A Historic Wrong, Righted

More of Our Canada - - Contents -

The lat­est is­sue of More of Our Canada (Novem­ber 2016) was, as usual, filled with many in­ter­est­ing sto­ries. One in par­tic­u­lar I found en­light­en­ing was “No­ble Steeds.” Un­til I saw the movie War Horse, I had no idea that an­i­mals played such an im­por­tant part in the war ef­fort. How­ever, I would like to en­lighten the pub­lic about one com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that hope­fully will be laid to rest quite soon. Lieu­tenant-colonel Ge­orge Baker was in­deed killed while on the bat­tle­field when he was a sit­ting par­lia­men­tar­ian. How­ever, he was not the only sit­ting par­lia­men­tar­ian who died as a di­rect con­se­quence of the war. Sa­muel Simp­son Sharpe was born in Ze­phyr, Ont., in 1873. He even­tu­ally at­tended law school, be­came a lawyer and re­turned to Uxbridge, Ont., to prac­tice. He was elected to Par­lia­ment in 1909. In 1916, he was granted per­mis­sion to or­ga­nize a mil­i­tary group, and young men from all over On­tario joined up to fol­low him and be­come the 116th Bat­tal­ion of the Canadian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force. Sam Sharpe was re-elected to Par­lia­ment while on the bat­tle­field, not even need­ing to cam­paign. He and the 116th served at Vimy, Lens, Hill 70 and Pass­chen­daele and in­curred great loss of life. It was Sam Sharpe’s duty to write home to fam­ily and friends con­vey­ing the bad news. It took a toll on him, and in 1918 he was in­valided home to Canada. Shortly af­ter ar­riv­ing in a Mon­treal hos­pi­tal, and feel­ing un­able to face those fam­i­lies back home of men he had led into bat­tle and lost, he jumped from a win­dow, com­mit­ting sui­cide on May 25. Be­cause he was not ac­tu­ally killed in bat­tle, he’d been de­nied his due re­gard for al­most 100 years. But thanks to MP Erin O’toole, his­to­rian and writer Ted Bar­ris, and Port Perry sculp­tor Tyler Bri­ley, a sculp­ture and plaque of Col. Sa­muel Sharpe now hang in the Par­lia­ment build­ings, near Col. Baker’s. Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Romeo Dal­laire has long cham­pi­oned the rights of sol­diers suf­fer­ing PTSD, and this is a ma­jor vic­tory for them. Sa­muel Sharpe can now take his right­ful place in his­tory. Pa­tri­cia As­ling, Uxbridge, Ont.

Morn­ing Glory was one of the few horses that re­turned from WWI.

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