Harvey Gladstone Fleming (Pte)

One more Fleming went to war. Harvey Gladstone Fleming, 21 years old, living in Kilsyth, Derby Township, responded to the Country’s now more fevered call for volunteer recruits.

He went even though he was a farmer. Farmers were usually discouraged from enlisting because of the importance of food production; and under the Military Service Act of 29 August 1917 they were exempt from conscription.   In

Recruitment Poster c 1916. Coutesy of Toronto Public Library

fact at Vimy in April 1917, only 6% of the men who fought were farmers; clerical workers made up 19% and manual workers 65%.(1)

Born 17 September 1895, Harvey was the son of John and Emma Fleming (John farmed 50 acres on Concession 9 Lot 11), and grandson of Alexander “Sandy” Fleming.

Like many other Fleming men he was of fair complexion, blue (or hazel) eyes, and light brown hair. He was a bit taller than others  at 5 feet 10 inches, weighing 145 pounds.

He was attested on 24 January 1917 into the 248th Grey Overseas Battalion.  By mid-1917 he was in England in the 8th Reserve Brigade. During training he was hospitalized for a mild case of mumps for two weeks (10-July-1917 to 1 August 1917).

Finally, in 28 January 1918  he was posted to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, as so many other Grey County men had been. The 4th CMR was in the Vimy area at Neuville-St-Vaast  in north-east France and Belgium, and was in the vanguard of the push into German-held territory during the “Last Hundred Days” (August 1918) – a time of high casualties for Canadian forces (1). Shortly after Armistice day, Harvey, like so many others, succumbed to the Spanish Flu (24 November 1918 to 5 January 1919).   He was discharged in Toronto from service 27 May 1919.

Harvey is recognized in a short entry at the website for the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles http://www.4cmr.com/fleminghg.htm


1. “Recruitment and Conscription” (Canada) by Christopher Sharpe (22 June 2016) International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Further Reading about Recruitment

“The eager doomed: The story of Canada’s original WWI recruits”, Tim Cook, Globe and Mail (1 Aug 2014)

“Voluntary Recruitment”, Canada and the First World War, Canadian War Museum. (n.d)

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