THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 11 August 1914 – The officer named second-in-command of the newly formed Royal Montreal Regiment was Lieut.-Colonel William Watt Burland, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada.
William Watt Burland was born at Montreal, September 9th, 1877, son of Lieut.-Col. William Benjamin Burland MD and Flora Stewart (Watt) Burland. He was educated in Montreal. He became a Lieutenant, in the Canadian Military in 1895; Captain, 1903; Major, 1910, and Lieutenant-Colonel 12 Sept. 1912. After being appointed second in command of the 14th Battalion in 1914 he went overseas with the Battalion in September 1914.
In June 1915 Burland was gazetted to succeed Lt.-Col. F.S. Meighen in command of the 14th Battalion in France, a post he held until October 28th, 1915. He was then posted to command the Canadian Military School, at Shorncliffe. He was “Mentioned in Despatches” three times and was wounded in May 1915. For distinguished service in the field Lieutenant Colonel Burland was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order following the Second Battle of Ypres [London Gazette, 23 June, 1915].
Following his appointment at Shorncliffe, Burland was appointed General Staff Officer for the 39th Division Imperial Army October 24th, 1917 to July 19th, 1918. He then moved to the IX Corps, Imperial Army for the period July 20th, 1918 to January 22nd, 1919.
Lieut.-Colonel William Watt Burland died December 17th, 1935. At his funeral on December 20th six former Victoria Rifles Commanding Officers acted as pall bearers at the head of a long cortege. Burial took place in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal.
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