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Memorandum by the Honourable Leslie M. Frost Almost unbelievable surviving after well over half a century are the letters written by L.M.F. and C.G.F. from 1915 to 1920. They are the story of a family during the First World War. I say that it is almost unbelievable that these letters should have survived. It was due to the foresight of my mother and father. It was their custom to circulate these letters among the family, who read the same and returned them to my parents. Both of them passed on upwards of thirty years ago but in one way or another the letters have been kept together and now are being placed in the archives of Trent University, where they can provide the story of a family in those days of very great stress. Considering that the letters were sent from overseas in 1917 and 1918 when submarine warfare was at its height and no doubt some were destroyed by enemy action, it is remarkable that the story is so complete. My brother and I were both front-line men. I was afterwards to serve eight months with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion and my brother with the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. We both saw many actions. By way of background, I refer to my book Fighting Men (Clarke, Irwin, & Company, 1967). At the time of publication, some reviewers questioned why I made practically no mention of myself. This was intentional. I was writing about the Company from Orillia, which I commanded. Of 226 men, 44 were killed in action, 113 were wounded, totalling 157 casualties or 69 percent . Added to this were 5 of the band and machine gun details which did not return, and 14 more wounded. I felt very strongly that I should not, as it were, personalize this story but rather write it in the form of a tribute to these brave men. The publishers at the time raised some questions about this. I said on page 172 that those of us who survived revere those who made the great sacrifice “as comrades, the latches of whose shoes they are ‘not worthy to unloose.’” It is in that sense that I look back on those days and those men, many of whom like Fred Grandy were personal friends. This account I am now writing is of course different. Still Fighting Men gives the background to those days and times. Our family was in very many ways not a “political family.” My father was very definitely an independent in politics. He was intensely interested and xxiii xxiv MEMORANDUM engaged in municipal affairs in Orillia. I was named after Andrew Miscampbell , the member for Simcoe East,1 when I was born. He was a great personal friend of my father, who was a very much younger man. Miscampbell helped him in business. Subsequently he [William Frost] altered between Liberals and Conservatives, federally and provincially. He was an ardent “temperance man” which meant he was a prohibitionist. He, accordingly, supported N.W. Rowell, for instance. Temperance so called was one of his great motivations. My father had served with the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1882–83 and was a supporter of the cadet and militia movement. My first connections with the 35th Regiment Simcoe Foresters was as a cadet in 1913 and 1914. The cadets had a close association with the 35th Regiment.2 I refer to these days in the second chapter of Fighting Men. My brother and I were greatly stirred with the glamour of the militia. It was a great sight to see on the Plains of Niagara the long lines of several thousand cadets, mostly in red uniforms with blue trousers, which was the garb of most of the militia up to 1914. In the chapter I refer to, I mention the great impression made upon us by the environment of Niagara and those like Janet Carnochan,3 who never wearied in telling the young volunteers and cadets about the defence of Canada. In those days, the League of Nations and the United Nations were far in the future. The only real world organization was the British Empire. Janet was revered as a public speaker and almost always had some reference to this great empire upon which the sun never set. Among my contemporaries was Arthur Ardagh,4 captain of the Cadet Corps. My association with him had a profound influence on my life. He was...


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