Wigle, Ernest Samuel: Lieutenant Colonel

Digitized Service Record

Lt. Col. E.S. Wigle was the first commanding officer of the 18th Battalion and served until shortly into June of 1916.


A Traitor in the Ranks article quoting Lt.-Col. Wigle.

The 18th Battalion Leaving Windsor, 1914 — Lt. Col. E.S. Wigle (left), O.C. 18th Battalion, Rev. Arthur Carlisle, Lt. Col. Casgrain.
Source: http://heritage.windsorpubliclibrary.com/cdm/ref/collection/archives/id/2615

Colonel Ernest S. Wigle

Colonel Wigle, B.A., K.C., V.D., was born March 5, 1859, in the Township of Gosfield South, Essex County, and is the son of Solomon Wigle, ex-M.P. and Ann Iler. He worked on his father’s farm until he was 17, then began his education spending one year at the Kingsville Public School and two years at Galt Collegiate Institute before entering Toronto University, where he graduated in the Honor Course of Mental and Moral philosophy and Civil Polity in 1884. He proceeded to Osgoode Hall to study law and before being admitted to the Bar, married Alice M. Hirons, the daughter of the late William B. Hirons, of the City of Windsor. In 1887 he completed his course in law, was called to the Bar and began practice in Windsor. In the years that followed he had enjoyed enviable success, both in general practice and counsel work, the latter field taking in all the Courts of Canada and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of England.

The Colonel’s life has been crowded with activity and the flower of his endeavor is the reputation that only the finest type of citizen can enjoy. Only a rugged constitution such as his could have borne the strain of as many interests.

In the municipal life of Windsor he served 11 years on the Board of Education, acting as chairman for three years, also as Mayor for five years and a member of the Board of Park Management ever since its organization in 1917, acting as chairman on two occasions.

In Provincial and Dominion politics he is one of the outstanding Conservatives and in 1917, after his return from the Great War, he ran as Conservative candidate of the Union Government but was defeated by the late Hon. W.C. Kennedy, who received the large French vote of the community on the plea of “No Conscription.”

In military life his achievement is an inspiration to those who cherish their country. In 1874 he enlisted as a Private in “B” Troop of the First Hussars in Kingsville, and later in the 21st Essex Fusiliers, passed from one rank to the other until, in 1912, he became its Commanding Officer. He served in this capacity for two years and in October 1914, after the outbreak of the Great War, enlisted and organized the Eighteenth Battalion, which he commanded in France until the summer of 1916, when he returned to Canada on the death of his wife. He participated in many engagements in France but the most outstanding is when he personally commanded a detachment of 500 men in an attack on the Craters of St. Eloi in 1916. Upon his return to Canada he command the Third Brigade, Camp Borden Training Camp, and was promoted to full Colonel in 1917.

He has a keen interest in Boy Scout work and has been a District Commissioner since its first organization in Canada in 1910. He attended Jamborees in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1924, and Liverpool, England, in 1929. At the present time he is vice-president of the Provincial Council in Ontario.

In religion the Colonel is an Anglican and has attained the highest office that a layman can hold in the Diocese of Huron, being appointed Chancellor of the Diocese by the late Archbishop Williams in May, 1931.

His rugged constitution is to a great extent due to his love of outdoor sports. At Toronto University he played Rugby Football and in 1883 became Captain of a team which was the first to ever defeat McGill University. The game that he was most keenly interested was Cricket, and it is not unusual to-day to see him playing Cricket and excelling those many years his junior. One of the athletic parks of the Coty is named after him for the interest that he has shown in sports in all its branches.

The Colonel has six children, all of whom are living.

Source: Source: History of the Wigle Family and Their Descendants via Southwestern Digital Archive accessed via https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/80560365.pdf

Source: The Canadian Experience of the Great War, pg. 510.
Service Record ES Wigle Lt Col

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