RMR veteran featured in WW1 photo display at Atwater Market

Close up of the panel, showing Comrade Fitzgerald with his grandfather’s medals

Westmount, Quebec – 19 August 2016: Comrade Mike Fitzgerald, past-president of the RMR Association (Branch 14) of the Royal Canadian Legion and a former Sergeant in the RMR, was invited to participate in a display featuring the families of Canadian veterans of the First World War.

Fitzgerald’s grandfather, William John Mitchell, was a Private in the Victoria Rifles and had enlisted in Montreal where the regiment was based. The Victoria Rifles was one of three regiments that contributed troops to form what became the 14th battalion CEF (RMR) in August, 1914 as part of country’s response to the outbreak of war.  The “1st Regiment, Royal Montreal Regiment” was raised by the amalgamation of several companies of each of three existing Montreal Militia Regiments: The 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards (372 men and 12 officers); The 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada (355 men and 12 officers), and the 65th Regiment, Carabiniers Mont-Royal (276 men and 8 officers).

WW1 photo display at the Atwater Market
WW1 photo display at the Atwater Market

The photo display was organized by Cégep André-Laurendeau as part of an international exchange with post-secondary students from France, who as part of their exchange visit to Canada were tasked with finding and interviewing the descendents of the men who had helped liberate France. [2] Once he had been contacted, Fitzgerald pulled out all the stops for the visiting students, greatly enhancing their historical research experience by arranging a tour of the RMR Museum and armoury.

The display was officially unveiled at the Atwater Quay on 16 June 2016. Located across from the busy Atwater Market, the quay receives over a million visitors per year which will help ensure that the sacrifice made by Canadians over a century ago are not forgotten.

William Mitchell served with the 60th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada), CEF, which was authorized on 20 April 1915, embarked for Great Britain on 4 November 1915 and arrived in France on 21 February 1916, where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until 30 April 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, and the 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards), CEF. The battalion was disbanded on 15 August 1918.[1]

Service medals of William John Mitchell

Comrade Fitzgerald knows little of his grandfather’s wartime exploits, as his grandfather died before he Fitzgerald was born and rarely spoke about the war, which was quite common for veterans of the war. Fitzgerald does possess his grandfather’s paybook, discharge papers, and medals, which he has had framed for display.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Rifles_of_Canada

[2] http://www.claurendeau.qc.ca/a-propos-du-cegep/actualites/nouvelles-courantes?extendedview=1&extendedres=947D5534-CBE9-44EA-904B-21D870D4DA77&parameters=modView%3adetail%7centry%3a9FE0F4D7-FFF5-4C46-AAD2-F418008284DE

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