The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives

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Catalog Number F01
Title Major General Robert Rennie Fonds
Scope & Content This fond consists of items belonging to Major General Robert Rennie (1862-1947), one time QOR Commanding Officer and Honorary Colonel. These items include photographs, letters, postcards, and invitation sent to him, WWI casualty lists, mobiliation orders, biographies, newspaper clippings about him, and his obituary.
Reference code CA QORM F01
Language of Material English
Creator Rennie, Robert
Admin/Biographical History Robert Rennie was a Toronto seed merchant and thirty-four year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles. He joined as a rifleman in 1880 and rose to become lieutenant colonel by 1914. Born on 15 December 1862 in Markham, Canada West, Rennie was an expert marksman, respected businessman and prominent sportsman, with a specialty in curling.

In September 1914, Rennie was selected to head the 3rd Battalion, while the QOR commanding officer, Malcolm Mercer, took charge of the 1st Infantry Brigade. In recognition of his leadership during the fighting on the Ypres Salient in spring 1915, Rennie was promoted to brigadier general on 7 November 1915. Command of the 3rd Battalion passed to Captain William D. Allan. Rennie led the 4th Infantry Brigade, composed of the 8th, 19th, 20th and 21st Battalions, from the Somme through Vimy Ridge to Hill 70.

Rennie, RFollowing a four-month absence after a fall from his horse in September 1917, Rennie resumed command of the 4th Brigade in January 1918. Rennie remained in command during the battles of Amiens and Arras until Brigadier General G. E. McCuaig succeeded him on 12 September 1918.

Rennie, who had technically become the QOR commanding officer after the death of General Mercer in June 1916, remained active in the militia regiment after the war. He was promoted to major general in 1921.

In the 1921 federal election, the Liberal Party nominated Rennie to be their candidate in Toronto North in opposition to the Conservative Tommy Church, the wartime mayor of Toronto. Many former soldiers called on Church to step aside in favour of the soldier-candidate. In a campaign speech, one Conservative ex-serviceman endorsed the Liberal candidate: "Major-General Rennie fought with us, and is essentially one of us. We regard him not as a politician, but rather as a Soldier advocate."

In accepting the nomination, Rennie promised to make his first priority to ensure fair and just treatment for disabled soldiers and the families of the fallen. The Globe enthusiastically endorsed the general:

His military record is brilliant, and his personal record is untarnished. His claims on the electorate are those of a gallant soldier, a patriot, a man of high character and sound common-sense, experienced in practical affairs.

Although Prime Minister Meighen and the Conservatives lost 104 seats on the 6 December election, Church managed to retain Toronto North for his party. The Toronto mayor received 12,412 votes to Rennie’s 8,452.

Rennie died on 17 December 1949, two days after his eighty-seventh birthday.
Archival History Items were sent to or collected by MGen Rennie with the exception of his obituary. It is unknown when and how these were given to the museum.
Copyrights No restrictions
Collection Major General Robert Rennie
Condition Good
Search Terms Honorary Colonel
World War, 1914-1918
People Fotheringham
Gibson, Johnny
Higinbotham, George M.
King George V
Kitchener, Herbert
Lloyd-George, David
MacDonald, Maydo Daniel
Massey, Vincent
Mercer, Malcolm
Otter, William Dillon
Pellatt, Henry Mill
Queen Mary
Rennie, Robert
Event World War, 1914-1918
Relation Show Related Records...
Associated Material Rennie's WWI Service Record is available from Library and Archvies Canada: Reference:RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8196 - 15
It has also been digitized and is available online:
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=598170
Dates of Accumulation 1906 to 1949 at latest.
System of arrangement The orginal file folder had no obvious arrangement. Archivist has rearranged into three folders:
01 - Pre First World War items
02 - First World War letters, invites, passess, maps, etc.
03 - First World War photographs
04 - Post First World War items
05 - Post First World War photographs
06 - Undated invitation and photograph
Year Range from 1906
Year Range to 1949
Containers Woman's Photo Portrait
1906 Bisley Invite Letter
1910 Newspaper Clipping re trip to Balmoral Castle and MVO award
1910 Newspaper Clipping
Photograph of man on horse
Letter from Malcolm Mercer
Union Jack Explanation Card
Mobilization Order for Service Overseas
3rd Battalion Christmas Day Officer's Mess Dinner Menu
Table Plan for Dinner in Honour of the Prince of Wales 1919
Shooting Range Photos
Poem: Youthful Gratitude by Al Pat
Photo at Canadian Corps Drumhead Service 1942
Newspaper Clipping of a Poem "The Armchair" by M.S. Mercer
3 Photos of an outdoor service of some kind
Pressed Flowers
Map: The British LIne from Ypres to La Bassee
Pass Issued to Peasant
Letter to Rennie from Arthur Meighen 1917
Admit Bearer to Buckinham Palace
Diembarking Card
Lady's Ticket to Order of St Michael and St George
Pass for Buckingham Palace 3 May 1919
Order of Service in Memory of Field Marshal Earl Roberts
Poems
Special Order of the Day from Sir John French
3rd Battalion Casualty lists from 1915
Letter and Envelope 2 Oct 1910
Dinner Invitation 15 September 1910
Initation to Dinner 24 September 1910
Post War Photograph of Robert Rennie
BGen Robert Rennie at Cross of Sacrifice
Photograph of Three Generals
Three Officers at St Paul's Church
King George visiting Canadian Troops
Rennie's WWI Horses
General Rennie and Staff Officers WWI
Four WWI photographs
Postcard Huff to Rennie 1915
Newspaper Clipping Re Rennie Playing Santa Claus
Note from Mercer to Rennie 1914
Letter from CA Kes to Rennie
Letter from E F Crossland to Rennie
Letter from SH Bradford to Col Rennie
Letter from John A Cooper to Rennie 26 August 1915
Letter from John A Cooper to Rennie20 Sep 1915
Postcard George Sampson to Rennie
Invitation to meet the Duke of York
Photograph in Field by Tip Top Tailors
Letter to Rennie from Lord Byng of Vimy
Letter from DND to Rennie 1932
Letter to Rennie from CMI
Maj Gen Rennie Sketch
Rennie's Service History as of 1941
News Clippings 60th anniversary and obituary