Saturday, 25 April 2015

Hartley Munro Thomas (1896 - 1970) - Canadian

Born in Vancouver but of Scottish origin, Hartley Munro Thomas joined the Canadian Infantry Battalion the 131st Westminsters and was posted to the Western Front.

In the Introduction to Thomas's WW1 collection of poems, S.W. Dyde, who was at the time the Principal of Queen's Theological College, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said:

"When the war broke out young Hartley was just eighteen, and was taking an honors course in History andPolitical Science in Queen's University at Kingston. He enlisted immediately, only to find himself unfit. Thereupon he settled down to take his officer's training, and was at once given the position of war editor of the Regina Province. 

After this experience in journalism, he taught school in a settlement of Germans and Swedes in southern Saskatchewan until he became fit for service. Then going home to Vancouver, he was given a commission in the 131st Westminsters, and, at the outbreak of the Somme offensive, was one of a special draft of officerssent forward. Thus he served with the Western Scots, and in one of his last poems, 'The Pipes o' War', can be seen the pride he took in his Highland regiment. He was proud of Highland blood, and the tartans meantmuch to him. 

After the taking of Vimy Ridge he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, enthusiasm for which had long filled his letters. He was soon flying with Sir Julian Byng's army and shared in the adventures of the Cambrai offensive."

"Songs of an Airman and other poems" was published in 1918 by McClelland, Goodchild and Stewart, Toronto and can be read on-line here

See also "We wasn't pals: Canadian Poetry and Prose of the First World War" edited by Barry Callaghan and Bruce Meyer and published by Exile Editions, Ontario, Canada, 2001 

Photo: Hartley Munro Thomas from

I have been unable to find out more about Hartley Munro Thomas.  Can anyone help please?