William Merton Overton Lochead was born 10 January 1874 in Camden Township, Ontario to parents of Scottish decent. When war broke out in 1914, Lochead was living and working in Waterloo County as the District Manager of the Mutual Life Assurance Company. As a leading citizen in the community, Lochead was the president of the Berlin Board of Trade. When war began in Europe, Lochead became a supporter of the war effort and was involved in recruitment efforts for raising a battalion for overseas service in the County. He joined the 108th Regiment as a Major on 7 November 1914, a new unit formed at the request of a group of patriotic citizens that same month, despite a lack of any military experience. When 108th Regiment recruits were transferred to Woodstock’s 71st Overseas Battalion instead of deploying as a unit, officials in Waterloo decided to raise another overseas unit in its place. The newly created 118thOverseas Battalion recruited from the northern half of Waterloo County, including the city of Berlin, and Lochead became the new commanding officer. Lochead’s promotion after only fourteen months of militia service was due entirely to Sam Hughes. This inexperience might partially explain fractured relations between unit and North Waterloo County’s large German and Mennonite populations. When Lochead and his battalion were finally sent overseas in 1916, the battalion was quickly broken up and used for reinforcements to existing units in France and Belgium. As a result, in August 1916 Lochead withdrew from overseas service and returned to Waterloo where he finished the war as the commanding officer of a local militia unit. The entire fonds can be viewed on the Waterloo at War site. Click the 118th picture link. Also to view the Finding Aid for the Lochead Fonds click the Archeion link.
Date(s) of Creation
ca. 1914 – 1917
7 boxes, 1.1 metres of textual records.
Scope and Content
The Fonds contains the personal papers of William Merton Overton Lochead as well as files on the 118th Overseas Battalion.