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15-25 August 1917

Major R Earle Drope

"At the age of seventeen, my father, Robert Earle Drope, enlisted for the military much to his Mother’s concern and distress.  Since he was so young, no one in the family thought Earle would return as he would be on the ‘front line’ in that Great War.  Strong, healthy, loyal and courageous were characteristics that he took to the battlefield from the family farm located in the village of Harwood on Rice Lake in Ontario.  His older brother, Thomas Bruce Drope, 907333, 5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, had already enlisted in Regina, Saskatchewan, where he resided with his wife and four children.
My father served with distinction and in particular was in the 10th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry at the Hill 70 battle. He was awarded the military medal for:
“courage and devotion to duty displayed as a runner on August 15th, 1917. This runner repeatedly carried messages under extreme heavy fire from Battery Headquarters to Stokes Mortars in the new line. While going forward with a message he rallied a carrying party with stokes ammunition whose N.C.O. and guide had become casualties and led them forward to their gun”.
In the family chest of documents is the map of Hill 70 which Earle carried with him. He wrote on the back of the map that this was an important document that he cherished.
The brothers, Earle and Bruce had planned to meet in Paris at a time when they both had some leave time in early 1917. Earle waited for his brother at the designated restaurant all day and on the second day, a friend of Bruce arrived to tell Earle that his brother had been killed at Vimy Ridge.
Upon my father’s discharge from WWI, serving our country, he returned to the peaceful village of Harwood on Rice Lake, Ontario pursing his business and community activities. My father, a respected and esteemed leader within the district, was elected as the Member of Parliament to the House of Commons in 1945 representing the riding of Northumberland (Ontario, PC Party). Our family is very proud of his brave military service and his accomplishments for Canada."
Submitted by Hon. Pauline Browes P.C.
Daughter of Major R. Earle Drope
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