The 117th Eastern Townships Overseas Battalion
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THE 117th Battalion Association
The 117th Battalion Association was formed in 1930 and the first reunion was held at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in August of that year. This hotel was located on the corner of Wellington and Aberdeen streets in Sherbrooke (until the 1960's).
The Association met every year thereafter, usually in August, and varied its meeting place throughout the Eastern Townships. Locations included Sherbrooke, Ayers Cliff, Bury, Magog and Coaticook among others. The last reunion was held in 1958.
The Association did its part to ensure that former battalion members who were ailing in health were given some comforts - usually in the form of cigarettes. In 1945, in lieu of a reunion, the Association donated its treasury towards the purchase of a Bren gun for the war effort overseas. Although members of the 117th Battalion Association were deemed too old to fight in WWII, they were still willing to do their part for the war effort. In 1950, during the Korean War, the Association wrote to the Minister of National Defence and volunteered the membership as a civil defence organization. The offer was much appreciated by the Minister's office but reminded the Association that civil defence matters were the jurisdiction of local municipalites.
Over the years, much of the the Association's notes and attendance registers have been lost. Those that are still available been donated to the Eastern Townships Research Centre at Bishop's University, Lennoxville Quebec.
It is my intention to continue to search for 117th Association notes and registers at which time a more detailed history will be written. If you have any notes from 1930 to 1958 please contact me.
PRESIDENTS OF THE 117th BATTALION ASSOCATION
1930-31 ...LCol A.C. Hanson
1932-33 ...Sgt Wray P Adams, MM
1934 ........LCol H Boutelle
1935 ........Corporal W Willshire
1936 ........LCol H Robinson, MC
1937 ........Capt W McCutcheon
1938 ........Corporal F Whiting
1939 ........LCol Sam Echenberg
1940 ........LCol A Whitehead
1941-44 ...Lt R Farley
1945 .......No Reunion - Bren guns Purchased
1946 .......George A Johnson
1947 .......Tom Cockburn
1948 .......Corporal F West, MM and bar
1949 .......Jack Meade
1950 .......Corporal F Barber, MM
1951 .......Fred Tyler
1952 .......QMS Henry Parson
1953 .......Sgt O Hamilton
1954 .......Sgt L Shaw, MM
1955 .......Charlie Smith
1956 .......Major Locke
1957 .......Frank Price
1958 .......James Breckenridge
Photo of the 1966 117th Battalion reunion: (from l. to r. Charles Smith; S.J. Sayer; Foster Shorten; Henry D. Pearson; Fred Adams; James Strickland; Ed Kingsland; Fred H. West *(last surviving member of the 117th Battalion)