A Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal to Major Stalker; Passchendaele
A Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal to Major Stalker; Passchendaele - George V (MAJOR G.F. STALKER OTTAWA HIGHRS.). Naming is officially impressed. Contact marks and surface wear, near very fine. Accompanied by copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records, Medical History of an Invalid (dated January 27, 1920 at Ottawa), Discharge Certificates, Warrant for Transport in Canada (dated February 5, 1920), Militia of Canada Application Form for the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, two Obituaries, Maps of his Burial Plot at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, along with assorted letters of correspondence and recommendation. Footnote: George Frederick Stalker was born on January 18, 1877 in London, England, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Frederick Stalker. He had three brothers, Moray Stalker, Arthur Stalker and Andrew Stalker. His father, George Frederick Stalker (Senior, 1841-1895) was an Architect by trade, as was his father before him, Peter Stalker (1808-1886, who had served as the chief assistant, draughtsman and Inspector of Works in the office of Peddie & Kinnear, a leading architectural firm in Edinburgh). The family immigrated to Canada, settling in Ottawa, Ontario, with the Senior Stalker obtaining a position as a Staff Architect in the Department of Public Works, remaining there for one year, before opening his own office in 1884. By all accounts, he was a talented designer and skilled delineator, along with being a strong proponent of the Romanesque Revival style in his designs for public buildings and for ecclesiastical works. His career was highlighted by a number of accomplishments, including: founding the Ottawa Institute of Architects in 1889; promoting the idea of open government architectural competitions in 1894; designing the Ottawa Union Station for the Rideau Street site in 1895; designing mansions in Ottawa; was one of the few Canadian architects of his time who was articulate enough to write lengthy essays on the subject of architectural styles and the use of colour in architecture, with many of those essays being published in issues of Canadian Architect & Builder (Toronto); writing a series of eleven teaching articles on architecture from 1891 to 1895; and as Headmaster of Drawing at the Ottawa School of Art, he lectured frequently on all aspects of architecture. He was to die a young man, as he succumbed to apoplexy (an unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke), passing away suddenly in 1895, at the age of 54. The Junior Stalker did not follow in his father and grandfather's footsteps, shunning architecture as a career. He joined the 43rd Ottawa and Carlton Rifles as a Private, on April 1, 1894, later achieving the rank of Corporal and finishing his term with the regiment on December 31, 1898, accruing four years and nine months service. Stalker moved to Western Canada, where he spent several years engaged in the lumber business and became a Master of the British Columbia Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. It was here that he was to meet his future wife, marrying Clara Belle Stalker (nee Montgomery) in 1906 in British Columbia. The couple would have three children together, a son, Geordie Moray Stalker and two daughters, Constance Stalker and the later married Mrs. H.E. Morgan (her Christian name unavailable). While the First World War raged in Europe, Stalker served with the 107th (East Kootenay) Regiment as a Captain, with the East Kootenay Internment Guard, his service totalling one year, eight months and nineteen days, from September 1, 1914 to May 19, 1916, with the latter part of that service seeing Stalker attending the Royal School of Infantry in Victoria, British Columbia, from January to May 1916. Stalker was a resident of Victoria, British Columbia when he resigned his commission with the 107th (East Kootenay) Regiment and enlisted with the British Columbia University Company, signing his Attestation Paper with the 196th Infantry Battalion "Western Universities C.E.F. Battalion", on May 19, 1916, in Victoria, at the age of 39, naming his next-of-kin as his wife, Clara B. Stalker, stating the he belonged to an Active Militia, the 107th (East Kootenay) Regiment, that he had two years' previous service with the 43rd Regiment Ottawa and Carlton Rifles and one and a half year's service with the 107th (East Kootenay) Regiment, that he was Married and that his trade was that of Accountant. The Battalion was raised from Western Universities with mobilization headquarters at Winnipeg, Manitoba under the authority of G.O. 69, July 15, 1916. The Battalion sailed November 1, 1916 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel D.S. MacKay with a strength of 32 officers and 974 other ranks, arriving in Liverpool, England on November 11th. Stalker was appointed Acting Lance Corporal on September 16, 1916. In England, the 196th Infantry Battalion was absorbed into the 19th Reserve Battalion on January 1, 1917, with Stalker seeing another appointment, this time to Acting Corporal, on February 27th. Two months after his appointment to Acting Corporal, he reverted to the permanent grade of Private, in order to proceed for service overseas. He was transferred to the 46th Infantry Battalion "South Saskatchewan Battalion", arriving in the French theatre on April 25, 1917. This transfer occurred just after the Battle of Vimy Ridge and was likely part of a draft to bring the unit up to strength. He would likely would have seen action at Hill 70 in August of that year. His service with the 46th Battalion was interrupted for ten days, as he attended the 4th Canadian Division School, from May 11 to 21, 1917, before rejoining his unit. Three months later, he was promoted to Corporal on August 21, 1917 and appointed Lance Sergeant the following day. Stalker was in action on the first day of the Second Battle of Passchendaele, when he suffered shrapnel wounds to his right hand and shoulder, on October 26, 1917. The 46th Infantry Battalion had a total strength of 600 at Passchendaele, 103 of which became casualties, with many of those enduring shrapnel wounds from their own artillery. The following day, he was admitted to No. 3 General Hospital at Le Treport, on October 27th. It was here that he was diagnosed with a fracture of the third and fourth metacarpals of his right hand, with the shrapnel ball lodged on the ulnar side of the fourth metacarpal. It was subsequently removed by surgical incision on November 3rd. Ten days after surgery, he was invalided to England and posted to the Saskatchewan Regimental Depot, on November 13th. Stalker was admitted to Bath War Hospital onNovember 16th and would recuperate there for the next five months, until being transferred to No. 13 Canadian Military General Hospital at Hastings, on April 23, 1918. He was hospitalized for another two months at Hastings, until June 17th, when he was transferred again, this time to No. 5 Canadian General Hospital at Liverpool, in preparation for return to Canada. Four days later, he was invalided to Canada for further medical treatment, sailing on September 20th, aboard His Majesty's Hospital Ship Neurelia and arriving in Canada on October 1st. He was posted to Queen's in Kingston, Ontario for recuperation from his injuries, on October 4, 1918. Stalker was discharged from active service as being Medically Unfit, on February 15, 1919. A week after being discharged, he was attached to the Corps of Military Staff Clerks Headquarters, Section "A", in Ottawa, on February 22nd and was named Staff Sergeant (Provisionally), followed by an appointment that Summer, to Quartermaster Sergeant (Provisionally), on July 2, 1919. In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated January 27, 1920 at Ottawa, the attending physician noted that Stalker had "Restricted movement of (the) right hand - flexion off all fingers impaired - 3rd finger worse - extension of first finger impaired. Extension of the wrist beyond a straight line impossible. Flexion of the wrist to a radius of 30 degrees from a straight line with arm. Grip of thumb and index finger fair, remainder poor, impossible to close hand beyond 1/4 of normal. Can use pen with restrictions." He went on to describe his overall state of affairs: "Complains of inability to concentrate - grip of right hand about one quarter of right hand. Memory poor - pain in forearm when he tries to grip an object tightly. General condition otherwise good, other systems normal." The physician noted that the shrapnel wound was about on inch across on the right side of thorax, that Stalker had a scar two inches long on the dorsum of his right hand, along with a scar from a shrapnel wound on his back. Quartermaster Sergeant Stalker was employed with No. 9 Detachment (Section "A"), Corps of Military Staff Clerks Headquarters in Ottawa, when he was declared "discharged upon demobilization as being medically unfit for general service", on January 31, 1920. His Canadian Expeditionary Force service lasted three years, eight months and twelve days, with the war service doubled as a credit towards the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal. He was credited with having served in Canada, England, France and Belgium. For his First World War service, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. After the war, he returned to the Ottawa Highlanders, which later became the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.), first in the rank of Captain, and later, achieving the rank of Major. His tenure with the Highlanders would last for eight years and twelve days, from September 18, 1921 to September 30, 1929. Overall, Stalker was credited with twenty one years, ten months and twenty-five days service, making him eligible for the award of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, which was issued to him by Government Order 8 on January 1, 1930. The medal was presented to him by the Officer Commanding the Ottawa Highlanders. Stalker was with the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, Ottawa Highlanders, when he retired on September 1, 1933, having reached the mandatory age limit. As well being well known in military circles in the Capital, he was a prominent member and secretary of the St. Andrew's Society and attended Holy Trinity Anglican Church. He continued to be on the roll of the Cameron Reserves, and was employed on the Staff of the Records Branch of the Department of National Defence for almost twenty years, his last years in the role of Head Clerk in the Records Office. He took ill, forcing him to take a leave of absence from his duties and after two weeks away from work, was admitted to hospital. One week after being admitted to hospital and three weeks after taking his leave of absence, he suddenly passed away. Stalker died on June 6, 1940, at the age of 63 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa. At his grave site, he received semi-military honours, with the coffin draped with the Union Jack, however no volley was fired, nor Last Post sounded. The grave is marked by a small ground square stone. His brother, Andrew, the former Deputy Waterworks Engineer for Ottawa, had predeceased him a year earlier.