Posthumous Bar Call for World War I Law Students

October 29, 2018

Some immigrated from abroad or moved from within Canada, others were born and raised Albertans. Some attended the University of Alberta, others studied or articled as students in Calgary, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Lethbridge. Most were in their 20s, three were in their 30s and one was 18-years-old.

Instead of being called to the Bar, 37 Alberta law students answered the ultimate call for our country. They perished in World War I before they could return home to become lawyers.

“Their bravery and sacrifice allow today’s lawyers to continue to stand for justice.” said Don Cranston, QC, President of the Law Society of Alberta. “This is something that should never be taken for granted.”

In memory and recognition of their sacrifice, the Law Society of Alberta Board of Directors (also known as Benchers) passed a resolution to posthumously admit these 37 law students to the Alberta Bar.

This initiative is led by the Legal Archives Society of Alberta’s project titled “We Have Not Forgotten”. The Bar Call ceremony will take place on November 9, 2018 in the Ceremonial Court at the Calgary Court Center at 4 p.m. Families of some of the fallen soldiers will be in attendance and will stand in for their respective Bar Calls.

Provincial Court Judge Catherine Skene is great niece to one of the fallen soldiers and law students. She remarked that “the special Call to the Bar ceremony admitting our Uncle Harold, law student with the firm of Peacock, Skene and Skene, along with 36 other law students who paid the ultimate price, is appreciated and valued by our extended family. It is a welcomed tribute and memorial to all the law students.”

The Legal Archives Society welcomes all to attend and kindly requests RSVPs to lasa@legalarchives.ca.

“This ceremony is a small, but poignant way for the legal profession to remember and honour the sacrifice of the 37 Alberta law students,” said Keith Marlowe, Treasurer of the Legal Archives Society. “It is a particularly fitting tribute to admit them to the Bar this year, which is the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending hostilities.”

Patrick Shea, QC, a partner at Gowling WLG in Toronto, has been working for several years to gather information about articling students across Canada who died in World War I. Mr. Shea identified the students from Alberta, including their biographical information.

We encourage you to take the time to read the information collected about these 37 young men:

Lieutenant Thoburn Stephens Allan, MC­Private Herbert Joseph BallPrivate Francis Benedict BarnesPrivate Percy Douglas Sinclair Broad
Private Bernal Benjamin BrownMajor John Francis CostiganPrivate Henry Humphreys DinningLieutenant Albert Graham Eakins
Lieutenant John Norris EatonLance Corporal Nelson Rankin EnglishCaptain John Ogilvie FairlieLieutenant Thomas Harold Fennell
Second Lieutenant Samuel Cranswick FergusonTrooper Maxwell Donald FraserCorporal Desmond St. Clair GeorgePrivate Joseph Albert Gordon
Lieutenant Pierre-Eugene Guay, MCPrivate George Mason LavellPrivate William Alfred LipsettLieutenant William Roberts Lister, MC
Corporal John William Gow LoganDriver John MacPhersonSergeant John Dalton MacWilliamsLieutenant Warine Frederick Martindale
Lieutenant William Carey McKeeLance Corporal Thomas Gordon McLeanSecond Lieutenant Douglas Rutherford MorisonLance Corporal Frank Procter Oldroyd
Lieutenant Frederick Arnott PerratonCaptain Ernest Frederick John Vernon PinkhamSecond Lieutenant Llewellyn Isaac Hilton RobertsCorporal Alexander Everett Ross
Private Harold Alexander SkeneSecond Lieutenant Roy Clarke SteckleyLance Corporal Edwin Donald Forgie WilsonMajor Joshua Stanley Wright
Major James Christian Lawrence Young