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Discover the stories and remember the lives of UCC
Old Boys who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War.

Captain Wilfred James Dobson (Faculty)

Died: July 9, 1916

Capt. Wilfred J. Dobson, from 1908-1 910 a Master at Upper Canada College, was killed in action on July 9th, 1916.

Capt. Dobson was a native of England, educated at St. Paul’s School, and Exeter College, Oxford. When war broke out he at once enlisted as a private in the Q.O.R., and crossed with the first Canadian Expeditionary Force. Before long he got a commission in the Royal West Surreys, afterwards exchanging back to the C.E.F. 1st Batt. He was appointed Captain at the front, and at the time of his death was Acting Major.

After leaving Upper Canada Capt. Dobson was at Ridley for a year, leaving there to go into business. At the time of his enlistment he was captain of the Toronto Cricket Club, being one of the best batsmen on the team, and one of the most popular members.

Capt. Dobson is deeply regretted by all who knew him, for his quiet humor, unfailing courtesy and thorough sportsmanship.

College Times (Summer 1916) pg. 25


More information about can be found at:

Upper Canada College Roll of Service 1914-1919

Exeter College, Oxford, Roll of Honour (pg 47)

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Canadian Great War Project

Canada At War

Cranleigh – They Gave Their Today

Library Archives Canada


In December 2015 researcher Matthew McClymont graciously supplied the following supplementary information on his own research into Captain Dobson:


  • Born on March 4th, 1878, in East Dulwich, England
  • April 14th, 1878, Major Dobson was christened at St. John the Evangelist Church in East Dulwich, Surrey, England.
  • His father was William C. Dobson; his mother was Charlotte Dobson a declared a British subject from France; his older brother of three years was John F Dobson; and his younger sister of two years was Grace Dobson.
  • Date of his matriculation was in 1898 from St Paul’s School and Exeter College of Oxford University, graduating on the Honor Roll (graduated in languages).
  • Immigration into Canada was in September 1909 on the Ottawa at the age of 31. First arrived in Canada in Quebec City heading for Toronto, Ontario, as appointed schoolmaster.
  • Assistant Master UCC in 1909.
  • Moved to Ridley College in 1911 where he taught commercial business.
  • Captain of the Toronto Cricket Club.
  • Played for the Cranleigh C.C., Exeter College (Oxford), and the Toronto C.C, was Secretary of the last-named (cricket) and its Captain in 1914.


  • Major Wilfred Dobson signed up for the war on September 23rd, 1914, assigned regimental number 9436.
  • His attestation papers are jumbled, however is clear is that he spent a short time with Q.O.R., The Royal Surreys, and later with the C.E.F., starting in the 3rd battalion and moving to the 1st where he would stay.  Captain of the 1st Battalion in 1915, later to become Adjutant* in late 1915 to early 1916, he became acting Major of the 1st Battalion on June 10th, 1916. * Starting in September up until January the initials WJD appear on the 1st battalion war diaries ledger as Adjutant sign off.
  • Killed in action at Zillebeke, Belgium on July 9th, 1916.
  • Major Dobson was buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery in Belgium.

Sources Consulted by Mr. McClymont:

“England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008, Wilfred James Dobson, 1878,” database, FamilySearch.
Accessed November 23, 2015. http://www.familysearch.org.
Original document found at the General Register Office, Southport, England.

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Wilfred James Dobson, 14 Apr 1878,” database, FamilySearch.
Accessed November 23, 2015. http://www.familysearch.org.
Original document found at Surrey History Archives, Surrey, England, reference item 3-7, number 1028; FHL microfilm 2,214,494. surreyarchives.org.uk.

“England and Wales Census, 1881, Wilfred J Dobson in household of William C Dobson” database, FamilySearch.
Accessed November 23, 2015. http://www.familysearch.org.
Original document found at The National Archives of the UK, Twickenham, Surrey, England. RG 11, Piece/Folio 656/60, microfilm 101,774,367.

Malpass, Robert. “Exeter College Oxford Honor Roll 1914-1918.”
Compiled documents, Exeter College, 2007.
Retrieved from http://www.exeter.ox.ac.uk

“430 Men were Missing, 155 Now Prisoners: To-day’s casualty list contains the names of 45,” The Toronto Daily Star, July 14, 1916, p. 2.
Accessed on October 20, 2015, retrieved from the online on Proquest.

“Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922, Wilfred J. Dobson, Sep 1909,” database with images, FamilySearch, reference number 004541727.
Accessed November 23, 2015. www.familysearch.org.
Original document found at Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, RG 76, T-4763, Item number 5212.

“Major W. J. Dobson Killed in Action,” The Toronto Daily Star, July 14, 1916, p. 13.
Accessed on November 25, 2015, retrieved from the online Proquest library.

Deaths in the War, 1916.” ESPNCricInfo.
Accessed on November 24, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.espncricinfo.com.

Major Wilfred J. Dobson. Attestation paper and Personnel Files for Maj. W. J. Dobson, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 2554, File 42,
Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918 – Canadian Expeditionary Force.

“Cranleigh War Memorial.” They Gave Their Today. Accessed on November 23, 2015.
Retrieved from http://www.theygavetheirtoday.com

Veteran Affairs Canada. “Canadian Virtual War Memorial,” last modified April 29, 2015.

1st Infantry Battalion War Diaries, September 1914 – November 1916, RG9, Series III-D-3, Volume 4912, Reel T-10704, File 350, War Diaries of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
Accessed online on October 21, 2015. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/.
Note: This seems to align with the same time he takes the role of Adjutant, and would be his personal writings on the 1st’s movements.