Trinity at Vimy Ridge

Contributed by Sylvia Lassam, Rolph-Bell Archivist, Trinity College

Trinity men were well represented at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917.  Among those who fought was George Warburton Spragge, the first archivist of Trinity College.  A 1915 graduate, Spragge became a teacher at Trinity College School and was later the Archivist of Ontario.  In retirement, he was asked to assist with the listing and preservation of College documents, long after he fought at Ypres, then Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Arras, Cambrai and Mons.  He remained in service until 1919.

As far as I can tell, we only lost one member of the Trinity community at Vimy Ridge.  Pte. Walter H.  Cooper was killed in action April 12, 1917, presumed at Vimy Ridge.  He matriculated in medicine in 1886 and at some point enlisted in the militia.  He enlisted in February 1916 and arrived in France in September, reverting to private in order to get to the front without delay.  He was 48 when he was killed, predeceased by his wife in Toronto.

image of george spragge

Image of George Spragge, from Trinity College War Memorial Volume

Much of our information about our World War I veterans comes from the Trinity  College War Memorial Volume (digitized copy available here from Scholar’s Portal), compiled in 1922 by Archibald Hope Young and W.A. Kirkwood.  They profiled each veteran and when possible provided a photograph.  We do not have a photo of Walter Cooper, but the handsome George Spragge is pictured above. The Trinity College Archives has the glass negatives for most of these photographs.

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