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

Major Burns Ker Weld Thomson ’99

Died: September 15, 1916

Major B. K. Thomson, reported killed in action Sept. 20th, 191 6, was at Upper Canada College 1895- 1899. Without any previous military experience he joined the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles at the outbreak of war, and passed through all the principal engagements without injury, attaining his majority at the front.

After the battle at Mouquet Farm, Sept. 15th, he volunteered with two others, to approach the German trenches and report. They did not return, and their bodies were found when the regiment advanced. He was thirty-five at the time of his death. Major Thomson was the eldest son of Mr. T. C. Thomson, barrister, of Toronto, and after for some years conducting a private bank in Watson, Saskatoon, was with the firm of B. K. Thomson & Co., stockbrokers, Winnipeg and was Secretary of the Winnipeg Stock Exchange. Major Thomson’s wife and mother are now in England. One brother, Capt. Clive Thomson, was wounded in March, 1916, and another, Lieut. J. R. Thomson, is at Camp Borden.

College Times (Summer 1916) pg. 20-21

Major B. Ker Thomson, son of Mr. T. C. Thomson, 244 Bloor St. W., Toronto, was at U.C.C. from 1895 to 1899. He joined the 1st C.M.R. as Lieutenant, and quickly gained promotion to Captain and Major. He was killed in action on September 20th, 1916.

The following is an extract from a letter sent to a friend by a brother officer, Major Laws :

“I am indeed pleased to be able to tell you something in connection with the death of Major B. Ker Thomson. Major Thomson was killed on the morning of September 20th, 19 16, at Mouquet Farm while in command of his Company in the front line. I should like to add it was while in No-Man’s-Land fighting with, as usual, conspicuous bravery to rescue some of his wounded men that he was killed. With, as always, a total disregard to his own safety he went out in the face of a hail of machine gun and rifle fire just as calmly as if on parade to try and bring in some of his own men, who had been wounded in our attack on the German trenches that morning. It was while so employed he received his death wound. Major Thomson had made himself a great favourite with both his brother officers and men—by his never failing cheerfulness and good-nature—by his great courage and coolness under the heaviest fire. His death is a great sorrow to his friends and also a very great loss to the Battalion. There are only four of the original officers of the Battalion left with us at present. Our losses have been very deadly since we came here, and the Regiment at present is very nearly new. It has given me a very great pleasure to have been able to write and tell you how gallantly Major Thomson met his death. If he had lived he would certainly have been mentioned for great honour, and though dead, he will always be remembered by those of us who may be left, as a very gallant gentleman and soldier, who died trying to save his wounded with a total disregard of self. I am very proud to have been his friend! I am glad to have been able to tell you how bravely our Major died.”

College Times (Summer 1918) pg. 11-12

More information about Major Burns Ker Weld Thomson ’99 can be found at:

Upper Canada College Roll of Service 1914-1919

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Canadian Great War Project

Commonwealth War Graves Commission