Veteran Stories:
John Newton

Army

  • Before the war, John Newton was the captain of the University of Toronto's Varsity Blues football team. The team was the first winner of the Grey Cup in 1909.

  • John Newton (right) and a fellow soldier. Mr. Newton was part of a contingent from the University of Toronto that went overseas in 1916. Collection courtesy of Mr. Newton's son, Fred Newton.

  • The 67th Battery training at Petawawa War Camp in 1916.

  • John Newton (second from right) and fellow soldiers cross the Atlantic destined for England on the SS Grampian. October 1916.

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"It goes right through until August the 9th, 1918 and it stops there, and that was the day that the Canadian Army struck off at the Battle of Amiens, which was the beginning of the end of the war. I guess he was so busy after that battle started that he never had time to write in the diary. "

Transcript

My name is Fred Newton. I'm the son of John Newton. Most of the people called him Jack, but he had no middle name. He was born in Lymouth, Ontario in 1886. He played football with the University of Toronto team, and dad ended up as captain of the first Grey Cup team in 1909, the year he graduated from university, and then he coached for several years after that, until the war started. Then he enlisted in the Canadian Artillery, in the University of Toronto 57th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery.

The diary he kept started the day they left Halifax for overseas. They trained in England until March of 1917, when they embarked from Southampton and landed in Havre in France. I'll read a portion of the diary:

"Arrived at Havre early in the morning. Immediately embarked. Found the horses on the stables on the dock. The horses of the 82nd and the 83rd, all mixed up. Had a tough job sorting them out. Eventually got hooked up and proceeded to rest camp No. 2, situated above the town on the cliff. Had lunch, had a (?) that night, and proceeded to our tents. Everyone mighty tired. No one has had any sleep since leaving Witley and have all been working like Trojans."

It goes right through until August the 9th, 1918 and it stops there, and that was the day that the Canadian Army struck off at the Battle of Amiens, which was the beginning of the end of the war. I guess he was so busy after that battle started that he never had time to write in the diary.

He was also at Passchenaele and at Vimy in the artillery. He won the Military Cross and he never mentioned it to me, or how it happened, except I have a telegram that came from the government saying that he had been awarded the Military Cross.

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