Etc. -- John S. Crerar Killed in Action, 1917
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The following is from a page 1 article in the 26 Mar 1917 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.

Norfolk's Growing Honour Roll

Since our last issue the fateful cables and telegrams have been raining on Norfolk. So far as we have been able to gather, the casualties of the week are/include:

797213 -- Pte. John Stewart Crerar, M.A., Principal of Port Rowan High School, killed in action.

The following is from a page 1 article in the 3 May 1917 issue of the Simcoe Reformer .

In Memoriam

When the news reached Port Rowan last week that Private J. S. Crerar hall fallen in action on the 9th, at Vimy Ridge, it brought home to the community with renewed force the stern realities which we all have to face.

Crerar was a graduate of Queen's University and Principal of the [Port Rowan] High School since 1914.

He left in the fall with the 133rd, and crossed to France with the 14th Canadian Battalion in December.

Under normal circumstances he was eminently a man of peace. Gun and bayonet work was repugnant to him, as they are to so many of our men until hammered into hardness by actual contact with the vile and unspeakable cruelty of the Huns, which exceeds all the world has ever known of the horrors of war.

There was a little group of our village boys  with him. It was like a little bit of the town transported to France. They formed an observation post; shared the same [......], and did their bit together like the brave men they were. There were Morley Knowles, his brother Leslie Knowles, Harold Nethercott, C. Earl Cook and perhaps one or two more. Particulars have not yet reached us. All we know is that Crerar and Nethercott were killed and Morley Knowles wounded. Every man of them splendid types, keen of brain, and sure of hand; alive to all the war means in its ultimate issues for the Empire and the world.

[Two paragraphs re patriotism omitted]

No one seemed to think of Crerar enlisting. No one "recruited" him. Reticent about the deeper and nearer things in life, he hammered it out in his own mind, until all barriers were burned away by his own fervent sense of duty, and he could follow "the gleam" with a good, manly conscious.

He was of Scotch descent and hoped to have an opportunity of visiting the home of his forefathers in the little village of Scone, about two miles outside the fair city of Perth, on the banks of the Tay.

He had heard of Perth "Inches" -- parks, we would call them. He had heard of the kirk where John Knox preached his great sermon of the Reformation, and he had heard of Scone Palace, where Robert de Bruce was crowned King of Scots by the Countess of Buchan, a lady of the great Clan Macduff. The mystic stone of Destiny had been carried off to England, nevertheless Bruce's coronation was valid, and victory, as we know, adorned his banner at Bannockburn.

We doubt if his wish to see these spots was realized. He dreamed his dream. He had every right to dream golden dreams of a happy and useful life, and if the dream has not ccome true, according to our reckoning, it does not follow that it has failed in its better fruition; for there are still more things in heaven and earth than eyes have seen or heart conceived of.

Crerar and Nethercott were friends and comrades, lovely in their lives, and in their deaths not divided.

[Poem, an "old Scotch ditty" omitted


The following is from a page 4 article in the 3 May 1917 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.


The reported deaths of Private J. S. Crerar and Private Harry Nethercott in France cast a wave of great sorrow over the whole village last week. They were both young men of noble character and as teacher and pupil in our high school were both highly esteemed by every one. 

A memorial service was held in the Baptist Church on Sunday morning for Mr. Crerar, where he was an adherent, which was attended by many, including the pupils of the high school. 

The Rev. Mr. Smith preached a fine sermon, in which he make some touching references to Mr. Crerar, whose chair in the choir was draped with the Union Jack.

The following is from a page 3 article in the 3 May 1917 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.

J. Stewart Crerar, M.A., was killed in action on Vimy Ridge, April 9th.

He left the principalship of Port Rowan High School less than a year ago, along with one of his pupils, Harold Nethercott of Houghton. Today both lie in France, heroes in the fight on Vimy Ridge. They worked together in Port Rowan and on Vimy Ridge. They died together.

J. S. Crerar was a most loveable and popular teacher. His success was enviable. His pupils made excellent showings in examinations and class records. He was able to instill them with an appreciation of life's opportunities and a strong desire to work, not for the sake of the pleasure of working, as much as for the result of it.

Although he lived living in Norfolk only a little more than two years, J. S. Crerar  made an impression in this section of it that can never die: his influence for good, clean manhood will be lasting.

Also see John's Attestation paper: side 1 | side 2

John S. Crerar

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