The Honour Roll
As early as January 1916, the Law Society began to compile a list of lawyers and law students
who had enlisted to serve in the First World War. Legal Education Committee
Chairman E. Douglas Armour sought a list of members on active service
from the Adjutant-General of Canadian Militia, who sent the Law Society
a 22-page list of names. Someone, possibly Secretary Edwin Bell, updated and annotated the list as new information surfaced,
probably using newspaper casualty lists. New lists were drawn up periodically
and they too were kept up-to-date with handwritten notations, one having
red asterisks identifying the wounded. In November 1918 -- one week before
the war ended -- the Ontario Bar Association produced and circulated
a draft "Roll of Honour" and list of enlisted members, a copy of which
the Law Society Secretary kept in his office.
The concept of a memorial
The proposal that a lasting record of
the contributions of Law Society members to the war effort ought to be preserved permanently
at Osgoode Hall was first raised at Convocation in September 1916. Several years later, in October 1922, Bencher Frederick Weir Harcourt raised the suggestion that a war memorial "to
commemorate those members of the Society who have made the Supreme Sacrifice
in the late war, be referred to a special committee" to be named
by the Treasurer.
Although Harcourt's motion carried, no committee was named until late
1924, by which time Harcourt himself was Treasurer. At its first meeting
in November 1924, the committee recommended "that a Memorial be erected,
either stained glass windows or a monument, the cost not to be more than
$15,000." By then, B. Holford Ardagh was Secretary of the Law Society, having succeeded Edwin Bell in 1922. Formerly Captain
of the Osgoode Hall Rifle Association and having served four years in the
war himself, Major Ardagh worked hard to ensure that the war memorial
became a reality.
The making of the Memorial
of the commission reached the newspapers, prompting a firm of art bronze
founders to write offering to submit a design. By February 1926 Toronto
sculptor Frances Loring had been in touch with the benchers,
presumably had visited the Great Library to look at the site, and had formulated her ideas about the
memorial's structure. In a letter of tender, she wrote: "The figure to
be sculpted in Italian marble not less than seven (7) feet high, to be
in full round, isolated from the marble panel at the back, standing on
a base of Bedford Stone about the same height as the wainscoating [sic]
in the room." A few months later Convocation authorized the committee to enter into a contract with Frances Loring,
who was to be paid $10,000 for her work. The contract was signed in September
1926, with an agreed completion date of January 1st 1928. Loring
had less than a year and a half to complete the project.
for the memorial's installation began around the time Loring and Ardagh
signed the contract. Architect John Pearson discussed with Frances Loring
the required structural changes. The east wall of the Main Reading Room
of the Great Library, the site where the sculpture would be erected, was
at that time an external wall. To accommodate the memorial, a large window
would have to be removed and the opening bricked up. Plastering, painting,
and changes to the woodwork would also have to be done to prepare the
site for the installation of the sculpture and the pedestal on which it
As the time to forward the names to be inscribed on the
memorial tablet neared, efforts to finalize the list accelerated. Decisions
had to be made about whether the list should be restricted to those who
were killed on active service, or whether it should include the names
of those who had died from natural causes or accidents while in military
service. Ardagh and the committee decided on the latter option, including
the name of a lawyer who had shot himself accidentally and that of another
who died several years after the war following a productive career. For
an unknown reason, the name of a soldier who had been shot by his father
was left off the list.
Secretary Ardagh published a notice in the Toronto newspapers inviting people to
inspect the Honour Roll list in his office; fortunately, some papers printed
the entire list of names, sparing Ardagh hordes of visitors. A number
of people wrote letters or telephoned to provide new names. Ardagh verified
the information with the Department of Militia and Defence in Ottawa.
He gave the list to Frances Loring in late October 1927.
Meanwhile, Frances Loring was busy working on the clay model
of the memorial, which she estimated would be finished by mid-November
1927. She believed that the piece would be completed by the end of March
1928, which committee Chair McPherson thought "unduly
long." After the committee met in late December 1927, McPherson reminded
Loring that the contract required that the work be in place by the first
of January. His letter appears to have been an attempt to pressure the
sculptor: it expressed the committee's surprise "at the indefinite nature
of the statement made by you to me in reference to the completion," and
asked for her to state her intentions in writing immediately. "If any
additional time you may desire is regarded as reasonable by the Committee,"
McPherson continued, "an extension may be made, but it must be definite
and duly signed." If the committee did not think the extra time reasonable,
"I anticipate the Committee will immediately take such steps as may be
deemed necessary to assert the rights of the Law Society."
Loring replied that the committee should come to the studio
after the middle of January to inspect and approve the clay model, after which
she would execute the plaster cast. She suggested that "they come before four-thirty
as the light is not good after that." Several members of the committee were
stricken with colds in January and could not get to Loring's studio, causing
additional delay. They finally managed to examine the clay model several times
and suggested modifications. At its January meeting the committee decided
that another contract with Frances Loring be executed extending the deadline
to mid-September. Loring telephoned McPherson in late January to urge the
committee to accept the plaster cast so that she could ship it on the steamer
sailing a week later. The new contract, dated January 31st, 1928,
absolved the Law Society of any responsibility for the delay and "Whereas
the Sculptor…has failed or made default…she will complete [s]aid Work[s] on
or before the fourteenth day of September, 1928." By mid-February the plaster
cast was on its way to Italy to be executed in Carrara Marble. Loring followed
a few months later to select the marble and to supervise the carving, which
proceeded slowly1. While she was out of
the country, architect John Pearson supervised the alterations to the Great
Library's east wall and the erection of the pedestal.
"Memorial Unveiled at Osgoode Hall"
By mid-October 1928 the memorial had been completed and
erected in the Great Library. The unveiling was scheduled for Saturday 10th November at 11 a.m. In addition to judges and members of the legal profession,
the families of those whose names were commemorated on the memorial were
Plans for the unveiling began rather late. The Secretary tried to engage the Governor General to perform the ceremony but he was
asked less than a month before the unveiling was to take place and was otherwise engaged. On October 22nd, Ardagh
invited the Lieutenant Governor to perform the ceremony and two days later,
he received the good news that he would. Ardagh then telegraphed Treasurer Wallace Nesbitt, who had succeeded Harcourt in 1927, in London England,
"War Memorial unveiled tenth November. Do you expect here that date."
The next day, Ardagh received the reply, "Sorry not sailing until fourteenth."
Preparations for the unveiling carried on. Ardagh engaged
the services of Trumpeter W.C. Hutchings of the Royal Canadian Dragoons
to blow the Last Post and Long Reveille. The blueprints and seating plan
were examined, chaplains were invited, invitations sent, photographs
reproduced and framed, the program printed and a press release drafted.
The press release began "A very handsome and beautiful Memorial, the work
of Miss Frances Loring of Toronto, the well-known sculptress, was Unveiled
on Saturday morning November 10th, 1928. The Memorial is a
large statue representing…" The description of the statue is left blank,
suggesting that whoever drafted the press release had no idea what the
statue was meant to represent. Loring biographers describe the statue
as "a symbolic figure of a youth who had shed the robes of everyday life
to offer himself to the cause of humanity."2 At the base of the memorial is carved part of a line from Rupert Brooke's "War Sonnets":
"These laid the world away."
The unveiling took place as scheduled on November 10th with a large group that included several
dignitaries in attendance. Frances Loring was not among them.3 Several chaplains and the organist and choir of St. James Cathedral led
those present in the prayers and hymns. Lawyer and politician G.R. Geary
read the Honour Roll, the first occasion of what has become an annual
tradition at the Law Society. Ontario Chief Justice William Mulock delivered an address.
Family members of the deceased took away copies of a photograph of the
memorial. After the service all the flowers were sent to a hospital on
After the unveiling, Ardagh sent a framed copy of the photograph
of the memorial to each County Law Association. That the First World War touched every Ontario community
is shown by the letter from lawyer R.I. Moore, who wrote to say that he
was pleased to place the photo in the Lindsay Law Association's library:
"The Swayze boys were sons of the local Judge. Captain Edward Kylie was
also one of Lindsay's brilliant sons. In looking over it I also see the
name of Colonel
Fred H. Hopkins, whose father, Judge Hopkins, of Cayuga, practised in
Lindsay for many years. I also see the name of Walter G. Lumsden, who
was killed on the Somme. I did not know he had been at Osgoode
Hall... I was with him when he was killed."
the unveiling, people surfaced to bring new names
to Ardagh's attention. Archibald Cochrane of Cobourg,
whoattended the ceremony, regretted that the name of Leroy E. Awrey was
Ardagh continued to try to track down information about
new names and
to find the next of kin of several of those whose names
appeared on the
memorial so that they might be sent the photograph. In
late October 1929,
Ardagh sent Frances Loring a list of eight additional
names to be engraved
at the bottom of the list already inscribed on the
Even after Ardagh issued those instructions, new information
came to light. In November 1929, Ardagh
wrote to Frances Loring to let her know that "in some extraordinary way
the name of Capt. Henry C. Draper was engraved on the Memorial (No. 27)
as being among the deceased whereas as a matter of fact I had an interesting
conversation yesterday afternoon with the said gentleman who was very
much alive." His name was replaced on the memorial with the name "Capt.
Hal C. Fryer, M.C." Traces of that change can still be seen on the left
side of the list of names on the memorial.
The World War One memorial remains an impressive fixture
in the Great Library at Osgoode Hall, and provides the focus for the Law Society's Remembrance Day service every second year. In alternate
years the service takes place in front of the Second World War memorial
in the Rotunda. Each year benchers read the Honour Roll at the Remembrance
Day service as the Law Society continues to honour the memory of its members
who fell in the First World War.
1 Rebecca Sisler,
The Girls (Toronto: Clarke Irwin, 1972), 42; C.
Boyanoski, Loring and Wyle: Sculptor's Legacy (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario,
2 Sisler, The Girls, 36; Boyanoski, Loring and
3 Boyanoski, Loring and Wyle, 35.