"with all true-hearted Orangemen
I will go hand in hand
in aiding Freedom’s sacred cause,
And our old Motherland."
The First World War was to be at once both the greatest triumph and defeat for the Orange Association in Canada. It was its greatest triumph in the fact that Orangemen joined Canada’s war effort in unprecedented numbers and certainly did far more than their share for the war effort. It was its greatest defeat in that it lost so many of its young men, potential leaders of the Association, who would never be replaced. It was the beginning of a long slide into obscurity for many of the Orange Lodges in Canada.
If ever any proof was needed that Canadian Orangemen were among their country’s most loyal citizens in time of war, this war above all gave proof to underline that fact. At the beginning of World War One, Canadian Orangeism was at its zenith of power and numerical strength. The approximate membership was 300,000 and although it was to hold and even continue to increase its numbers until the mid 1920’s it could never replace the large numbers of talented young men that it would lose over the next four years.
During this war the Grand Master of Canada was Doctor Daniel David Ellis. Ellis was no stranger to the military, having served with the 28th Militia Regiment in 1892 - 1893. He served in the first Saskatchewan Provincial Legislature, and had been the Grand Master of that province. On August 25, 1914, he sent the following telegram to the King: