Monday, February 1, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Completing equipment and mobilization stores.  Lt.-Col. F.H. Hopkins, Junior Major, transferred to 17th Battn.” [1]


THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: Lt.-Col. Frederick Holmes Hopkins was born 31 Oct 1880.  He followed the career of his father, a judge at Cayuga, Ontario, and became a practicing lawyer in Lindsay, Ontario. In 1898 he joined the 45th Victoria (County) Regiment as a commissioned officer rising in rank until becoming Commanding Officer in September 1912.

After mobilization in 1914, he led a draft of the 45th which was transferred into the 14th Bn. at Valcartier, and as a result Lt.-Col. Hopkins became the third Lt.-Col. on the strength of the new 14th Bn.  He went to England with the 14th and on Feb 1st 1915 was transferred to the 17th Bn.  After a short period of service in France he was appointed Chief Compensation Officer for the Canadians attached to Shorncliffe Headquarters.

While there,  Lt.-Col. Hopkins died of a broken neck sustained as a result of a motor accident at Worthing, Sussex, on  Sunday afternoon, January 30th, 1916.  “His younger brother, Lieutenant Robert Holmes Hopkins, of the Canadian Army, who was with him at the time, said that in Arundel road the car did not seem to take the turn properly, and ran up on the bank and turned over, the Colonel being pinned by the neck under the sidecar.  Captain Conway Warne Ward said that in his opinion the steering gear had become locked. This view, however, was disputed by a motor engineer named Wade, who afterwards examined the car. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.”  [3]

Because Lt.-Col. Fred H. Hopkins was killed in a traffic accident and not in battle, his body was dressed in his uniform and sent back to Canada for burial.  He was buried with full military honour at Riverside Cemetery in Lindsay. Ontario.  It was reported that the shops on Kent Street, Lindsay all closed and that the streets were lined in his honour on the day of his funeral.

[1]     War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Feb 1, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   The Sturgeon Point History Project,  Friday, 11 November 2011
[3]   The Standard, London, Middlesex, England, February 2, 1916, pg. 8

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