Harvey Watt Cockshutt

Unit at enlistment: 
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Survived the war: 
Date of death: 
June 2nd, 1916
Zantvoorde British Cemetery - Ypres, Belgium - V.J.5.
Commemorated at: 
Grace Anglican Church, Zion Presbyterian Church, Freemason Doric Lodge No. 121, B.C.I. High School Memorial Plaque
Birth country: 
Birth county: 
Birth city: 
Brantford, Ontario
Address at enlistment: 
40 Lorne Crescent, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
40 Lorne Crescent, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Cockshutt Plow Co.
Religious denominations: 
Marital status: 
Age at enlistment: 

Letters and documents

Circumstances of Casualty: Previously for official purposes presumed to have died, now Killed in Action.
Location of Unit at Time of Casualty: Vicinity of Maple Copse.

BX June 7, 1916

Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt Reported Missing – Son of Mrs. James G. Cockshutt in Latest Ypres Battle List

Lieutenant Harvey W. Cockshutt has been reported missing according to the noon official casualty lists today. Lieut. Cockshutt is a son of Mrs. James G. Cockshutt and a nephew of Lieutenant Colonel Harry Cockshutt, officer commanding the 215th Battalion.

He left Brantford with a draft from the 25th Brant Dragoons early in the war and in Toronto was attached to the 4th C.M.R., going overseas with the second contingent.

Lieutenant Harvey Cockshutt was a director of the Cockshutt Plow Co., and one of the most popular young men in the city. His mother is at present in Toronto and the first intimation his uncle, Col. Cockshutt, had that he was missing was when queried by The Expositor shortly after 1 o’clock.

BX June 10, 1916

Harvey Watt Cockshutt Officially Reported

The casualty list issued at noon today officially reports Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt of Brantford as missing. The Expositor announced this a few days ago.

BX June 26, 1916

Was Unconscious For Eight Hours – Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt Was Wounded in Head When Germans Came on

Lieutenant Gordon Cockshutt, 7th C.M.R., has after a visit to the front, ascertained particulars of the wounding of his cousin, Lieut. Harvey Watt Cockshutt, who was recently reported missing. Yesterday Mr. Frank Cockshutt received the particulars his son learned while at the front.

The letter stated that his men had stayed for eight hours with Harvey and that he was still unconscious when they left him. His wounds, in the head, however, would not be fatal if he were properly treated, in their opinion, for there was no break in his skull.

Owing to a heavy attack starting, the Canadians were forced to leave the front line trenches, but before they left, they had Harvey packed in between sandbags. At the time they left, there was no shelling, the attack being an infantry one, so it is not thought he would have been subject to further injuries.
Provided he was given treatment by the enemy and properly cared for, those who had been with him thought he should recover, though a German prisoner.

BX October 4, 1916

Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt is Not a Prisoner – Private Albert Stuart, Now in German Camp at Minden Makes a Report 

That Lieutenant Harvey Cockshutt is dead is the opinion of Private Albert Stuart, a Brantford boy, who was in his company and is now a prisoner of war in Germany. In July, when Mrs. Thomas Stuart, 142 Alfred Street, was writing to her son, she asked him to find out, if possible, if Mr. Cockshutt was living. The letter from her son, who is now a prisoner of war in Minden, Germany, is self-explanatory:

I received your letter, dated July 10, and was pleased to hear from you. In your letter, you ask for information as regards to Mr. Cockshutt. I was attached to his company and was with him in the front line during the bombardment when the Germans made their attack. I was in a shell hole with Mr. Cockshutt and a wounded man. I made for a better position about 15 yards from him, but I am sorry to say he must be dead, as he put up a determined fight. He is not among the prisoners and he is not in hospital.

As for Harry Laird, he was in “C” Company, and they were in the front line. From enquiries made he is not a prisoner nor in hospital. Most of the Brantford boys were in “A” Company. I saw Tom Ross early in the fight and have never seen him since. Sergt.-Major Vair is a prisoner. The slight wound I got is in the head is better now and the Germans gave me every attention when I was sick. I received the parcel of foodstuff. The bread was in poor condition. I also received a parcel from Mrs. J. Cockshutt. You can write letters and send parcels every week or more. We are only allowed to send two letters and four post cards a month, so I will expect one every week.

BX February 28, 1917

Presumed Dead

The family of Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt have received official word from Ottawa that he is presumed to be dead. This is the first official intimation of this character.

BX February 28, 1917

Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt Gave Up His Life For His Ideals – “I Don’t Want to Go but I Consider it My Duty to Go” He Said – Bright Prospects

Though a director and a foreign sales manager of the Cockshutt Plow Company and with a future before him that was decidedly bright in prospect. The call of duty was answered by Harvey Cockshutt. And the news that came yesterday to the family here that, after having been missing since June last, he was presumed dead, came as a distinct shock, hope having been held out that as in other cases of a similar kind, where a soldier was seriously wounded, eventually word would be received that he was still alive. That as not to be, apparently, and in his passing Brantford loses a young citizen whose place will be hard to fill.

He was not of the adventurous type, but a steady going, hard thinking young Canadian. “I don’t want to go, but I consider it my duty to go,” he commented when he told members of the family that he had decided to go overseas. There was nothing more to be said. He saw his duty and fulfilled it, though in the fulfilling he laid down his life.

He was the only son of Mrs. J.G. Cockshutt of this city, and at the time of his death was 33 years of age. Educated in Brantford schools, he went to McGill University, Montreal where he graduated with credit. Returning he joined the staff of the Cockshutt Plow Company, being first in the local office for some time. He was then transferred to the staff of the office at Winnipeg and Regina. Again he returned to Brantford, then being appointed foreign sales manager in which position he traveled extensively, having completed a trip to Australia and around the world just shortly before the war broke out. In 1913, he was elected a director of the company.

It was not long after war broke out that he volunteered his services, going with the cavalry, which eventually became the 4th C.M.R. The regiment was turned into infantry and on June 2, 1916, held a portion of the Canadian front line at Ypres. The Germans rushed the position that day, the attack being successful for the time. In leading his men, Lieut. Cockshutt was wounded severely. His men placed him in a shell hole, sand-bagged the position to give him as much protection as possible, and bound up his wounds to the best of their ability. That was the last heard of him up till yesterday. Since that, the members of the family sought through every channel to secure definite information, following up every clue that was presented. The hospitals and prison camps in Germany were searched for him through the Red Cross and the U.S. embassy, and on Monday, the word was received, belated, through the latter channel, that he had been killed and that details of his burying place were being forwarded by mail. First officially posted as missing, the Canadian records now relate that his is “presumed dead.”

He was a single man, active in athletics, and a member of Zion Presbyterian Church. He was more than respected – he was esteemed by all with whom he came in contact. He was democratic to the last degree, and was loved by the men who served under him in the C.M.R. He was an ideal type of young manhood and in dying for his country, he lived up to his ideals. The late Lieut. Cockshutt was a member of Doric lodge, A.F. & A.M.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations)
Probate Date:  April 12, 1919

Cockshutt, Harvey Watt of Brantford, Brant, Canada.  Lieutenant Canadian Expeditionary Force died on or since 2 June, 1916 in France Administration (with Will limited) London 12 April to Edward Harris Ledward solicitor the attorney of Harry Cockshutt, George Alfred Baker and the Toronto General Trusts Corporation.  Effects £1892 11s. 4d

BX January 18, 1916

Further Thanks for Gifts Sent – Brantford Chapter, I.O.D.E. Sent Christmas Gifts to Men at the Front – Their Appreciation

Miss Van Norman, secretary of Brant Chapter, I.O.D.E., has received several further letters from Brantford officers now at the front, expressing their very hearty thanks for the good things sent by the I.O.D.E. to their men for Christmas. The spirit of all the letters is cheerful and optimistic. The letters read as follows:

December 21, 1915

Dear Miss Van Norman,

I wish on behalf of the men and myself to express many thanks to the I.O.D.E., for their very welcome Christmas gift.

The barrel of jelly arrived when we were up on the front line and as we have very inadequate transport facilities I was unable to hold it intact for Christmas.

I divided it up between all the 25th men in the different squadrons. It worked out one jar to two men. I am sure the men appreciated it then, as they had just completed a hard tour of the trenches.

The box of extras has not yet arrived, but I notified Miss Plummer in the Field Comforts to that effect.

Personally I must thank the I.O.D.E. for their very useful present to myself. We have all received a number of boxes lately and I can tell you we are living de luxe.

We are looking forward to a quiet time at Christmas, but we notice by papers that the Germans are not going to observe the holiday.

With the kindest regards to yourself and others associated with you in the I.O.D.E.

Yours very sincerely,

Lieut. Harvey Cockshutt

BX November 21, 1914

A Send-Off to Lieutenant Harvey Watt Cockshutt

That Lieutenant Harvey Cockshutt of the 25th Brant Dragoons, who left this morning to join the overseas contingent, is popular in this city, and will be greatly missed by a large circle of friends, was the very evident sentiment of a pleasant supper party given in his honor by a number of more intimate friends at the Brantford Club last night. After supper Captain Towers, on behalf of his friends, presented Lieutenant Cockshutt with a handsome wrist watch which was to be an every-minute reminder to him that those who were bidding him God-speed last evening, would be constantly thinking of him while he was fighting for the Empire at the front, and eagerly looking forward to his safe return. Mr. Cockshutt modestly acknowledged the presentation and thanked his friends for their very kind expressions of regard. He had responded gladly to what he felt was a call of duty, and he anticipated that similar calls would come to many of those present before the triumphant entry into Berlin, and he knew that the call would be just as quickly responded to by his friends, some of whom he felt he would meet on the battlefield. Mr. Reginald Scarfe was the chairman of an informal toast list, and everybody was given an opportunity, which was eagerly grasped, to say a few words of good wishes to Lieutenant Cockshutt, the first volunteer from the Brantford Club.

BX August 19, 1920

Dedication of Memorial Camp, Dover – Harvey Watt Cockshutt Memorial Camp Formally Presented to Brantford Y.W.C.A. – Splendid Gift

(By a Staff Reporter)

PORT DOVER, Aug, 19, 1920 – 

“On behalf of the young Women’s Christian Association I dedicate this camp for the glory of God and the good of the womanhood of the city of Brantford, the gift of Mrs. James Cockshutt, presented in memory of her son, the late Lieutenant Harvey Cockshutt.”

In these words Mr. George Wedlake, life member of the Y.M.C.A., and prominent summer resident of Port Dover, impressively dedicated the new Y.W.C.A. camp at Port Dover yesterday afternoon on the grounds of the camp, and from the hands of Master Jack Gibbons, the small grandson of Mrs. James Cockshutt, Mrs. W.S. Brewster, president of the directorate, received the deed of gift, while a large gathering of friends from Brantford and from the summer cottages witnessed the ceremonial under the happiest conditions.

The wonderland of out-of-doors was opened up to the Y.W.C.A. girls and the employed girls of the city in a new way this summer with the opening of these camps, and yesterday the promoters scheme saw how really successful their plan had become and how beautiful and healthful the sojourns were being made. The weather could not have been chosen more favorable and the place more suitably for the affair and many of the visitors interested in the welfare of the girls spent much of their time expressing their surprise over the surroundings, with the view from the cottage over the deep ravine and the wooded hills, made fragrant by the pines and the fruit trees, out to the sweep of sandy beach bordering the blue lake. Under the canopy of heaven and in this beautiful setting of nature the dedication ceremony took place.

None More Beautiful

Rev. W.G. Martin, pastor of the Congregational Church, was the chairman of the occasion and in a few words, every one of which was full of meaning, Mr. Martin made clear the importance of the event. Throughout the land, he said, numerous memorials were being given for soldiers who had fallen, but none was more beautiful or more fitting than the opening of this camp for the girls. Mr. Martin said he regretted that Mrs. Cockshutt was not there to express to her personally some appreciation for her kindness and thoughtfulness, for here was the realization of a dream of ambition of the highest order, for out of her sorrow she was giving joy to theirs, out of loss, increase out of death, life. The beautiful camp would be a perpetual memorial to her son, and he thanked God for the giving of such a gift.

Rev. Howard Deller, pastor of the Port Dover Methodist Church, welcomed the Y.W.C.A. directorate and their friends to the resort on behalf of the rest of the village clergy. Few words were needed from him, he said, for the beautiful spot was a greeting itself, and the people of Port Dover were delighted to have the camp opened up among them.

The Dedication

Following Mr. Wilson’s short address a song was beautifully sung by Miss Maude Taylor. Then Mr. George Wedlake made the dedication.

“We are here,” Mr. Wedlake said, “not merely to enjoy a garden party, but to dedicate this memorial camp for the glory of God and the good of the young womanhood of the city of Brantford.”  There was reason to be thankful to God for His Son who came into this world, and by His coming made possible such occasions as this and made possible also the spirit and love and helpfulness that found expression in Mrs. Cockshutt’s gift of the camp. He was one of those he said, who believed that the world was getting better. The time had passed when the young men were the only consideration and now in every civilized country women were being given their place. The Y.W.C.A. was now flourishing in Brantford beside the Y.M.C.A. Mrs. Cockshutt said the speaker, in dwelling feelingly on the memorial gift, was touched by Jesus Christ in her action. When the war broke out Harvey Cockshutt’s words were: “I don’t want to go, but I feel it is my duty to go,” and he went. And there one morning in June, 1916, in a tremendous assault, he was wounded, and his comrades built a parapet of sandbags about him, but the Germans came on and they were obliged to leave him, and he was never heard of again until February, 1917. His mother in giving this to the Y.W.C.A., Brantford, was keeping alive the memory of the sacrifice of her only son.

The Formal Gift

It was touching then to see little Jack Gibbons step to the platform to take the place of his grandmother and to present the deed of gift to Mrs. W.S. Brewster, making through her, the directorate the owners of the property. Mr. Wedlake placed his hand on the head of little Jack and reminded him he was the great grandson of Ignatius Cockshutt, a name that was connected with hundreds of schemes for betterment in the city of Brantford, and that was ever held in high esteem.

The Acceptance

Mrs. Brewster holding the deed in her hand spoke briefly. She found it difficult, she said, to express the appreciation of each individual member of the directorate to Mrs. Cockshutt, who was herself a charter member but each one was determined to make it a camp of pleasure, peace and restfulness for the girls. She spoke of the work of the camp committee of which Mrs. J.M. Shuttleworth is the convener, and she extended a welcome to the people of Port Dover to visit the camp.

A little surprise followed this, little Miss Kathleen Gibbons was called to the platform and as Mrs. Brewster explained that it was Mr. Wedlake’s birthday, the little maid presented him with an armful of flowers.

When the program was over the guests wandered over the whole camp, buying home cooking on one verandah, or having tea on the screened verandah of the second cottage, or having fortunes told in the third cottage. Those who wished remained in their places and were entertained by a concert of dances, singing and recitations by ten of Miss Whitney’s girls, the part singing being particularly admired. Those who figured in this part of the program were Hilary Wallis, Myrtle Clark, Loreen Schuler, Bessie Scott, Kate Axford, Katharine McKay, Anna McCann, Gladys Clark, Margaret Smiley and Dorothy Clement.

The Memorial Camp

There are three cottages included on the property, situated next to the summer home of Mr. George Wedlake. This year, however, one of the cottages has been rented and only two are in use. An admirable arrangement has been made where by the girls “live” in one of the cottages and sleep in the other. The tables are set in the large common room of one and behind this is the kitchen, where a huge and up-to-date gas stove forms a very important part of the furnishings, for the young appetites are well satisfied at this camp, under the direction of the house mother, Mrs. Tanney. Upstairs there are separate rooms if the campers desire it, but most of the girls find it much jollier to sleep in true camp fashion in one of the beds on the upper verandah, that is all screened in and yet receives the full benefit of the outdoor breezes.

In the neighboring house there is the large sitting room that in normal times, when the camp is not invaded by the directorate, is made attractive and cozy with easy chairs, a large centre writing table and lounge with needful cushions. The big fireplace gives a welcome to all and attractive posters tell of planned sports. After a swim, a paper chase and peanut hunt, girls indicate good times.

The girls in camp tell of happy, joyous times together. They do not have to be at breakfast until 8.30 and no one minds giving a few minutes of the morning to help in straightening the camp and seeing that there are enough potatoes peeled for dinner. These take but a fraction of the time during the day.

One of the best contrivances in this part of the camp is the transformation of what would normally be the kitchen into a room where the girls can come to directly after a swim. The camp is placed so that the girls have a private pathway to the beach and are able to run back to camp and change without going near the public bath house or the park.

Upstairs here, there are also rooms for those wanting them and also the line of beds displaying the quilts that the girls worked on during the winter, in gay array. There is a large room that does duty for a bath room for the girls and where they can dress and wash and splash away in camp fashion with no harm done. “I had no idea it was so lovely,” was the expression of surprise heard on all sides from those who visited the camp for the first time.