads leave to join another Battalion but know they will play their part well wherever they go. One man, Pte. Mort Kilgannon, drew his name to go with the
draft but was turned down as medically unfit due to ear trouble. He was granted his discharge and returned to Bowmanville Wednesday morning.
Incidentally, much to the
Active Service volunteers' disgust, 100 trainees (compulsory training troops) arrived last week to replace those who had gone on draft. Already a few have decided to go "Active" and
it is hoped that many more will follow soon. This is the first time that the Midlands have had other than 100 per cent active service troops of "A" or "B" medical categories and
they don't like it too well because they fear it lessens their chances of going overseas after over 20 months of service.
For the first time in over a year the unit is
doing intensive training instead of guard duty. Reveille is shortly after six in the morning and from then until nearly nightfall every man, except for necessary fatigues, is
working hard trying to learn the latest thing in weapon training, tactics and physical training. A school for N.O.C.'s and senior privates took up to the first two weeks of the time
in Edmonton while those who had been on courses crammed all the latest army "dope" down their throats so that they could return to their companies and really get down to business.
The D.O.C. of Military District No. 13, inspected the Battalion a short time after they arrived and after checking into everything from foot drill to the orderly room
routine gave the unit a good rating, but took into consideration the lack of training due to guard duty and gave the officers and men a month to really smarten up and be ready for
action. He mentioned something about marching 25 miles in a day, camping out at night and then marching back the next day. The unit held a 12 or 14 mile march the other day to start
getting into shape for the grind ahead.
Rumour has it that after a few months training the Midlands will head for the Pacific coast to assist in guarding against a
Japanese attack. Just when the move will come or exactly where it will land the Midlands, rumor doesn't state but we'll let you know when it has taken place. We're hoping it isn't
Prince Rupert or one of those spots along the coast far from civilization.
By the time this article appears in the paper, Major P.J. Bigelow, Lieut. C.H.A. Spencer,
C.S.M., Ab. Boustead and Sgt. Steve Puffer who returned recently from courses in England will have returned to the unit to take their places again. Also Major K. Hall, Capt. B.
Quinn and Lieut. D. Melville should have returned from courses at Kingston and Woodstock. Lieuts. Jack Leuty and Herb Long are still at Kingston on a Signalling course and probably
other officers and N.C.O.'s will be heading for schools in Vancouver and other western points in the near future.
So goes the army life. We become disgusted as hell with
inaction at times but lead a good life, eat well and have plenty of exercise both for the body and the brain. What more could anyone ask except to have a better opportunity to end
this war quickly?
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville Thursday June 11, 1942 SECOND BATTALION MIDLAND REGIMENT WANT RECRUITS
NOW Kingston, June 9: From all points in Canada come encouraging reports about recruiting in the Reserve Army and Military District No. 3 is no exception. In the past, the
reserve Army's chief role was to supply reinforcements for the Active Army but now by Act of Parliament, it is also required to perform "an operational role in the defence of Canada
whenever required . . .' Located in this district, which has its headquarters in Kingston, are several regiments which, at the present time, are recruiting up to full war
strength. To date the results have been excellent. Some of the units, like the 2nd Battalion Midland Regiment (R.F.), commanded by Lieut.-Colonel A.H. Bounsall, with headquarters
at Millbrook, still have room for patriotic Canadians who would like to join. who feel it is their duty to do so.
UNIT DATES BACK TO 1866 Citizens who enlist in the
Midland Regiment immediately associate themselves with a unit that dates back in origin to 1866. It's present identity is the result of a reorganization that took place in 1936
amalgamating the Northumberland Regiment and the Durham Regiment. Soon after the period of reorganization the unit welcomed Col. Bounsall as its new commanding officer, an
officer whose Great War record and rapid rise in rank from trooper to his present position, fitted him as it did few others, to lead a regiment so closely identified with Canadian
O.C. ACTIVE OF BOWMANVILLE Col. Bounsall only son of Mrs. Bounsall and the late F.H. Bounsall, Bowmanville, began his military career as a trooper in the
Prince ofWales Canadian Dragoons in 1913. Following
this he served as a private in the 102 Infantry Battalion, C.E.F. in the Great War, was wounded twice and in 1918 invalided home. In 1921, following the reorganization of the
Canadian Militia, he joined the Durham Regiment and on April 4th, 1921, was appointed lieutenant. In 1935 he was appointed Brigade Major in the 9th Infantry Brigade. In 1937 Col.
Bounsall took over his new command in the Midland Regiment and on July 23rd, 1940 received authorization to organize the 2nd Battalion Midland Regiment (R.F.).
Midland, selected for the name of the unit, was chosen as a tribute to the Midland Battalion which was represented by units from this district in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and
which won much distinction in that campaign.
In the present war, the 1st Battalion Midland Regiment (A.F.) has gained much favourable notice and was one of the few
regiments from which guard detachments were drawn during the precautionary period just prior to the declaration of war. In this respect they established an enviable reputation for
smartness and efficiency while on duty. "It has always been the object of this unit to warrant the confidence of all parents in the habits their sons will form in its service,
namely, sober industry," are the words of Colonel Bounsall, and they should allay all fears that parents might have about sanctioning with approval their sons service in the armed
forces of the country.
"THE MAD MIDLANDS" In July, 1940, the guard detachments were absorbed in the mobilization of the 1st Battalion. During the guard periods the
unit won the unique nickname "The Mad Midlands", which has stuck to this day. Since then the unit has performed valuable duty in St. John, N.B., and in Niagara district. At the
present the 1st Battalion of the Midlands are somewhere in Western Canada, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel J.C. Gamey, Orono, who came back from overseas to lead the regiment.
Before the new policy concerning Canada's Reserve Army came into effect, they were permitted to enlist men eligible for Active Service but under the new policy, enlistment
will be restricted to men between the ages of 17 and 19, those under 18 to be enlisted as boys; men between the ages of 19 and 35 with medical category lower than "B"; men who have
been granted or would be entitled to postponement of compulsory military training under the N.R.M. Act: men over 35 and up to 50 years of age: personnel of C.O.T.C.'s, all categories
of military age, until their graduation, and married men between the ages of 30 and 35 with medical category higher than "C".
PERIODS OF TRAINING Upon enlisting with
a Reserve Unit the recruit is expected to train to a total number of 40 days. The periods of training are spaced as follows: 15 days in camp; 10 days on outdoor training, including
exercises of one or two days' duration and 45 evenings at local armouries. Officers. N.C.O.'s and specialists will be authorized to train for an additional 45 evenings or a
total of 55 days. Experience has shown that the training of men depends largely upon the efficiency of officers and N.C.O.'s and for this reason all training staffs will be
given refresher courses. Opportunities in the Reserve Army for promotions are considered to be good but it all depends on the individual's own qualifications and initiative.
Other officers responsible for the administration of the 2nd Battalion Midland Regiment (R) besides Lieut.-Colonel Bounsall are: Major P.H. Jobb, V.D., 2nd in command;
Captain F.G. Stinson, acting adjutant: Lieut. J.J.L. Hay, quartermaster; Captain D.R. Fowler, paymaster; Captain W.W. Wade, medical officer and Major C.R. Spencer, V.D.,
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, Ontario Thursday
Nov 9, 1944 page 3 MIDLAND REGIMENT MADE ZOMBIE REFUGE BY GOVT With a proud regimental record dating back to pioneer days in Canada's history the 1st Midland Regiment,
with a personnel drawn largely from the counties of Durham and Northumberland, has fallen to a humiliating status during the present war. Today, this famed unit has become, through
government policy, an unhappy aggregation of Zombies drawn from divers districts in the land and sentenced to wandering missions here and there across the breadth of Canada. Of the
originals only a remnant remains with the heterogeneous aspect it now presents. Now that Defence Minister Ralston has resigned from the Mackenzie King Cabinet, the whole sordid
story of the Midlands is coming to light in bits of information here and there from former members of the force. In justice to the history of the Regiment, to its original members
who voluntarily enlisted in this war, and in particular to the memory of its members who have fought and fallen in the present conflict, the story of the Midlands of today ought to
be told. So this is the story as we have learned it in recent months.
TRAINED AT FULL STRENGTH Called up at the outbreak of this war, the 1st Midland Regiment
was soon recruited to full strength and continued its training detachments under experienced officers drawn largely from the district. The N.C.O's. and privates too came mostly from
this central community. There was no finer body of men in Canada. When the time came to assemble the detachments into a battalion for unified training, Lt. Col. J.C. Gamey, who had
been serving in England, was recalled as the Midland's Commanding Officer. Training was continued until the unit reached a high state of military perfection. All ranks expected an
early call for service for all were volunteers, well trained.
We recall the time when the battalion was assembled in full strength at the Fair Grounds in Orono on a rainy
day in 1940. Brigadier Armstrong, M.D. 3, Kingston, was the reviewing officer. After the march past he complimented the troops in a personal conversation with Col. Gamey as one of
the finest and fittest units in Canada. They were fit, hard, well trained and ready for overseas. To a man they expected to go together as comrades wherever the fighting was to be
done. They prepared for last leaves to say "good bye" to parents, relatives and friends.
WANDERING NOT FIGHTING But what did they get? They were sent to Ottawa into
winter quarters and continued to train. Came spring and they were sent to the East Coast, allegedly on defence duties. They were led to believe by the actions of the jittery King
government that Canada was in danger of invasion. They wrote home that this was not what they had enlisted for. They were volunteers, not Zombies, they were well trained, first
class fighting men and they wanted to go overseas as the famous Midlands where they knew the fighting was to take place. But what they wanted, what they were fit for, was no concern
of the King government. It had other plans, with Quebec the key.
After a winter spent in ocean fog on lonely outposts, this fine Midland unit was again shifted; this time
to the Niagara district. Here again they were to fight it out on the home front with no greater enemy than the weather. Again they wrote home and came home on leave and told
their stories. Were they mice or men? What was this plebiscite of Mackenzie King? They began to have doubts about getting overseas as a unit. They saw themselves, eventually,
being used as political puppets to appease Quebec. In this they had prescience for they were about to witness the payoff.
MEN SENT TO HONG KONG Encamped at
Niagara, they saw 53 of their comrades torn from the Regiment to be attached to a Quebec-named unit chosen for the Hong Kong fiasco. Away they went, every last one of them to be
killed or tortured by the Japs. The picture became more clear to the rank and file. The Midlands were used as a guinea-pig unit, in time to fall completely under the sway of
cowardly, hesitant, squeamish policies of the Ottawa administration. The game was only now developing. The Midlands, proud of their tradition, were yet to endure their most
Still itching for action overseas for which they had volunteered, and we stress that point, they were volunteers, they were next transferred
to the Pacific Coast. The Japs were on the prowl after Pearl Harbor. There was to be another invasion of Canada and the Midlands were rushed to stop them. But they stopped
nothing more than the Pacific winds, the Pacific fogs that rolled up with penetrating cold and with no Japs in sight and none expected by the officers commanding. There they
were hung up for another winter. Highly trained, they were ordered for further training amidst the muskeg, and to their credit they stood to it manfully.
ZOMBIES INFILTRATED Hope of getting overseas as a unit gradually dwindled. All hope was lost when, in the fullness of time, Ottawa decided to inject further humiliation by
attaching to this fine Regiment, an infusion of Zombies. This was the entering wedge that eventually was to mean disintegration of this fine fighting force. Original Midlands, unable
longer to stomach this Ottawa dictum, said, "take me, attach me to any fighting unit going overseas and I am ready." And they were taken, make no mistake about it. Thus began
the procession of original volunteers who were virtually forced to volunteer again to escape their humiliation.
The original Midlands, through this coercive, miserably
conceived policy, shrank and shrank, until Zombies became the majority and this great Regiment became no longer representative of Durham and Northumberland, but a mere agglomeration
of apologists in an appeasement policy to gratify a minority province. Their letters home told the story for they no longer could be fooled. Their war-tried officers, many of them
veterans of the last war, were up against it. To maintain their staff of N.C.O's. they had to select Zombies over the remnant of originals that couldn't qualify, or quit the job.
OFFICERS RESIGN To their credit they quit and their places were taken by officers strange to the unit, professionals who had no qualms about bowing to Ottawa's
policy. That was the finish. The volunteers still remaining were faced with the choice of serving under Zombies or of asking for transfer overseas. Thus you see how pressure was
exerted, not on Zombies, but to force time-tried and trained volunteers, to keep moving. The last hope of the Midlands was gone. Literally they were booted out of their own
regiment because Ottawa said so.
And what was the result? Brothers were torn from the side of brothers. Comrades of years standing who had become the firmest of friends,
all trained, loyal volunteers, in the space of months were separated and assigned to units here and there across the sea, seldom if ever to see each other again. Now, for months
past they have been dying on foreign fields among men they never saw before. Their names and pictures appear in the weekly press, week by week, "killed in action" and not one
credited with his last brave stand for freedom as a member of the 1st Midland Battalion.
SCATTERED TO STRANGE UNITS That briefly is the picture. The senior
officers of this fine Regiment who built it up to a proud and efficient unit in the early days of this war are back with us in this community; retired to civil life. They have
little to say but they can endorse the main facts herein presented. They grieve to read of their 'boys' dying among comrades they never knew before, when, under a government
policy less cruel and criminal, they could have gone into action as the 1st Midlands, side by side with their long-time friends, comrades, and brothers.
The shame of
it all is concentrated in main phase of government policy. That is "no conscription for overseas" so long as the minority of Quebec oppose it. To give effect to that policy, it
became necessary to maintain "guinea-pig" units within Canada, to which could be attached Zombies persistently hiding behind the skirts of Canada's Prime Minister. So the Midlands
became one of these "experimental" fireside units. That appears to be the simple explanation of why we at home will be denied the proud honour of welcoming home from war the 1st
Midlands that has meant so much to our local history.
PAID THE PRICE One last word. To the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives of the
brave boys of the original Midlands who have fought and died overseas with strange units not their choice, it can be said that they did their duty as they sought to do when they
volunteered. They paid no attention to the plebiscite for they sensed its uselessness. Knowing that the government, to hold power, must appease Quebec as a 'no-conscription'
minority, they paid no attention to that. They simply sought to do a job and they have, willingly, paid the price. From them generally, in conversations and in letters we have
gathered this picture of the 1st Midland Battalion.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, Ontario Thursday Nov 9, 1944 page 1 In gathering our
Information concerning the story of the 1st Midland Battalion appearing in this issue, on page 3, we did not approach the officer commanding, Lt. Col. J.C. Gamey of Orono, under
whose direction the men of the unit were trained to a high degree of efficiency. But before publication we did submit to him a proof sheet of the article for his information.
He returns the proof with this comment: "Your article is not exaggerated the least bit; in fact it is quite mild and I do not see any misstatement in it. I have the
word of three Inspector Generals that it was the best unit they
had seen. Also I have the written word of my last Commandant in B.C. that it was the best unit in that command."
"As a preliminary you might say that the Midlands
has about the oldest traditions of any unit in Canada, as five companies from the area served with the York Rangers in 1812-13-14 and were known as the Midland Companies. The unit
also served as a Regiment in 1885 and has that battle honour, along with all the battle honours of the 2nd Battalion, C.E.F., in the first Great War."
We are thus
assured that, following the policy of The Statesman in observing the greatest accuracy possible in its news columns, we have in the story of the Midlands, carried the main facts and
if we erred it appears to be in understatement. The story was gathered largely for the information of those at home who have sent sons as volunteers into this war only to be taken
from a fine unit to fight alongside men and even foreign conscripts in units by no means representative of their own home districts.
cursor over an image
In 1942 Charles William 'Charlie' Mann of Port Hope, Harry Keith Richardson from
Warkworth, Alec Edward Lyle of Bowmanville and Joseph T 'Joe' Tullock from Oshawa, hoping to get into the real fighting in Europe instead of roaming around the country doing nothing,
left the Midland Regiment to join the newly formed binational First Special Service Force, FSSF, a group that would become known as The Devil's Brigade.
from The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, Ontario Thursday August 1, 1946 MIDLAND REGIMENT PLANS BIG REUNION WITH ROCHESTER TRIP On September 8th,
Cobourg will be the scene of the first reunion of the 1st Battalion Midland Regiment. Before a great many residents of that town are up and about, cars and buses will begin
arriving from the surrounding district, bringing together men who, in many cases, have not met for two or three years.
It all started out in Edmonton in the spring of
1942. The Mad Midlands were really mad—fighting mad, and perhaps a bit downhearted. Lt.-Col. J.C. Gamey, M.M., E.D., Officer Commanding, had held a Battalion parade beside the
Prince of Wales Armoury, following which the Mad Midlands marched down the main streets of Edmonton to the railway station, escorting the second group of men to leave the Regiment
on draft for overseas. The first group had left from the Niagara area the previous fall and had ended up with the unfortunate Royal Rifles of Canada, in Hong Kong. The present
whereabouts of those men was, of course, unknown. And now a second group was filing aboard a waiting train and within minutes would leave for an unknown destination.
HOMESICK The chaps getting on board the train were happy in one sense. This was what they had waited for! A few days at home, a boat trip and then the Old Country! Looking
back at their chums from the open windows of the coaches they felt something akin to homesickness. With last-minute anxiety they shook hands with the lads who were being left behind
and tried to remember those little messages they were to deliver to families down East on their way through to the boat "See you over there—Take care of yourself—Good Luck" and
many similar phrases were heard as those last minute partings were made. When the train gave a jerk and started to creep out of the station those remaining on the platform gave a
mighty cheer which effectively drowned out the band which was playing a tune that was to become dreaded, "Auld Lang Syne," despite the fact that many a throat was dry and tense.
REPEATED IN B.C. Such a scene was not repeated until the battalion moved to Prince Rupert, B.C. After a camp had been built by a battalion of men who had
joined up to fight, the third blow came, and then a fourth, fifth and sixth. With a tenacity exemplified by Joe Louis one punch followed another, leaving little time in which to
recover. Brothers, twins, father-and-son combinations and lifelong friends were parted by repeated drafts until only a shell remained. After each blow the trainers administered a
sedative which was to bring the patient back to strengh, an incoming drart of conscripts, a sedative tasting somewhat like vinegar and very hard to swallow. It was in times
like that that the idea of a reunion began to take hold. With the Regiment broken up and dispersed to the four winds, a strong determination to keep in touch with those chaps who
had collectively earned the admiration and respect of the people of Ottawa, Saint John, the Niagara area, Edmonton and Prince Rupert, existed.
OFF ON VOYAGE On
Sunday morning the members of the Old Boys' Association, 1st Battalion Midland Regiment and their wives or lady friends will embark on the C.N. S.S. Ontario for a trip to Rochester.
About 300 ex-Mids are expected to attend and an excellent outing is anticipated. The wives will have to take a back seat for those first few moments when pals of Army days are met
and the expression "Do you remember the day when—" fills the air. However the wives will have considerable catching up to do too. Many accompanied their husbands right across Canada
and have many happy experiences to chat about.
The day will be devoted to pleasure and reminiscing with the exception of about an hour when the men will assemble to
discuss the future of their newly-founded organization and to elect officers for the following year. Once that is over the strains of "We Are the Midlands, Midlands Are We,"—"We're
the Men of The Midland Regiment. The Finest in The Land, etc." will drown out any opposition from the boat whistle or the fog-horn.
from the Weekly Guide December 6, 1946 MIDLANDS TO MILLBROOK, MOVE HAS NO BEARING ON ARMOURIES COMING HERE
Colonel J.A.V. Fraser, Commanding Officer of the Midland Reserve Regiment, stated today that the headquarters of the regiment had been moved to Millbrook because no armouries are
available in Port Hope, now that St. Mark's Church has reclaimed the Parish Hall which has been used as an armouries by the government.
Colonel Fraser stated "there is
no connection between the move and some unwarranted reports that the proposed federal armouries slated for Port Hope would not be built." He added that to the best of his knowledge
the armouries would be built here as soon as plans and specifications are made ready and building material becomes available.
"The complete reserve army is undergoing a
vast transformation and re-organization scheme and things are too unsettled as to forecast what the final arrangements will be" he said.
Colonel Fraser would not say
whether the change would affect the Cobourg company of the regiment, saying that no immediate plans are being considered for moving the company.
"C" Company of the
Midland Regiment received their orders to move several weeks ago and the move was actually completed last Sunday.
from the Weekly Guide December 20, 1946 ARMOURIES RETURN TO ST. MARK'S Captain R.B. Baxter, Adjutant of the Midland Reserve Regiment, said today that the
Mill Street Armouries in Port Hope [the present RCSCC Skeena] had been turned back to the owners of the building, St. Mark's Anglican Church. The Regiment used the building as an
armouries during the war.
Captain Baxter said that the building was officially turned back to the church on Sunday, Dec. 15th.
"C" Company of the Midland
Regiment, which formerly had its headquarters here, recently moved to Millbrook under their Officer Commanding, Major S.J. Batt.
The Commanding Officer of the Regiment,
Colonel J.A.V. Fraser, recently said that the move had no connection what-so-ever with the Dominion Government's plan to erect a large armouries in Port Hope.
from the Orono Weekly Times Thursday July 22, 1954 LET'S KEEP THE MIDLANDS With the announcement two weeks ago that the Midland Regiment was to amalgamate
with the Ontario Regiment many persons have become acquainted with a history of the Midlands that dates back prior to 1812. With the amalgamation Durham County not only loses its'
sole defence unit but also a unit which has taken part in the military field of Canada throughout the ages. The Midlands were a part of the County and a chapter in its history.
No doubt the reason for amalgamating the two units is a sound one as changes are often necessary during the advancement of time.
The country, it is
understood, is today lacking in new recruits in the army and such amalgamation will no doubt tend to cut down on the number of trained men connected with any unit. In the local
case few members of the Midlands, it is believed, will connect themselves with the Ontario Regiment and amalgamation of the two units is not likely to strengthen the enrolment of
The Midland Regiment acted in the last war as a recruiting centre for this area, through which over six thousand men entered. A local regiment builds up a
more kindred spirit with a greater loyalty and meaning for every man who may pass through its ranks.
In the outbreak of war the Midlands, with close to one hundred and
fifty trained men would form the nucleous for a unit which could be put into shape with little notice. This would also be true of the Ontario Regiment but with amalgamation this
vast area has only one nucleous instead of two. It would appear that the greater number of units would give a greater and more effective striking power in the case of an emergency.
The effect of this move may not be felt only locally but could affect to some extent the national military power of Canada. Locally it is the loss of a glorious and
historic unit which is part of the County. Nationally it could mean the loss of a striking force in the time of need.
Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the depositing of the Regimental Colours at St Mark's Church, Port Hope Nov 21, 2004 cursor over a face
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