Percy’s battery was called into ceremonial action on April 27, 1916, when the Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Hendrie, prorogued the Ontario Legislature. Captain Hendrie was in charge of his new battery, according to the Globe, when the 48th fired the fifteen-gun salute as his father, mother and sister arrived at Queen’s Park for the occasion. Sir John delivered a speech in which he thanked the MPPs (members of the provincial parliament) for “the important legislation [they had] adopted, as well as for the careful and expeditious manner in which [they had] transacted the public business.” One of those items of public business was the Ontario Temperance Act, prohibiting the “sale of intoxicating liquors as beverages to the extent of the powers of this Legislature.” The plan was that at war’s end, with the return of soldiers and with the prohibition having undergone a “full and proper trial,” voters would be able to decide whether to continue or repeal the legislation. Meanwhile, said the lieutenant governor, this measure has been adopted as a “necessity of war, to preserve our strength for the great struggle in which we are engaged.”(1)
The military ceremony in Queen’s Park was touchingly juxtaposed, according to the Globe, with the funeral procession of one Lieutenant Colonel Bruce, making its way along University Avenue to the “plaintive strains of the Dead March.”(1)
Sir John Hendrie was the son of one of Hamilton Ontario’s wealthiest families; his father William had emigrated from Scotland in 1855 to work on the railway. The elder Hendrie made his fortune from a carting and haulage business (which led to an interest in breeding not just cart- but race-horses) and from the Hamilton Bridge and Tool Company. (2) Son John succeeded his father in business, served as mayor of Hamilton, and rose to be a lieutenant-colonel in the militia, having begun as captain of the Hamilton Field Battery. After being elected to the provincial legislature as a Conservative in five successive elections, he was named Lieutenant Governor in September 1914 and knighted the following spring. One of the reasons for his appointment, we are told, was his personal wealth, which enabled him to afford his own residence in Toronto, suitable to vice-regal requirements, until an official residence was completed in 1915.(3)
(1) The Globe (1844-1936). Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers. April 28, 1916.9
(2) William Hendrie (1831-1906), Dictionary of Canadian Biography on-line
(3) Sir John Hendrie (1857-1903), Dictionary of Canadian Biography on-line
The image is Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via the DCB.
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