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

Lieutenant James Stanley Lightfoot Welch ’08

Died: July 1, 1916

James Stanley Lightfoot Welch, Lieutenant, 12th (Pioneers) Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, fell in the battle of the Somme on Dominion Day, July 1st, 1916.

Lieut. Welch was the only son of the Rev. Canon Welch, Vicar of Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, and formerly Provost of Trinity College and Rector of St. James’, Toronto. He was born in Toronto, Feb. 10th, 1890, and entered U.C.C. Preparatory School, Sept., 1906, where he remained till June, 1908. He then went to Yardley Court (Preparatory School), Tonbridge, England, for two years, and left for Rugby with an entrance scholarship in 1910. From Rugby he entered King’s College, Cambridge, in 1914, having gained a scholarship there the previous December.

His company commander wrote to his parents : “It may be a consolation to you to know that he died a soldier’s death, leading his men against the enemy, leading them calmly and bravely in face of the heaviest fire troops have ever been called upon to go through. He was always a favourite in the Battalion, and his men would have gone anywhere with him.”

A letter from the O.C. says: “He was loved by officers and men and is a great loss to the Regiment. He was a brave officer and died gallantly leading his platoon against the enemy. He was wounded first of all by a bullet and fell, but was killed immediately afterwards by a shell. He died instantaneously and could have suffered little pain. His last words were—’Never mind me ; carry on.’ He was an excellent officer who always did his duty and did it well. I cannot speak of him too highly.”

A tribute was paid to Lieut. Welch in St. James’ Cathedral by the Rev. C. V. Pilcher, who spoke of him as a boy in Toronto of courteous manner, singular ability and a winning personality, in whom even then many recognized the promise of a manhood of more than ordinary ability. That promise had been amply fulfilled. He carried all before him at Rugby, and won a scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge. Of chief interest to Canadians is the fact that he had always intended to devote his life to Canada; he called himself a Canadian, and hoped to work as a lecturer, perhaps on the staff of a Canadian University.

 College Times (Summer 1916) pg. 3-5


More information about Lieutenant James Stanley Lightfoot Welch ’08 can be found at:

Upper Canada College Roll of Service 1914-1918

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Canada At War

Canadian Great War Project

12th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

The National Archives (UK)