Oshawa courthouse renamed to honour First World War hero

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The Ontario government has renamed an Oshawa courthouse after the only member of Parliament who was re-elected while fighting on the Western Front during the First World War.

The Bond St. E. courthouse will now be known as the Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel S. Sharpe, DSO, MP Courthouse.

“Over the past several years, the province has heard from people at every level of government in the region — and members of all political parties — about the importance of honouring Lt.-Col. Sharpe,” Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said in a press release Thursday. “We salute a Canadian hero who bravely fought on the battlefields of Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge while continuing to represent his constituents as a member of Parliament.”

Born in 1873 in Zephyr, Ont., Sharpe attended the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall and practised law as a solicitor in Uxbridge.

He served as a Conservative MP under Robert Borden — both in Opposition and in government — for the riding of Ontario North from 1908 until his suicide in 1918.

Sharpe fought in the First World War as commander of the 116th Ontario County Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In addition to Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, the regiment fought in Avion in 1917.

On Dec. 17 of that year, Sharpe was re-elected while still on the front. He was forced to relinquish his command late that month due to the stress of war.

He received the Distinguished Service Order from King George V in the 1918 New Year Honours.

While on convalescence leave, Sharpe was hospitalized in Montreal on symptoms that would now be considered post-traumatic stress disorder. On May 25, 1918, he jumped from a hospital window to his death.

Sharpe was buried in Uxbridge and his name is inscribed in the Great War Memorial at Osgoode Hall Library, near Queen’s Park in Toronto