"OH CANADA WE STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE"

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER
(A Soldier Died Today)

Published with the permission of A. Lawrence Vaincourt
©

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho' sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won't note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.


A MEMORIAL TO OUR FAMILY VETERANS



Usher, Thomas George, my Grandfather, Rank Pvt., enlisted Canadian Expeditionary Force in Toronto, on the 18th day of March 1918, stationed in Quebec.

Cook, Leonard my Uncle enlisted in the R.C.A. Trans. Canadian Infantry Corps. on the 21st day of July, 1942. Served in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and was with The Essex Scottish Regiment-Canada. Medals rec'd were the France Germany Star Defence Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp.

May, Henry, my Grand Uncle, born in England, killed on board ship during World War One.


Others will be added as I receive them, please read below the material taken from a small handbook handed out to new members of The Essex Scottish Regiment-Canada.



CATECHISM FOR NEW MEMBERS

WHAT IS THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE REGIMENT?


In 1763 Militia of Detroit and vicinity, which was then a part of Canada, was reorganized. In 1788, 226 English and 721 French were enrolled.
After the transfer of Detroit to the United States in 1796 two Regiments of Essex Militia were organized under Command of Lieut.-Colonels J. B. Baby and Alexander McKee.
During the war of 1812 Colonel Matthew Elliott and Colonel William Elliott commanded the First and Second Regiments of Essex Militia. The Essex Militia were present at the capture of Fort Detroit. During Rebellion of 1837-38 an additional Regiment was formed under command of Colonel John Price.
During the period 1855-60 there were four Battalions of Essex Militia: First Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel S.S. Macdonell, whose son, Lieut.-General Sir A.C. Macdonell, K.C.B.,C.M.G.,D.S.O., commanded the First Division in France during the war of 1914-1918; Second Battalion, Lieut.-Colonel James Revell; Third Battalion, Lieut.-Colonel William G. Hall; Fourth Battalion, Lieut.-Colonel James King.
In 1866 a reorganization created the 23rd Essex Battalion under command of Lieut.-Colonel Arthur Rankin.


WHAT IS THE MODERN HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ESSEX SCOTTISH?


In 1885 the 21st Essex Battalion Infantry was organized, and in 1887 the name was changed to 21st Battalion Essex Fusiliers, and from this Unit a draft was sent to South Africa. In the war 1914-1918 this Unit supplied many officers and other ranks. Lieut.-Colonel E.S. Wigle, who at the outbreak of war commanded the Fusiliers, organized the 18th Battalion C.E.F., and this unit was to a large extent composed of old Essex Fusilier members. Later the 99th Essex County Battalion and 241st Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonels T.B. Welch and Walter L. McGregor respectively, went overseas, both being recruited through the 21st Regiment Essex Fusiliers. Following the Great War the Regiment was disbanded and reorganized as the Essex Fusiliers. First Battalion to commemorate 18th Battalion C.E.F.; Second Reserve Battalion to commemorate 99th Battalion C.E.F.; Third Reserve Battalion to commemorate 241st Battalion C.E.F.
In 1927 the name and the uniform of the Unit was changed and it became the Essex Scottish, under command of Lieut.-Colonel Alan Prince, great-grandson of Colonel John Prince, who commanded the 3rd Regiment Essex Militia ninety years previous.


WHAT IS THE STORY OF THE REGIMENT SINCE 1939?


On the 3rd of September, 1939 the Regiment mobilized as the 1st Bn. (Active) Essex Scottish Regiment under its then commanding officer, Lieut.-Colonel A.S. Pearson.
At that time it was the only Western Ontario Infantry Unit to be included in the C.A.S.F., and was also one of the first, if not the first, unit in Canada to be completely mobilized up to strength. The preliminary training of the Battalion was carried out in Windsor, where all ranks were billeted at St. Luke's Road Barracks. In April, 1940, the Battalion moved to Camp Borden, Ontario.
On the 3rd of August, 1940 the Battalion arrived in the U.K. and moved to the South of England to take part in the defence of Britain against the threatened German invasion.
On the 19th of August, 1942 the raid on Dieppe took place. The Battalion, under Lieut.-Colonel F.K. Jasperson, went in on the first wave, assaulting the strongly fortified defences in front of the town. Of 540 all ranks who embarked, only 48 returned, and many of these men were wounded.
On the 4th of July, 1944 the Battalion landed in France under command of Lieut.-Colonel B.J.S. Macdonald.
In the battle for the liberation of Europe the Battalion has been in the forefront of all the following major action:--


The Battle of the Caen Sector.
The Breakthrough to Falaise.
The Drive to the River Seine.
The Occupation of Dieppe.
The Capture of Westende Fort, outside Ostend. After this action the citizens of the district named one of their streets "The Essex Scottish Street."
The Battle for the North Suburbs of Antwerp.
The Clearing of the Scheldt Estuary.
The Capture of the South Beveland Peninsula.
And more recent ones which cannot yet be mentioned because of military security.


When the 1st Battalion moved to England in 1940, the 2nd Battalion (Reserve) Essex Scottish Regiment was formed under Lieut.-Colonel W. Griesinger M.C., V.D. Lieut.-Colonel J.E. McCorkell, D.S.O., later assumed command and is the present officer commanding.


The 2nd Battalion has trained and supplied many hundreds of officers and other ranks for the 1st Battalion and other units of the Canadian Army, Active.


WHO HAVE COMMANDED THE REGIMENT?


The Essex Fusiliers, 1885-1927. In succession.


Lieut.-Colonel John R. Wilkinson.
Lieut.-Colonel Jos. F. Beattie.
Lieut.-Colonel James C. Guillot.
Lieut.-Colonel Nobel A. Bartlet.
Lieut.-Colonel Frederick H. Laing.
Lieut.-Colonel Ernest S. Wigle, V.D.
Lieut.-Colonel Sidney C. Robinson, V.D.
Lieut.-Colonel Geo. H. Wilkinson, V.D.


The Essex Scottish Regiment, 1927 to 1939. In succession.


Lieut.-Colonel Alan Prince, V.D.
Lieut.-Colonel W. Griesinger, M.C., V.D.
Lieut.-Colonel A. S. Pearson.


The Essex Scottish Regiment, 1st Bn., Active 1939 to present.


Lieut.-Colonel A. S. Pearson, E.D. (now Colonel).
Lieut.-Colonel F. K. Jasperson.
Lieut.-Colonel J. H. Mothersill, E.D.
Lieut.-Colonel B. J. S. Macdonald, E.D.
Lieut.-Colonel T. S. Jones.
Lieut.-Colomel P.W. Bennett.
Lieut.-Colonel J. E. C. Pangman, E.D.


The Essex Scottish Regiment, 2nd Bn., Reserve , 1939 to present.


Lieut.-Colonel W. Griesinger, M.C., V.D.
Lieut.-Colonel J. E. McCorkell, D.S.O.

What Battle Honours has the Regiment won?

Ypres, 1915-17. Passchendaele. Somme, 1916-18. Amiens. Flers-Courcelette. Hindenburg Line. Vimy, 1917. Cambrai, 1918. Hill 70. Pursuit to Mons.
These Battle Honours are carried on the Colours of the Regiment.
In addition, the Regiment has won the following honours:- Festubert, 1915. Arras, 1917-18. Mt. Sorrel. Scarpe, 1918. Thiepval. Canal du Nord. Ancre Heights. France and Flanders, 1915-18.

What decorations were awarded members of the 18th Battalion C.E.F. (whom the present Essex Scottish commemorate)?

V.C. .......................................................... 1
Order of St. Michael and St. George .... 1
D.S.O. ....................................................... 5
M.C. ........................................................ 15
D.C.M. ...................................................... 7
M.M. ....................................................... 75
Medaille Militaire ................................... 2
In addition, other decorations were awarded to men of the 99th Essex County Battalion and 241st Battalion who, enlisting through the Essex Fusiliers, went to other various Units in France on their battalions being broken up in England for draft.

In the present war the following decorations and awards have been received by members of the Essex Scottish Regiment for Gallantry and Good Service up to the 30th of September, 1944:-

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Mil. Div.)........1
Member of the Order of the British Empire (Mil. Div.)......2
Military Cross..........................................................................3
Distinguished Conduct Medal................................................2
Military Medal .......................................................................7
Bar to the Military Medal .....................................................1
British Empire Medal ............................................................1
Mentioned in Despatches .....................................................11
Commander-in-Chief's Certificate (Gallantry) ...................3
Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermiel (France) ..............1
Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, 2nd Class .......................1

What Peace-time Events are Memorable

In eight of the twelve years prior to 1939 the Regiment won the Infantry Association Cup for smartness and efficiency.
It has won numerous awards in musketry, Lewis and Vickers Gun competition.
It supplied Guards of Honour for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in Quebec in 1908 and twice for the King's Representative , The Governor-General of Canada.
As evidence of the Goodwill existing between the peoples of the United States and Canada, the Regiment has made the following trips under arms to United States soil on request:-
St. Louis World Fair, September, 1904.
Syracuse State Fair in New York, August 1929.
World's Fair, Chicago, September, 1933.

For 12 years preceding the outbreak of the present war the Regiment attended on Empire Day services at St. Paul's Cathedral, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. This custom, since 1942, has been revived by the 2nd Battalion (Reserve).
Since 1927 it has been a regimental ruling that 20 per cent of the Honourary Membership of the Mess shall be U.S. citizens. This is unique in the annals of the British Army.

What are the Pipe Tunes played by the Regimental Pipers?

REGIMENTAL MARCH PAST:
"Highland Laddie" - All ranks will stand to attention when this tune is played.

COMPANY MARCH PAST:
"A" Coy. "Athol Highlanders".
"B" Coy. "The Hundred Pipers".
"C" Coy. "Macdonald's away to the War".
"D" Coy. "All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border".
Support Coy. "Meeting of the Waters".

DUTY CALLS
In a Highland Regiment, the pipes replace the bugle. Just as there are definite bugle calls for each duty or parade, so there are standard Highland numbers played throughout the daily routine.

Revillie "Johnny Cope".
All Meals "Brase and Butter".
Half Hour Dress "Mackenzie Highlanders".
Quarter Hour Dress "Greenwood Side".
Fall In "Pibrock o' Donald Dhuh".
Retreat "Green Hills of Tyrol".
First Post "Sir Colin Campbell".
Last Post "My Home".
Lights Out "Mist Covered Mountains".
Officers' Mess "Bannocks o' Barley Meal".
The motto of the Regiment was Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready".

The Regimental Headquarters was, The Armouries, Windsor, Essex County, Ontario, Canada.

The Regiment was allied with The Essex Regiment of the British Regular Army.

The Tartan worn by the Regiment is the McGregor- in honour of the late Lieut.-Colonel Walter McGregor and other members of the McGregor family who have long been staunch friends of the Regiment.

The Full Dress Uniform of the Regiment is Scarlet Doublet with Blue Facings, McGregor Tartan, White Hackle in Feather Bonnet.

Some of the special features of Regimental Dress when on active service are: Standard headgear is the Balmoral with flash of McGregor Tartan and Regimental Badge. Officers wear the Rob-Roy tie--the personal Tartan of "Rob-Roy" McGregor.
The full-dress uniform of the Regiment is not worn when on active service, but the kilt may still be worn by all ranks when off duty and for walking out.

MY COMMENTS

All of the above is not meant to be the whole story of the Essex Scottish Regiment-Canada but just a capsule to enlighten the reader as to its history. In closing I will leave you with the final quote on the back cover of the book that this piece of history was taken from.

"Recall in the days ahead and in battles to come, the record of your Regiment; fight with courage and with a stout heart, remembering always that you are the Regiment and its continuing glory rests in your hands".



PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BRANCH OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION, THANK YOU.


The Legion crest and Poppy is a Trademark of Dominion Command, Royal Canadian Legion, and is used on this page with their permission.