The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Lieut.-Col. Sidney Pilton Layborn

1st Hussars
The Royal Canadian Regiment
Canadian Army Pay Corps
The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

Sidney Picton Layborn was born at "Byways," Broadstairs, Kent, England, in 1866. He was one of three sons of Thomas R. Layborn, a "Licensed Victualler," and his wife Charlotte. In the 1871 census, the family home was at 9 Northfleet, Gravesend. Sidney (5) was the eldest, with younger brothers Percival H. (1), and A. Thomas B. (3 months). By the time of the 1881 census, the three brothers were at "The Grammar School" in Aspenden (near Buntingford, Hertfordshire).

Layborn arrived in Canada in August 1895. He crossed the Atlantic as a saloon passenger aboard the S.S. Mongolian which carried 359 passengers from Liverpool, England, to Quebec City.

By early 1896, Layborn was in London, Ontario. His first appearance in the official announcements of the Canada Gazette was republished in The London Advertiser on 10 Feb 1896. The notice stated that Layborn, gentleman, was appointed to a provisional Lieutenancy in "B" Troop of the First Hussars. The place he was taking in the Militia cavalry regiment was that of an officer named Rowatt, who had retired. When the announcement appeared in the local paper, Layborn was already away in Toronto for military training.

Layborn attended a "Second Class" Short Course at the Royal School of Cavalry at Toronto from 3 Jan to 31 Mar 1896. The course, conducted by "A" Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons, taught and evaluated both written and practical subjects, the latter further divided into dismounted and mounted areas of instruction.

Layborn's results were 57% in written subjects and 60% in practical. His average of 59% was sufficient for an "A" Grade.

Layborn remained at the Royal School of Cavalry to attend the following "First Class" Short Course which ran from 1 Apr to 30 Jun 1896. The course content covered the same subjects as the Second Class course. Layborn again achieved an "A" grade, this time with an average of 70%.

On 26 Aug 1896, Sidney Layborn, 1st Hussars, "C" Troop, was promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant. The following spring, the May 1897 edition of The Canadian United Service Magazine notes his attendance on the "Long Course" at the Royal Military College (R.M.C.), Kingston, Ont.:

"A" Field Battery R.C.A.; Kingston, Ont.

"Our mess is rather gay just now, and how could it be otherwise with such a representative list of names of the gallant "Sons of Mars" as those recorded below:—

"Perhaps it may be interesting to some of us to note that never since the inauguration of the "Long Course" of study at the R.M.C. has there been such a representative class of officers as that at present stationed here. There are four officers of the Permanent Force of the Dominion, four officers who are going up for examination previous to entering the Imperial Service, one qualifying for the Mounted Police, and the remainder to "satisfy their thirst after knowledge." We have taken up a "sweepstake" as to who will head the list at the end of the examinations, and also as to which one will be the unfortunate individual who will take the "booby" prize."

The following paragraph in "A" Battery's notes may also have been referring to Layborn: "It is not generally known that amongst the officers now attached for a "Long Course" we have a rising young English cricketer, and one who has made his mark in the greatest of all games across the "herring pond." We look for great things from him."

The courses of instruction Layborn took at the R.M.C. covered five subjects. His scores in each subject, having received Special Mention ("S") in three, were:

Layborn was back in London with his regiment after his course at R.M.C. The next step I his military career would come at the Militia camp in the summer of 1898. The London Advertiser edition of Wednesday, 13 Jun 1898, noted the arrival of the First Hussars at the Militia camp in London, Ont. The cavalry regiment, conducting reconnaissance around marching infantry, was described as "most pleasing to the eye." The First Hussars paraded 226 officers and men and 198 horses under the command of Col. Gartshore and Lieut. S.P. Layborn held the appointment of adjutant. Three days later, on 16 Jun 1898, Layborn was formally appointed Adjutant of the 1st Hussars. The appointment was published in Militia General Orders, No. 59 of 1898, noting that he replaced Merrison, who was appointed Surgeon-Major.

The Adjutant's appointment would not last. Although the official publication in the Gazette would not occur until 23 Jul 1898, Layborn would leave the appointment after only two weeks on 30 Jun 1898. Militia General Order 89 of 1898, dated 20 Jul 1898, was published in the Canada Gazette of 23 Jul 1898. The order included the following announcement of Militia appointments:

"The Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry. — To be Lieutenants; Captain Alexander MacLean, 43rd Battalion of Rifles and Lieutenant Sidney Pilton Layborn, 1st Hussars, to complete establishment. 30th June, 1898."

On 1 Jul 1898, Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier approved an increase in the establishment of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry (R.R.C.I.) by two Lieutenants. The recommended officers for these new appointments were Captain Alexander MacLean, 43rd "Ottawa and Carleton" Battalion of Rifles, and Lieutenant Sidney Pilton Layborn, 1st Hussars. The increase was justified by the General Officer Commanding the Militia to the Honorable Minister of Militia and Defence in a memorandum dated 20 Jun 1898. The reason given was that the current deployment of Permanent Force officers with the Yukon Field Force had reduced the available officers in the regimental depots. The memorandum also noted that Layborn had, a few days previously, been recommended for an appointment to the Royal Canadian Dragoons, but no vacancy existed in that regiment and the present need was greater to add officers to the R.R.C.I.

In the summer that Sidney Layborn began his Permanent Force career, his younger brother, Algernon Thomas Blackburn Layborn, followed him into the Canadian Militia. On 17 Aug 1898, Algernon was named to a provisional Second Lieutenancy in the 1st Hussars, "A" Squadron.

Sports was a common activity for members of the London garrison, and many officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers played in military garrison leagues, against visiting military teams, and on garrison or unit teams participating in local sporting leagues. Sidney Layborn first shows up in the sports pages of The London Advertiser on 23 Aug 1898, just two months after joining the Company. In a cricket match between teams representing Wolseley Barracks and the London Asylum, the latter won handily 123 runs to 93. The top scorers on the teams had 45 and 63 runs, respectively, while Layborn contributed with eight runs, not out.

Layborn's military training continued in 1898 with the Musketry First Class Special Course conducted at the Royal School of Infantry in London from 3 to 22 Oct 1898. The course content consisted of:

Layborn achieved 82% in written subjects and 69% in practical assessments. His average of 76% was sufficient for an "A" Grade.

Appointed to the permanent staff at No. 1 Regimental Depot at Wolseley Barracks in London, Ont., Layborn was one of five officers at the infantry barracks. The April 1899 Militia List identifies the regimental officers at the garrison as:

Layborn attended a two-month Short Course at the Royal School of Infantry at London, Ont., from 20 Mar to 18 May 1899. He achieved an "A" grade for the course with an aggregate score of 81.52 per cent. Subjects which were taught and examined, with his scores, were:

In the late 1800s and also in the 1900s up to and including the period between the World Wars, the Canadian Militia, both Permanent and Non-Permanent units, could be expected to be called upon for strike-breaking duties. As reported in the Havelock Standard of 13 Jul 1899, a strike of the Street Railway employees in London reached a crisis the preceding Saturday (8 July). The strike had already been going on for some time and non-union men, "scabs," were operating the street cars. The scabs had also fallen into a state of dissatisfaction over their wages and it was believed that they would begin to take their streetcars off their routes and return them to the barn at 2:00 p.m. to begin their own strike action. As this was happening a crowd of 500 to 1000 people gathered at the corners of Dundas and Lyle streets to watch the events.

The rumour that the scabs would park their streetcars turned out to be unfounded, and the cars began to be put back into service. The crowd was quietly watching this turn of events until one of the Conductors, followed soon after by the company's "specials" and non-union employees, threatened the crowd with revolvers. The ensuing melee left at least two company men badly beaten, fourteen streetcars wrecked, and any newly arriving streetcars were bombarded by a variety of hand-thrown missiles, an activity that spread along the streetcar routes in the city centre. The violent mood of the crowd continued and at 9:30 p.m. Mayor Wilson read the Riot Act twice at the corner of Dundas and Richmond in the centre of the city.

The Standard describes the next developments:

"At about 1 a.m., after most of the crowd had dispersed, Mayor Wilson sent a request to Wolseley Barracks for a company of soldiers. Thirty-two men, under command of Col. Buchan, Major Dennison, Lieut. Layborn and Lieut. Burnham, marched with fixed bayonets down to the corner of Dundas and Richmond streets. Mayor Wilson placed himself at the head of the Militia. Sheriff Cameron, who had been sent for, read the Riot Act for the third time."

The police were then able to usher the remaining few hundred boys and youths from the streets and the soldiers escorted the streetcars to the barn. The regulars from the Barracks in the city would be joined by detachments from the regiments at Galt, Guelph, Woodstock, and Windsor, a total of 200 soldiers.

Layborn's attention, however, would soon be on other matters. On 7 Sep 1899, The London Advertiser informed its readers of the establishment of a "New Military Depot." The item read:

"A new depot of the Royal Canadian Infantry will be started at Quebec, to be known as Depot No. 5 and will have as officers: Capt. and Brevet Major J.C. McDougall; Lieut. and Brevet-Captain A.O. Pages and. Lieuts. J.H. Kaye and S.P. Layborn. The non-commisisoned officers are Sergt.-Major W.P. Butcher, Quartermaster-Sergt. A.T. Cooper, Sergt. R. Davis, Corporals J.T. Charlton and T. Morin, and Lance Corporal W.J. Gilmour. The garrison will consist of 38 men, 12 men from Company No. 1, 13 men from Company No. 2, and 13 men from Company No. 4. The following promotions are announced: To be sergeant-major, Drill-Sergt. W.P. Butcher; to be quartermaster-sergeants, Drill-Sergts. W.J. Duncan and A.T. Cooper; to be orderly room clerk, Sergt. A. Davis; to be corporals, Lance Corporals C.J. Charlton and T. Morin; to be lance corporal, Pte. W.J. Johnson. Sergt-Major Butcher and Quartermaster-Sergt. Cooper have gone from Ottawa to the camp at Sussex, New Brunswick, after which they will report at the depot."

A month later, Layborn was again soon to be on the move to new duties. Canada had committed to providing troops for the war in South Africa, with a request to provide eight independent infantry companies negotiated into the formation of a battalion, which would be the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry. The unit would be raised by taking about 85 officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers from the garrisons of the Regiment, and building the reminder of the 1000-plus unit from volunteers of the Militia from across the country.

Militia General Order 213 of 1899 detailed the authorized officers' field kits for service in South Africa. While those details would have been of interest to Layborn, more so was the sub-paragraph that specified his employment in the Canadian Contingent:

"Lieut. Layborn, R.C.R.I., is appointed to the half Company of the Special Service Force which is being raised in Manitoba. This officer will proceed at once to Winnipeg and report to the D.O.C. [District Officer Commanding] M.D. [Military District] No. 10, and take charge of the recruiting."

Other than Colonel Otter as Commanding Officer and Layborn, there were seven other original R.R.C.I. officers in the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion. These were: Capt. and Bt.-Maj. Septimus J.A. Denison, Q.M.; Maj. R. Cartwright, Attd; Maj. J.C. MacDougall, Regt Adjt; Lt.-Col. L. Buchan, Maj.; Capt. A.H. Macdonell, Bn Adjt; Lieut. J.H. Kaye, "G" Coy; and Lieut. L. Leduc, "F" Coy.

The London Advertiser, 21 Oct 1899, printed a listing of the Battalion's officers by company. The officers identified for "A" Company, to be raised in British Columbia and Manitoba, and their parent regiments, were: Captain M.G. Blanchard (Fifth Regiment, Canadian Artillery); Lieutenants: Major H.M. Arnold (Ninetieth Battalion); Capt. A.E. Hodgins (Nelson Rifle Company); and Lieut. S.P. Layborn (R.C.R.I.).

A Supplemental Report prepared by the Department of Militia Defence in 1900 covered the Organization, Equipment, Despatch and Service of the Canadian Contingents for 1899-1900. This report notes the initial request for Canadian troops for South Africa for company-sized units of 125 men, each with a Captain and three subaltern officers. This request evolved to a plan for a battalion of 1000 men, with eight companies as requested, to be named the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Although organized on this plan, subsequent comparison to the allowed war establishment for an infantry battalion resulted in the unit being eight subaltern officers (one per company) over strength. In addition to four officers who had originally been identified as supernumerary to accompany the battalion for instructional purposes, Layborn and seven of his peers were identified as those additional excess officers. Some of these "extra" officers would be placed in staff appointments with the British forces, and some would accept direct commissions in the British Army. None would be idle or sent home.

In January, 1900, before he left the Battalion, Layborn gained some experience of warfare on the open veldt. On two occasions, Royal Canadians were assigned to a raiding force under Lieut.-Col. Pilcher, formerly of the Northumberland Fusiliers and late of the Bedfordshire Regiment, who had taken over command of the troops at Belmont from Lieut.-Col. Otter on Christmas day. One successful raid, including 100 Canadians in the form of "C" Company, in the force of over 500, was carried out beginning on 31 Dec 1899, covering 100 miles in six days before returning to Belmont. This occasion, at Sunnyside, was the first time that Canadians had come under enemy fire during the war.

A second raid was planned and marched from Belmont on 9 Jan 1900 with almost 500 men and 188 horses, including 293 Royal Canadians. "A" and "B" Companies, plus half of "H" and the battalion's two Maxim guns took part. Layborn was among the Canadian officers with this second flying column under Pilcher. The column conducted two days of reconnaissance in force before returning to Belmont, and although some Boer horses and livestock were captured, no engagement with the enemy occurred. Within the month after the excursions led by Pilcher, Layborn would be on the move to new duties. Recorded in the Report of the General Officer Commanding, Sessional Paper No. 35 is a list of "South African Appointments" which was identified as notable because "The number of Canadian Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers who were selected for appointments to the Staff and for special duties in South Africa, is a matter for much satisfaction as a proof of the high opinion formed by the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Contingents." Among the listed officers was "Lieut. S.P. Layborn, R.C.R.I., attached to Army Service Corps, Cavalry Division, from 11 Feb to 18 Jul 1900." (Another source gives the dates as 1 Feb 1900 to August.)

Layborn's service in South Africa shared the risks of diseases that felled many soldiers. On 21 May 1900, the Hamilton Evening Times carried the notice that "Capt. Weeks and Lieut. Layborn, of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, have been discharged from hospital, and returned to duty." Layborn's hospitalization was possibly due to sickness, enteric fever being a common and sometimes fatal ailment. No reference has been found indicating that he may have been wounded.

The 23 Aug 1900 edition of The London Advertiser also shared some news of the Canadian Contingent in South Africa. Among other items, it listed a few officers that had been seconded to other duties outside the battalion, including "Lieut. Layborn, supply officer for the cavalry brigade."

A few weeks later, Layborn would again be mentioned in Canadian newspapers. On 6 Sep 1900, Ottawa issued a lengthy list of Canadian officers and men who had been invalided to England from South Africa since 31 July 1900. Republished in the Glencoe Transcript on 13 Sep 1900, the list included Lieut. S.P. Layborn who was invalided on 30 Aug 1900. The Aylmer Express of the same date, under the title "Another Invalid" provided the following details: "Lieut. S.P. Layborn, of the British Columbia and Manitoba company of the Royal Canadian Regiment, has been invalided from South Africa to England. He sailed from Cape Town on the 2nd of this month." The London Times issue of 13 Sep 1900 noted that Layborn was among the invalids which had sailed for England aboard the steamer Winkfield on 3 Sep 1900.

In the fall of 1900 Canadians were closely following the news as Canada's First Contingent, the Royal Canadians, returned home from a stopover in England en route to Canada. The Havelock Standard, on 4 Oct 1900, also included the news that "Another cable message received at the Militia Department to-day, announces that Lieut. S.P. Layborn, of the R.C.R.I., who has been serving with the second battalion in South Africa, has been granted a commission in the 21st Lancers." (Searches of the London Gazette for this appointment do not return any confirmatory results. They do, however, show that 2nd Lieut. A.T.B. Layborn, of the Canadian Militia, was granted a commission in the 21st Lancers on the recommendation of the Governor-General. Sidney's younger brother Algernon was commissioned in the 1st Hussars on 21 Nov 1898. He resigned that commission on 15 Oct 1900 on being appointed to a commission in the British Army.)

The January, 1901, Militia List shows Layborn on the staff of No. 5 Regimental Depot at Quebec, P.Q. He also appears in the General Orders published in the Canada Gazette dated 26 Jul 1901: "Lieutenant S.P. Layborn [is granted] the brevet rank of Captain from 30th June, 1901, under the provisions of Paragraph 54, Part I, Regulations and Orders, 1898." While Layborn would, at the time, remain a Lieutenant while serving on regimental duty, his brevet rank would permit him to serve as a Captain on extra-regimental appointments.

Layborn received and signed for his Queen's South Africa Medal at St. John, P.Q., on 17 Oct 1901. The medal roll that records the issue of his medal also notes the clasps he was entitled to. Layborn was confirmed for five clasps: Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, and Relief of Kimberley. That fall, he would also be transferred to No. 4 Regimental Depot at Fredericton, N.B. It is also the first time his name appears with a publishing distinction, a tiny crossed swords symbol by his name to denote operational service.

Although Layborn had received his medal for South Africa, the clasps would take time to get to him. He sent a letter to the office of Colonel James Biggar, the Adjutant General, on 21 Dec 1901 inquiring about the clasps to his Queen's South Africa Medal. He had completed the necessary return through regimental channels in the spring of 1901, but was still waiting to receive the clasps he was entitled to while others at the Fredericton station who had served in South Africa had already received theirs. The letter was stamped as received by the Adjutant General's office on 26 Dec 1901, the same date that Layborn appeared in the social items published in The Daily Gleaner at Fredericton, N.B. the paper noted that "Capt. Layborn sang the tenor solo in the carol "Oh Night, Peaceful and Blest" on Christmas morning at the service at St. Ann's church."

Layborn is recorded in the Militia Lists of 1 Jan 1901 under the entries for Gradation List, Staff, and Permanent Force. His entry reads: "Layborn, S.P.; date of birth 5 Apr 1870; Lieutenant, R.C.R.I., 30 June 1898; Staff Service: South Africa 1900. Supply Officer on Staff of Brig-Gen Broadwood and Lt-Gen French."

Layborn sent another letter on 27 Jan 1902 again asking for an update on the status of his medal clasps. In a response dated 30 Jan 1902, Layborn received the following about his medal clasps:

"You appear to be entitled to the best combination of clasps of any member of your Contingents. It is such a good one that we are unable to complete the set, not having a spare one of the "Relief of Kimberley." When the returns were sent to the War Office you were not included as it was not known what clasps you were entitled to, Colonel Otter being unable to give the information.

"We have been pretty busy these last few months. Other clasps will, in all probability, have to be made up. This will be done as soon as time permits of the matter being looked into, and in time you will get your set."

A few days later, on 2 Feb 1902, Layborn replied to Ottawa from "The Barracks, Fredericton,". He requested that the available clasps be sent to him and that other clasps be forwarded as they were available. A note in Layborn's South Africa service record dated 28 Feb 1902 shows that five clasps were issued to Capt. Layborn. These were "Paardeberg," "Driefontein," "Johannesburg," "Diamond Hill," and " Cape Colony." The note confirmed that the "Cape Colony" clasp was to be exchanged for "Relief of Kimberley" when the latter was available.

The 1902 edition of the Canadian Almanac lists the regimental officers of the Fredericton station, No. 4 Regimental Depot. As was a common notation in military personnel lists of the era, an asterisk was used to denote that the named individual had operational experience:

A notice of changing employment for Layborn was published in the Canada Gazette with the following notice: "Royal Canadian Regiment.—Lieutenant and brevet Captain S.P. Layborn is seconded for duty on the Staff. 15th of April, 1903." The Quarterly Militia List of 1 Jul 1903 gives his new appointment as District Staff Adjutant (D.S.A.) for Military District No. 1 at London, Ont. Layborn also received additional pay for this appointment. The Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, pub. 1904, note that his regimental pay as a captain was $2.50 per day ($912.50 annually). As D.S.A., he was entitled to a rate of pay of $1200 per year. He also received a transfer allowance of $200 for his move from Fredericton to London.

On Friday, 29 May 1903, The Brigade Staffs for the London annual Militia Camp were published in The Advertiser, of London. Lieut. and Bvt.-Capt. S.P. Layborn, R.C.R., was designated the Brigade Major for the Second Infantry Brigade. The same paper informed that the Camp, which would open on 9 June, was expected to receive 1700 to 1800 officers and men from six Militia regiment. Layborn's current activities were also noted in the edition, with "Capt. S.P. Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, is at Mount Forest today inspecting the Collegiate Institute Cadet Corps." In the days before the Militia Camp opened, on 3 Jun 1903, Layborn was on another trip to inspect a Collegiate cadet corps at Chatham, Ont. Layborn's remarks to that Corps gave them the following advice: "…obedience was the first duty of a soldier and if he could not learn to be obedient he would never make an officer … learn to shoot, boys; that's what makes the best soldier on the field to-day …"

On the morning of Sunday 14 Jun 1903, the Militia Camp at Wolseley Barracks was in progress and the Seventh Regiment marched from their downtown armoury to join the soldiers at camp in a Church Parade. The Seventh's band led the Regiment to the Camp and supported the Twenty-ninth Regiment's band in contributing to the music for the ceremony. At the service conducted at the Camp, the proceeds of the collection formed a donation to Victoria Hospital. Layborn was among the staff officers of the first division and the two brigades at the camp who were named in attendance at the service.

Not all of Layborn's appearances in the newspapers were in reference to the performance of his military duties. In an interesting example of connections among London society families and how widely spread the interest in their social events were, a wedding in London, Ontario, was described in the Victoria Daily Colonist on 24 Jun 1903. Layborn was one of the ushers. (Those familiar with London's history will recognize some of the other surnames in the article: Labatt, Becher, Kingsmill.):

"Stewart-Petera Nuptials in East
"Particulars of Fashionable Wedding of Parties Well Known Locally.

"A fashionable wedding took place on Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock at St. Paul's Cathedral, says the London, Ont., Free Press, when Miss Grace Hatheway Peters, eldest daughter of Lieut.-Col. Peters, D.O.C., No. 1 military district, became the bride of Lieut. James Denham Douglas Stewart, of H.M. Royal Navy. Rev. Canon Dann, chaplain of the 26th Middlesex Regiment, officiated and a large number of invited guests were present. The church was tastefully decorated for the occasion, the chancel being especially beautiful with flags and palms. Miss Olive Peters, sister of the bride, was maid of honor, and Miss Dora Labatt, Miss Harman, of Toronto, and Miss Eleanor Smallman, bridesmaids, and the little flower girls were Miss Gladys Peters and Miss Nancy Niven. The groom was attended by Lieut James Peters, of the 10th Bengal Lancers, brother of the bride. The ushers were Messrs Campbell Becher, Walter Kingsmill, and Capt. Layborn. All the service men present at the wedding were In full uniform.

"After the ceremony the guests repaired to the residence of Lieut.-Col. and Mrs. Peters on Dufferin avenue, where refreshments were served in a marquee on the lawn, the bride receiving beneath a handsome floral piece in the drawingroom. Later in the afternoon the bride cut the bride's cake with her husband's sword, and the cake and wine were served.

"Lieut. and Mrs. Stewart left on the 7:35 train for the West. They will proceed to Victoria, where Lieut. Stewart's ship, H.M.S. Amphion, is at present stationed, with sailing orders for the South Pacific. The ship forms part of the Pacific squadron and should go out of commission this fall, when the bride and groom will take up their residence for a time in England. Lieut. Stewart is a son of the late William Northcott Stewart, of Jamacia. In the long list of those sending handsome presents are the names of many Toronto friends of the bride and groom."

The Canada Gazette recorded the appointment of B.F.C. Horetzky (spelled Hiretzsky in the regimental history), late Queen's Own Rifles, to a lieutenancy in The RCR on 13 Aug 1903. The vacancy he occupied was created by the secondment of S.P. Layborn to extra-regimental duties as District Staff Adjutant. Horetsky would serve in the Regiment for three years.

The same month, on 15 Aug 1903, The Advertiser of London announced the news of Layborn's promotion to major:

"Capt. Layborn Promoted
"Adjutant of No. 1 Military District Raised to Rank of Major.

"Capt. Sidney Layborn, for some months past staff adjutant for No. 1 military district, with headquarters at Wolseley Barracks, has been promoted to the rank of major. Notice of his advancement came from Ottawa this week.

"The new major has been connected with the permanent Canadian force since June 30, 1898. For four years prior to that time he was a lieutenant in the First Hussars, and for a part of the time was the adjutant of the corps. A year following his appointment to the Canadian force he was transferred to Quebec, where he was connected with the company organized by the then commander of the Canadian forces, Gen. Hutton. He went to South Africa with the first Canadian contingent, as lieutenant in the company from Manitoba, where he went as recruiting officer, and he served through the campaign. He was divisional supply officer on Gen. French's staff, and took part in nine general engagements, including Paardeberg. He was invalided to England in November, 1900, but returned to South Africa in February, 1901, coming to Canada two months later and taking up duty at Quebec in the Royal Canadian Regiment. Shortly afterwards he was transferred to No. 4 regimental district, Fredericton, New Brunswick, and remained there until May last, in command of the company, when he was appointed district staff adjutant of No. 1 military district."

The Militia List published 1 Oct 1903 confirmed that Layborn's promotion was to temporary rank, effective 15 Apr 1903.

The Advertiser edition of 28 Aug 1903 described a cricket match at the barracks between a team of officers and one of N.C.O.s and soldiers the previous day. This was a rematch after the soldiers' team had beaten the officers at the game on the 26th. The officers fared no better in the second game. Layborn batted for eight runs, the best of any on his team which compiled a score of 28 runs including seven byes and wides. The soldiers' team dominated the pitch. Led by Quartermaster-Sergeant Dunlevy and Corporal Burnett, who scored 29 and 27 runs respectively, the No. 1 Company team accounted for 81 runs, solidly trouncing the officers.

On 21 Sep 1903, The Advertiser mentioned Layborn in the personal notes for London and District, stating: "Major Layborn, district staff adjutant, has left on a six weeks' business trip through the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia." This trip is described in detail in the 1903 Canadian Manufacturers' Association publication "Industrial Canada." Dedicating 40 pages of text and images to the venture under the title "The Continental Tour," the book described the purpose of the trip as "… to see the great Western country, to meet its people, to endeavor to grasp sympathetically their problems, and following this, to open up through practical business channels a closer intimacy between East and West." One hundred and seventy people, including 50 ladies, were on the tour. Two others were from London: John Forristal (London and Petrolia Barrel Co.), and Lt.-Col. W. M. Gartshore (McClary Manufacturing Co.). Gartshore was a past Commanding Officer of the 1st Hussars in London (Layborn's first regiment). He also happened to be on the Executive Council of the Manufacturers' Association at this time.

Shortly after Layborn's return to London, he was injured in an accident on 20 Oct 1903. The Advertiser provided details the following day:

"Major Layborn Injured
"Met With a Runaway Accident on Dufferin Avenue Yesterday.
"Horse Took Fright at an Automobile—Driver Thrown Out.

"As the result of a runaway accident caused by his horse becoming frightened at an automobile, Major Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, is now confined in Victoria Hospital, one of his ribs being broken, besides suffering from a general shaking up.

"Yesterday afternoon Major Layborn accompanied by his brother, was driving in a trap on Dufferin avenue, near Wellington, when an automobile came along. The horse at once took fright and started at a furious gallop eastward.

"At the corner of Dufferin avenue and Cartwright street, the animal bolted for the boulevard in an attempt to take a short cut, and after clearing the boulevard rail, finally came to a stand-still between two houses at the corner.

"Major Layborn and his brother were thrown out with great force, the major being injured as stated, but the brother practically escaping unhurt, save for a severely wrenched leg.

"Major Layborn is reported as well at the hospital today.

"The horse and rig did not suffer much as a result of the runaway."

Layborn would revisit his trip to western Canada in replying to survey questions in an industry magazine. His observations about the trip in response to four offered questions would be recorded in The Canadian Grocer (Nov 1903):


"Mayor J.P. Layborn (sic), London

"First. The country appears to be going ahead at a great rate, especially in the far west and Alberta district. Everywhere one travels along the Canadian Pacific new lines are being built. The invasion of Americans is most noticeable everywhere and our friends across the border are certainly flocking into the West. It is also most striking to observe the enormous stocks which the firms in this part of (he country carry, especially in hardware and implements, which speaks for itself.

"Second. By increased railway competition, consequently reducing freight rates. In a great many instances the manufacturers of the east are at a great disadvantage in regard to long freight hauls to the West, American firms being in a position to ship at a low rate, the distance being shorter from Minnesota and freights lower, thus being in a better position to compete with eastern firms whose goods are carried at least two thousand miles. Judging from what I could hear I should say that American firms are selling cheaper in the Canadian West than in their own country in order to get a footing with goods, their faith in the future of this country being apparently very great.

"Third. I should say by an investment of capital, thereby showing their confidence; the establishment of distributing agencies, thereby supplying the westerners with Canadian made goods; and by periodical meetings or conventions taking place either east or West, at which an exchange of views may take place, and their wants and requirements attended to.

"Fourth. British Columbia, when more fully developed, has a great future in front of it for manufacturing, especially when more of its wonderful water powers are harnessed and its untold hidden treasures are discovered. Strathcona and Edmonton are certainly destined to become a great centre of industry, their natural resources meeting most requirements, coal being found on the spot, and great facilities accruing from water power and water transport, and with the G.T.P. great things may be anticipated. Lethbridge also shows great signs of activity, but not being a manufacturer it is beyond my province to go into further details."

Layborn's connections to his old Militia regiment, the 1st Hussars, went further than his business associations with the former Commanding Officer. The Advertiser, on 14 Nov 1903, printed a photo of soldiers of "B" Squadron of the Hussars. Located in London, the Squadron had, for the second year, won the inter-squadron trophy for general proficiency. The newspaper noted that the Layborn Trophy had been presented to the unit by "Major S.P. Layborn, former adjutant and now district staff adjutant."

Layborn's duties took him to visit armouries and cadets corps throughout Military District No. 1. He was at Ingersoll, Ont., on 24 Nov 1903. The next day's Advertiser noted that he was there to inspect the armory and equipment of the Oxford Rifles, which he found to be satisfactory. On 8 Dec 1903, the paper also reported that Layborn had recently inspected the armouries of two companies of the Thirtieth Regiment at Guelph. The 21 Dec 1903 edition of The Advertiser recorded that Layborn was "busily engaged inspecting the rural corps of No. 1 military district." The same edition also noted that it was the anniversary of the Regiment: "Today is being observed as a holiday at Wolseley Barracks, it being the anniversary of the formulation of the Royal Canadian Regiment. The day is always celebrated in the schools."

Layborn's name appeared in the "Local Social Gleanings" column of The Advertiser on 26 Dec 1903. The article described a dance hosted at the Masonic Temple by Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Kent in honor of their daughter. The debutantes' dresses were each described and the list of male guests was headed by Major Beattie, Major Layborn, and Capt. Magee, A.D.C., Toronto. This appearance of Layborn in the society columns, now a major with the right connections and, no doubt, a "war hero" with operational service, indicates his notice as an eligible bachelor in London society. The officers of the garrison and those of local Militia regiments, and the wives of married officers, regularly appeared in the society columns. Some, but not all, of Layborn's mentions in the Social Gleanings column will be included here.

The Advertiser's column "Social Gleanings" printed Saturday 27 Feb 1904 listed Layborn as a guest of a snowshoeing party on the evening of the previous Wednesday. "With a freshly-fallen coat of snow mantling the landscape and glistening in the bright moonlight, Wednesday was an ideal evening for snowshoeing. Miss Olive Peters was the delightful hostess, and among the number who enjoyed the jolly tramp over fields and country roadsides and merry supper …" Nine young ladies and male guests including Layborn and such notable London names as Labatt and Carling enjoyed the evening. Mrs. Stewart acted as chaperon.

On 24 Mar 1904, The Advertiser noted that "Major Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, has been at Kingsville inspecting the armory of Squadron D, Royal Canadian Dragoons." These brief notices of his performance of professional duties likely also assisted those who closely watched the social scene to understand that he couldn't always be available for the dinners, teas, and parties they might have expected to see him attending.

The Daily Gleaner of Fredericton, N.B., in its edition of 12 may 1904, shared an item under the headline "Formerly Stationed Here" which read: "Major S.P. Layborn, formerly stationed here with No. 4 Co., R.C.R., but now of London, Ont., will go to Ottawa on July 6th to take a course in the Canadian School of Musketry." The notice also appeared in the Advertiser published in London.

The Advertiser's Social Gleanings column of Saturday, 21 May 1904, noted Layborn's attendance at two social events in the preceding week. On Tuesday he had attended a large reception hosted at the Kennels by the Gibbons in honor of a visiting guest. That same evening he was one of twelve at a dinner held at Eldon House by Miss Harris in honor of her own visiting guest. Among the guests at the dinner were two other officers of the garrison. Layborn appears with regularity as a guest at teas and social events in these local society columns.

The Chatham Daily News, in their issue of Thursday 26 May 1904, noted that "the annual inspection of the Chatham Collegiate Institute Cadet Corps by Major Layborn will take place on Friday afternoon at two o'clock on Tecumseh Park. The officers of the 24th Regiment have been invited to be present in uniform and a large crowd of spectators are expected. It is likely that a half holiday will be granted the pupils of the Collegiate in honor of the event."

By early June, 1904, Wolseley Barracks was preparing for the annual Militia camp. The Advertiser, on 4 June, described the preparations and planning:

"Laying Out the Old Camp Ground
"How the Corps Will be Arranged On Heights—Col. Guillot Will Not Act.

"Major Layborn, of the district staff at Wolseley Barracks, was engaged with a number of men from No. 1 Company today in laying out the ground for the annual camp, which starts on Tuesday next.

"The camp this year will comprise eight regiments of infantry, together with the Bearer Company of this city, and the branch of the Army Service Corps from Sarnia, the latter coming in at the beginning of the second week and relieving the Bearer Company. In allotting the infantry their places the district officer did so with the view of making the strength of the two brigades as near equal as possible. The first brigade will include the Bearer Company and the Army Service Corps, who will be located on one side of the grounds, adjoining the barracks site. To the east of them in the order named will be the infantry of the first brigade—the Twenty-sixth (Middlesex), the Twenty-seventh (Lambton), the Thirty-second (Bruce), and the Thirty-third (Huron). These will occupy the stretch along the north side of the heights. The headquarters of the two brigades will be in the northeast corner of the grounds, and to the south of them, and extending along the east of the camp grounds, will be the infantry of the second brigade—the Twenty-second (Oxford), the Twenty-eighth (Perth), the Twenty-ninth (Waterloo), and the Thirtieth (Wellington).

"Col. Peters, D.O.C., has been notified by Col. Guillot, of Windsor, formerly commanding officer of the Twenty-first (Essex) Regiment, that he will be unable to act as a brigade major at the camp. It is not as yet known who will be named to act, as the appointment has to be made by the authorities at Ottawa.

"On the camp ground near the Y.M.C.A. tent this year there will be a post office letter box and a tent in which all facilities for writing will be supplied. Thus the men connected with the camp will have postal arrangements close at hand without having to leave the grounds."

As described in The London Advertiser, on 15 Jun 1904 Layborn attended a garden party held at Eldon House, the residence of Mr. George B. Harris, which the paper noted was a "society function." Held in honour of the visit of Lord Dundonald, the General Officer Commanding the Canadian Militia, Layborn had the responsibility of presenting members of the divisional staff and commanding officers who had been invited to the host and hostess. The paper's listing of guests at the garden party includes many notables of London society at the time.

Layborn's duties during the Militia Camp were not limited to the organization of the camp. On the morning of 16 Jun 1904 he was a member of a board that examined five officers in equitation. The paper also noted that the same afternoon, the regiments in camp would begin the marching and shooting competition for the award of the Layborn Cup. The following day, the Advertiser informed its readers of the results of the Layborn Cup competition between the battalions in camp.

"Thirtieth Win Layborn Cup
"The Wellington Rifles Do Good Work at Cove Ranges—Marching Counts.

"The Layborn cup was won by the Thirtieth Regiment Wellington Rifles. The shooting was done this morning at the cove ranges, and a great day for shooting it was. The marching counted in the competition, and the Twenty-sixth Middlesex Regiment was awarded first place, but the score in the firing was sufficient to give the trophy to the Wellington men, the local regiment getting second place, with a $10 prize.

"The cup is the donation of Major Layborn, who has been assistant acting adjutant-general during the camp, and is given for regimental marching and firing. The scores were: Thirtieth, 2,479; Twenty-sixth, 2,215; Twenty-seventh, 2,198; Twenty-ninth, 2,067; Thirty-third, 2,049; Thirty-second, 1,979; Twenty-second, 1,908.

"The march to the cove was on the double-quick, the fastest time being 42 minutes. [The distance from Wolseley Barracks to the Cove Range site is approximately 5.5 Km.]

"After the above contest, the Wellington Rifles marched out of the camp and went home with the permission of the commandant. All the rest of the corps will remain until tomorrow. This afternoon everybody is busy with the sports. There will be no tattoo this year."

In the 1904 Report of the Auditor General to the House of Commons, Layborn's pay and allowances are detailed. As the D.S.A. for Military District No. 1, Layborn was paid $1200 for the year to 30 Jun 1904. From this was deducted the $63.04 paid to him at the London militia camp. He also received a lodging allowance for 335 days, to June 30, at a rate of $1 per day. In the execution of his duties that took him to various locations in the District, Layborn also received allowances to cover his expenses. While conducting inspections and transfers of stores, Layborn received subsistence allowance of $104.75 and for transportation, $96.20.

Layborn attended a course at the Canadian School of Musketry, Ottawa, from 6 Jul to 18 Aug 1904. On completion of the course he was qualified to instruct the Maxim Machine Gun and had achieved a "Distinguished" Certificate, the highest grade obtainable.

The fall of 1904 and the first months of 1905 brought various mentions in the paper of Layborn attending social function and also traveling to inspect cadets corps in the District. Among the former, on 1 Oct 1904, the London Hunt Club was at the Barracks for a ride. The meet was hosted by the officers of Wolseley Barracks and Major Layborn was named as one of the riders.

On 3 Dec 1904, the Social Gleanings column of The Advertiser named Layborn as one of the guests at a dance held at the Kennels the previous Saturday evening. Among the bachelors present, notable surnames in the community included Labatt, Becher, and Carling. On the evening of 8 Dec 1904, Layborn was one of many guests at a dance put on by the Tuscan Lodge at the Masonic temple. The London Advertiser provided a detailed description of this "largest and handsomest function of the week" and noted the details of many of the ladies' dresses.

The London Advertiser edition of 4 Feb 1905 reported on an incident involving Layborn, one which could have had a tragic result.

"Boy and Snowball Caused Runaway
"Capt. Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, Figured in Dangerous Mixup Last Evening.

"Capt. Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, was one of the principals in a rather dangerous runaway accident last night. The captain, like all his brother officers, was going to the ball, and about 8 o'clock he ordered his carriage from Stroyan's livery. The hack was driven by Wm. Stroyan, a son of the livery proprietor. Capt. Layborn entered the carriage at the barracks, and was driving south when, at the corner of Cartwright street and Central avenue, one of a crowd of boys struck one of the horses with a snowball. The spirited animal, though usually very quiet, became frightened, and started off at a furious clip.

"As they ran westward on Central avenue the captain heard the driver trying to quiet the horses, and he soon realized that he was being carried along by a runaway team. He tried the door of the vehicle, but it refused to open from the inside, and then, becoming desperate, Layborn kicked the side out of the hack. As he did so the horses left the road and upset the hack at Victoria Park, throwing Capt. Layborn violently against a tree on the boulevard.

"The captain instantly recovered, however, and he and the driver managed to hold the runaways. Capt. Layborn was badly shaken up, but unhurt, and young Stroyan was in the same condition."

The ball to which Layborn was headed was one to celebrate the opening of the new London Armouries. Hosted by the Seventh Regiment, nearly 1000 guests were in attendance making it the largest social event in London's history to that date. The doors opened to receive guests at 8.00 p.m., and the evening of entertainment and dancing continued until the orchestra played "God Save the King" at 4.30 a.m. Over four miles of bunting decorated the Armouries and music was provided by the regimental band of the Seventh Fusiliers and two Italian orchestras. Layborn is listed among the guests at the Ball and as he was unhurt in the runaway incident, it is possible he was still able to attend.

The Advertiser's Social Gleanings column listed Layborn as a guest at afternoon tea at Eldon House on 11 Feb 1905. He was also named as one of a chaperoned party of 16 heading to a valentine's ball organized by the Toronto Order of the daughters of the Empire in Toronto that evening.

In March, 1905, Layborn received a letter from the Adjutant General. The letter stated that by direction of the Minister in Militia Council, authority had been granted for the issue of the "Relief of Kimberly" clasp for the Queen's South Africa Medal. This new clasp was to be issued in place of the "Cape Colony" clasp which Layborn was to return in order to receive the "Relief of Kimberly" clasp (the two clasps could not be awarded to a single recipient).

The Militia List for April 1905 included an entry on Layborn in its pages titled Record of War Services. The entry reads:

"Layborn, S.P. — South African War, 1899-1900. Operations in Cape Colony. South of Orange River, Dec., 1899—Feb. 1900. (Relief of Kimberley, 15 Feb. 1900.) Operations in the Orange Free State, Feb-May, 1900, including operations at Paardeberg (18 to 26 Feb.) Actions at Poplar Grove (7 Mar), Driefontein (10 Mar.) Operations in the Transvaal in May and June, 1900, including actions near Johannesburg (29 May.) Pretoria (4 June.) Diamond Hill (11-12 June.) Operations in Cape Colony Feb-April, 1901. Medal with five clasps."

The Tuesday, 11 Apr 1905, edition of The London Advertiser reported on a theft at the barracks. Layborn was the victim, and the perpetrator was his officer's servant (the role colloquially referred to as a batman):

"Jewelry Stolen From Barracks
"Maj. Layborn's Quarters Robbed to Extent of $200 by a Trusted Servant.

"Jewelry and clothing to the value of nearly $200 were stolen on Saturday evening from Major Layborn, district staff adjutant of military district No. 1. The loss was reported to the local police, who are now attempting to discover the whereabouts of a member of No. 1 Company, who has been missing since the theft.

"The man was formerly a member of the Twenty-first (Essex) Fusiliers, Windsor, and he enlisted at the barracks for three years in November last. For a month or more he had been employed as a servant by Major Layborn, and was considered to be honest. He had access to Major Layborn's quarters, and Saturday evening he gathered up two rings, two scarf pins and some articles of clothing and disappeared.

"When the articles were missed the police were notified. and it was found that the clothing had been disposed of at a local pawnbroker's. No trace of the jewelry or the man could be obtained. and it is taken for granted that they are now on the other side of the Detroit River.

"One of the rings—a diamond—was valued at $75, and one of the scarf pins, set with half a dozen diamonds, was also very valuable."

The London social calendar regularly extended to events hosted at the Barracks. The Social Gleanings column of the Advertiser of 5 Aug 1905 noted "an exceptionally enjoyable tennis tea at the Barracks" on the preceding Wednesday. Mrs. Carpenter was the hostess welcoming a variety of single young ladies and gentlemen. Layborn was one of the gentlemen guests.

On 7 Oct 1905, The London Advertiser carried the sad news of the death of Layborn's father:

"Died Unexpectedly
"Mr. T.R. Layborn Passes Away White Visiting in St. Kits.

"Mr. Thomas R. Layborn, father of Major Layborn, of Wolseley Barracks, passed away at the home of Mrs. S.D. Woodruff, St. Catharines, on Thursday, where he had been visiting for about six weeks, Though he had been ill for some time, his condition was not thought to be serious. The late Mr. Layborn came from Netherland Battle (sic), Sussex, England, together with Mrs. Layborn, who, with her daughter has been spending the summer in St. Catharines. A widow, a daughter and two sons survive. The later are Major Layborn, of this city, and Algernon Layborn, of Hamilton."

The 23 Dec 1905 edition of the Advertiser noted that "Major Layborn and Lieut. George Macbeth are being gladly welcomed back in social circles after a three months' absence in Kingston."

In May 1906, Layborn was a passenger on the S.S. Celtic returning to North America. Departing Liverpool on 4 May, the ship arrived at New York on 13 May 1906. Layborn was listed in the passenger manifest as an Army Officer, his destination was noted as Wolseley Barracks, London, Ont.

The Daily Gleaner of Fredericton, N.B., announced in its edition of 6 Oct 1906 the impended transfer of Layborn to that city:

"Major Layborn Transferred.

"Major S.P. Layborn, who has been appointed district staff adjutant here, vice Capt. Marshall, resigned, has for the past four years held a similar position at London, Ont. where he is very popular. Maj. Layborn was transferred from the 1st Hussars to the Royal Canadian Regiment and was for a time stationed at Fredericton. He went with the first contingent to South Africa, and held staff positions under Generals Broadwood and French [his Brigade and Division commanders, respectively]. During the war he was present at Paardeberg and other engagements, including that unfortunate affair at Sannas Post, where General Broadwood's force was nearly annihilated."

Layborn held the appointment of District Staff Adjutant for Military District No. 8 from 1 Sep 1906 until 4 Feb 1907. The Canada Gazette, published 2 Mar 1907, officially confirmed Layborn's next transfer with two announcements. The first, under Maritime Provinces Command, Military District No. 8, noted that he vacated the appointment of District Staff Adjutant, effective 4 Feb 1907. The second announcement was listed under Permanent Force, The Royal Canadian Regiment. It read:

"Lieutenant and brevet Captain (temporary Major) S.P. Layborn is transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps, with rank of Captain and ceases to retain the temporary rank of Major. 4th February, 1907."

The Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada for the fiscal year 1906-1907 state the pay that Layborn received for that year. For his service as D.S.A. with Military District No. 1, during the three months to 30 Sept 1906, he was paid at an annual rate of $1200. During this period he also received 92 days allowance of $1.00 per day. After moving to Military District No. 8 and taking over the appointment of D.S.A. there, he continued to receive the same rate of pay and lodging allowance ($1200 per year and $1.00 per day, respectively). He also received a transfer allowance of $100.

The Toronto City Directory for 1908 listed the permanent staffs at that city for Headquarters Western Ontario Command and for the Permanent Force units. The command headquarters staff included:

  • Brig.-Gen. W.D. Otter., C.B., officer commanding Western Ontario.
  • Lieut.-Col. S.J.A. Denison. C.M.G., chief staff officer.
  • Lieut.-Col. W. Nattress and Lieut.-Col. J.T. Fotheringham, prin medical officers.
  • Lieut.-Col. J. Galloway, deputy assistant adjutant-general.
  • Capt. C.N. Shanly, command paymaster W.O..
  • Capt. S.P. Layborn. Asst.
  • Lt.-Col. J.G. Langton, senior army service corps officer.
  • Major J. Fraser Macdonald, supt of stores.

Layborn married Letitia Mary Duncan on 12 Sep 1908. The London Advertiser of 28 Sep 1908 carried the news to London's social set that Layborn was no longer an eligible bachelor.

"Marriage of Popular Canadian Soldier in England.

"An English paper contains the following account of the marriage of Major Layborn, well-known in London through his former connection with the Barracks here: The marriage of Major Sidney Pilton Layborn, Permanent Staff Canadian Forces, elder son of the late Mr. T.R. Layborn, J.P., Netherfield Court, Sussex, to Miss Letitia Mary Duncan, second daughter of the late Mr. James Duncan and of Mrs. Duncan, Duncraggan, was solemnized in St. Michael and All Angels' Church on Saturday afternoon. The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion with palms and white flowers, and a large number of friends witnessed the service, which was fully choral, and was performed by the Rev. J.O. Coop, Vicar of St. Catharine's, Liverpool, and the Rev. C.B. Beard, rector of St. Michael's. The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr. J.F. Duncan, wore a dress of ivory duchesse satin with court train of brussels lace, and plain tulle veil over a wreath of myrtle and orange blossom. She carried a shower bouquet of orchids and lilies. Her train was carried by her two nieces—Miss Mildred Dunn-Pattlson and Miss Irene Duncan. They wore soft silk and lace dresses and large white hats. There were four bridesmaids—Miss Raeburn, Miss Thomson, Miss Holwell and Miss Robinson. They were attired in ivory taffeta dresses, with white chiffon sashes and golden tassels, and large white felt hats with white chiffon. They carried bouquets of gold and brown chrysanthemums, and wore gold maple leaf brooches, both the gift of the bridegroom. Prof. W.R. Lane, the University Toronto, acted as best man. After the wedding a reception was held at Duncraggan. The beautiful wedding cake was provided by Miss Dixon, 41 West Clyde street."

At first glance, it piques curiosity that a Canadian Permanent Force officer is in England to wed a young English lady. Immigration records show Letitia and her widowed mother, Jane, sailing for Canada aboard the S.S. Arabic from Liverpool, Eng., on 25 Nov 1903 en route for Hamilton, Ontario. A return to the Social Gleanings column of The London Advertiser provides some suggestions as to how Layborn met his bride. In The Advertiser of 5 Mar 1904, can be found an note describing a dinner at which both Miss Duncan and Major Layborn were guests: "Mr and Mrs. George B. Gerrard entertained two supper parties recently. On the first occasion. the polished table was handsomely arranged with a center of hyacinths, flanked on either side by candles, and covers were laid for Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harper, Miss Duncan, Scotland; Miss Gartshore, Hamilton; Miss Vroom, St. Johns, Colonel Gartshore and Major Layborn."

The following week's Social gatherings column in The Advertiser, published 12 Mar 1904, notes that "Mrs. Duncan and Miss Duncan, of Scotland, who were guests at Beechwood during the winter, are now spending a short visit with Detroit friends." American immigration records show that Letitia Mary Duncan (31) and her mother, Jane (61), had arrived at Ellis Island, New York, after sailing from Liverpool, England, on 25 Nov 1903. Their reason for traveling was "in transit to Canada."

Beechwood was the a 19th century estate in London owned at the time by Colonel William Moir Gartshore. Gartshore was the longtime manager and later president of the McClary Manufacturing 1970 Company. Having been an officer in the Queen's Own Regiment who served in the Northwest Rebellion in 1885, Gartshore was later Commanding Officer of the First Hussars.

Major and Mrs. Layborn returned to Canada in October, 1908, aboard the S.S. Grampion. The Militia List dated 1 Oct 1908 showed Layborn as a captain in the Canadian Army Pay Corps. The list identified his appointment with No. 1 Detachment at Toronto.

On 16 Oct 1908, Layborn completed the Application for Volunteer Bounty, 1908, for his service in South Africa. In completing the application form, Layborn entered the dates of his service as from October to April, 1900. He gave his current address at that time as 215 Simcoe St., Toronto.

Under the Volunteer Bounty Act of 1908, veterans of the South African War were entitled to 320 acres (two adjoining quarter-sections) of Dominion Land. While an applicant might identify a substitute, a British citizen of legal age, there was a requirement that the land be occupied and cultivated within six months. Many veterans opted to receive scrip for $160 in lieu of the land grant.

The January 1909 Militia List shows Layborn holding the appointment of Assistant Paymaster for Western Ontario Command.

The 21 Apr 1909 issue of the Hamilton Evening Times, in its Music and the Drama column, reviewed a play in which Layborn was one of the actors:

"Under the auspices of that worthy institution, the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Toronto Garrison Dramatic Company gave a performance of T.W. Robertson's comedy, "Caste," at the Grand Opera House last evening. The audience was a large and fashionable one, and was keenly interested in and amused by the production. This was the cast:

"The company is a very clever body of players and its performance of the most famous of what were at the period they Were first produced termed the "teacup and saucer" comedies, was a highly commendable one, There was a freedom from awkwardness and an ease of action that made the play go as though given by a professional cast. The company, however, is indebted to Miss Crerar, of Hamilton, for the spice given to the comedy by her personation of the vivacious Polly Eccles, She acted the part in just the right spirit, and received much applause. Mrs. Chapman and Miss Merritt were excellent in their roles.

"Col. Denison was the Hon, Geo. D'Alroy to the life, and proved a most capable player. Capt. Layborn has not quite enough of the "heavy swell" to be completely effective at Capt. Hawtree, but he played with a good deal of distinction. Mr. Kortright's Eccles, a most difficult role, was excellently done, and he won considerable applause. H. Walker made a capital Sam Gerridge, showing himself a good comedian.

"The comedy was well staged. and the performance was much enjoyed. There were several curtain calls, and Miss Crerar and Mrs. Chapman received several beautiful bouquets."

The Hamilton Evening Times, in is issue of 24 Apr 1909, informed its readers that "Mrs. Sidney Layborn, Toronto, is staying with Mrs. Gartshore, James street south."

On 4 Jun 1909. The London Advertiser announced the names of officers appointed to the upcoming Militia Camp at Wolseley Barracks. Layborn was named as the Camp's Paymaster. The following year, in the Advertiser of 11 May 1910, Layborn was again named as paymaster for the London Militia Camp that year.

But it is in the papers in England that we find evidence tom explain the drop off of the Layborn's in society page mentions in 1910. The Yorkshire Post edition of 29 Sep 1910 carried happy news of the Layborn family: "Births — LAYBORN.—September 25, at Toronto, Canada, the wife of Major S.P. Layborn, a daughter."

On 18 Nov 1910, Layborn was transferred to Military District No. 13 as District Paymaster. The District's headquarters was in Calgary, Alberta, and its region covered the Province of Alberta and the Territory of Mackenzie. Although Layborn was transferred to Calgary late in 1910, he is listed in the 1911 Canadian Almanac as the Assistant Paymaster for Western Ontario Command. The edition probably went to print well before his posting was effected.

The Layborns can be found in the 1911 census taken at Calgary, Alberta, on 8 Jun 1911. Sidney (41) and Letitia (36) are shown with eight month old Jean. Also in the family residence at 2111 Metcalfe Street is a nurse, Elizabeth Foss (41).

In October 1912, Layborn again appears in ships' manifest records listing returning Canadians. Sailing from Glasgow aboard the S.S. Letitia on 19 Oct 1912, he arrived back in Canada at Quebec on 29 Oct 1912. Layborn's destination in Canada was noted as Calgary, Alberta. A few months later, Letitia and Jean Layborn returned to Canada in January 1913 aboard the S.S. Celtic.

Layborn was appointed Divisional Paymaster for the 3rd Divisional Area on 27 Jan 1913. Later that year, on 30 Jun 1913, Layborn received a brevet Majority in the C.A.P.C.

In the fall of 1914, Layborn was in England at the time of or shortly after the outbreak of war. He is not listed among the officers who traveled to the UK in the first Canadian Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. This suggests he was there on a long period of leave with his family. In any case, he seized upon the opportunity to accept a commission in the British Army and a return to service in an infantry regiment.

The Supplement to the London Gazette dated 18 Nov 1914 announced the appointment of Layborn to a commission in the British Army: "9th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), S.P. Layborn to be temporary Major, dated 26th October 1914." By the end of the year, the termination of Layborn's Canadian Permanent Force commission was published in the Canada Gazette on 5 Dec 1914: "Permanent Force Canadian Army Pay Corps.—Captain and brevet Major S.P. Layborn is permitted to resign his commission. 31st October, 1914."

There is a document in Layborn's service record held by the National Archives of the UK at Kew. In three handwritten pages, Layborn's First World War service and his career to that time is summarized. The pages are stamped with the HQ stamp of the 214th Infantry Brigade, dating them to the period of end 1916 to the fall of 1918. The last page is annotated "Certified true copy" and signed by S.P. Layborn. Layborn's appointments are recorded as:

The 9th (Reserve) Battalion of The Buffs was formed in Dover in October 1914 as a Service battalion. In April 1915 the unit became a Reserve battalion and in September 1916 it was converted into 29th Training Reserve Battalion in 7th Reserve Brigade.

The 2/7th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, was formed at Sunderland in September 1914 as a second line unit. The battalion moved to Leam Camp (Heworth) and under the 190th Brigade in 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division until November 1915 when it moved to Doncaster. In July 1916, the division was broken up and the 190th Brigade moved to Catterick, then to Andover (Nov 1916), Colchester (Mar 1917), and then Frinton (Sep 1918). The unit became a Garrison Guard Battalion in Oct 1918 and embarked for service in North Russia.

But Layborn was not with the Durham L.I. when the unit left the UK for Russia. The Supplement to the London Gazette dated 8 Dec 1917 announced his return to duty with The Buffs: "E. Kent R. — Temp. Maj. S.P. Layborn, from Trg. Res., to be temp. Maj. (attd.). 26 Oct. 1917, with seniority 26 Oct. 1914."

The record of service sheets in Layborn's file also summarized his war service and his service before the First World War. The details recorded in the file consisted of:

War Services
Served in South Africa as Lieutenant in Royal Canadian Regiment (Permanent Force) 1899-1900:

The above entries are the first mention of a wound for Layborn, and of the Belfast clasp for the Queen's South Africa Medal.

Layborn's pre-war services was recorded with the following details:

Layborn's fitness for continuing service was assessed by a Medical Board on 22 Oct 1918 at the Military Hospital, Citadel Barracks, Dover. Circumstances of Layborn's injury were recorded as: "He had an accident in Oct., 1917. Injured his leg as a result of a fall and was otherwise shaken, since then the sight of the left eye has been failing." The Board assessed his status against three categories: "A" [i.e., for general service], permanently unfit; "B" [for garrison or labour unit], unfit six months; and "C" [for home service, with troops], fit. On 24 Apr 1919 Layborn was pronounced fit Category "D" [to be fit after remedial training] and he was considered fit enough to return to duty at Cork.

A Proceedings of a Medical Board (Officers and Nurses) form was completed on Layborn for his 24 Apr 1919 assessment. The form noted his age as 49, with 24 years 11 months total service, and his service in the "present War" was recorded as "Home" service from October 1914 to present. Layborn's disability was noted as "Defective vision" which originated October 1917 at Colchester. The essential facts of his case were recorded as "His general health is much improved. His vision is in same condition as at last Board." His visual acuity was noted as "R 6/9; L 1/60." The circumstances of Layborn's injury were noted as "fall from bicycle, while riding as Field Officer." His disability was assessed as 20% but he was still passed for general service, category "A".

A series of letters and notes in Layborn's service records at Kew show that his separation from active service in the British Army was a fumbled affair of inconsistent administration. In the end, he was considered to have been "demobilized and relinquished commission on completion of service, and to retain the rank of Major" (London Gazette d/ 16 Dec 1920).

While Layborn assumed his discharge had been completed as he was convalescing from eye surgery, it was not until the summer of 1920 that the problems came to light. This led to the War Office enquiring with the Army Agents Messrs. Cox & Co., on 27 Jul 1920 to confirm if pay was still being issued in Layborn's name. Unlike soldiers who carried a pay book and regularly paraded before a unit pay officer, officers' pay was sent by the War Office to their designated banking institution. For many officers, their banking with the military was conducted by an Army Agent, one of the more well known being Cox & Company. The title "Army Agent" dates from the period when officers' commissions were bought and sold, and following that period, they and similar firms had evolved into banking institutions serving the Empire's commissioned officers.

The reply from Cox & Co., dated 31 Jul 1920, stated that "No instructions have been received by us authorising the cessation of pay, therefore we are still paying this officer." Cox & Co. had therefore continued to forward Layborn's pay to his personal bank. This placed the War Office in the awkward position of having an officer who they thought was discharged but who was still being paid through the army agent.

Confirmation that Layborn's pay was still being issued initiated inquiries into how this had happened. On 16 Aug 1920, the office of the Director-General of Mobilization and Recruiting was inquiring with Eastern Command to determine why an Army Form Z.3 had not been issued to Layborn. Army Form Z.3 was the "Protection Certificate" issued to an officer to confirm the termination of his Army service. Serving a similar purpose to a soldier's Discharge Certificate it was an official document to be carried by the recipient as needed and which confirmed date of discharge, rank held, and other essential details of service.

The Officer Commanding, The Depot, East Kent Regiment, Caterbury, had previously confirmed that Layborn was demobilised on 15 Sep 1919. The Depot had not issued an Army Form Z.3 for Layborn because it was believed that applicable discharge documents had been prepared by the 3rd Battalion at Cork in August 1919 prior to Layborn's arrival at The Depot the following month. The brief period that Layborn spent with the Depot before proceding with demobilization gave no cause to confirm if an Army Form Z.3 had been completed.

Cox & Co. were also caught out by the confusion of Layborn's discharge date. Committed to following their last instructions until such time as formal direction otherwise was received, on 3 Sep 1920, the Army Agents sought clarification from The War Office:

"Messrs. Cox & Co. Request to be favoured with the undermentioned particulars regarding Maj. S.P. Layborn, "The Buffs," Special Reserve:

"We have been informed by the above named Officer that he entered a nursing home, about last January, but we have no trace of having received official notification of this, therefore as pay has been issued to 30 Jun 1920, we shall be glad if you will kindly furnish us with instructions regarding him please."

On 15 Sep 1920, The War Office issued instructions to Cox & Co. to issue no further pay to Layborn. In the interim, Cox & Co. had continued to follow the existing instructions and pay for July 1920 was issued by the Army Agent.

The staff investigation into the circumstances of Layborn's discharge escalated on 20 Sep 1920. The Deputy Provost Marshal, Eastern Command, was directed by the Brigadier General, Provost Marshal, at Horse Guards, to enquire into Layborn's current status. The possibility that he might be in a nursing home was identified and his address given as "Baird's Hill House, St. Peter's in Thanet." If Layborn was able to prepare one, a statement was to be requested regarding his status since 15 Sep 1919.

For background, the Provost Marshal's letter provided:

"Major Layborn was serving with the 3rd Battn. East Kent Regiment in August and September 1919, and on the 16th of the latter month the O.C. Depot of the Regiment telegraphed saying that this officer was unable to be dispersed owing to the fact that his account had not been handed over. On 24-11-19, the O.C. Depot reported that Major Layborn had been demobilized on 15-9-19.

"It now transpires that no protection Certificate was issued to the officer and that there was a misunderstanding between the O.C. Depot, Canterbury, and the O.C. 3rd Battn, Cork, each apparently believing that the other had dispersed Major Layborn. This officer has been issued with pay up to 31-7-20."

Layborn wrote a letter following the visit of the Area Provost Marshal to his residence. Dated 28 Sep 1920, he response reads:

"To A.P.M. Chatham,


"With reference to your call here today, requesting that a report be forwarded as to why I was not formally demobilized the following are the circumstances:—

"At Cork, Ireland, on or about 10th Feb. 1919, I handed over the command of the 3rd Buffs to the new C.O. as a going concern which automatically became the 1st Battn. from that date. Shortly after returning to the Depot at Canterbury accompanied by the Quartermaster, some details, colours, baggage, records, and correspondence of the 3rd Battn.

"Soon after arrival at the Depot I requested the C.O. Depot to take over and relieve me of the finances of the 3rd Battn. stating that as soon as all outstanding cheques had been paid by Irish Bank I would give instructions for balance to be transferred in his name to the Depot Bank in Canterbury. He refused to take them over stating he had no authority to do so. Shortly after I received a memo from the Adjutant drawing my attention to an order that all temporary officers serving in Ireland should have been demobilized on a date a few days previous and that I had been struck off the strength of the Depot from that date.

"I at once applied for by traveling warrant and proceeded to join my wife and family in Scotland.

"Some time after I received a personal letter from O.C. Depot stating that he had received a letter from the War Office to the effect that I should never have left the Depot and ordering my return, but owing to sickness and to the Railway strike I was unable to comply at once and proceeded to Canterbury about the end of October, and transferred all Regimental accounts to O.C. Depot.

"Yours faithfully, S.P. Layborn, Major"

With all the necessary evidence gathered and Layborn having been given an opportunity to explain his situation between September 1919 and the summer of 1920, The War Office was ready to make a determination on his case. A brief letter was sent to Layborn on 5 Oct 1920 from the office of the Secretary of Finance:


"With reference to your statement dated 28th September, 1920, to the Assistant Provost Marshal, Chatham, regarding your position since September last, I am directed to acquaint you that it was understood that your demobilization had been carried out with effect from 15th September, 1919, but it transpired that owing to a misunderstanding a Protection Certificate was not issued to you and the Army Agents received no notification and have in consequence issued pay to you to 31st July, 1920. As it now appears that you finally handed over about the end of October it is proposed to consider your demobilization as dating from 1st November, 1919, and I am accordingly to request that you will arrange to refund through Messrs. Cox & Co., the pay issued by them since that date and inform this Office when you have done so."

Layborn's reply was written the following day, 6 Oct 1920:


"I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, and to inform you that I will at once write to Messrs. Cox & Co. with reference to refund of overdrawn pay from November last to July 1920.

"The whole thing is a misunderstanding, my clearance certificate having been signed and gone thro' to enable me to draw my gratuity, and being eventually struck off the strength of the Depot. I thought that naturally ended the matter, my mind was occupied by the fact that I was to undergo an operation for my eyesight, having gone blind in one eye thro' a blow on service. I was too engrossed to try and save the other to bother about anything else, I have spent several months in a nursing home in consequence, undergoing two operations.

"Yours faithfully, S.P. Layborn, Major (3rd Buffs)"

Layborn's next correspondence, written on 7 Oct 1920, was to provide instructions to Cox & Co. In his letter he refers to the crediting of his account at Messrs. Drummond by Cox & Co. This indicates that although he employed Cox & Co. in their role as Army Agent, they then deposited his pay into his personal accounts at Drummond Bank. A private bank specializing in wealth and asset management, Drummond's was acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland in 1924. This two-bank process to have his pay deposited to his existing accounts probably explains why Layborn failed to realize that he was still being paid months after he believed his discharge to have been effected. Layborn informed Cox & Co. that he proposed to refund the over-payment in monthly installments of £50, the first of which was enclosed.

On 13 Oct 1920, Cox & Co. Forwarded a memo to the Assistant Finance Secretary at The War Office. The memorandum confirmed the receipt of instructions from Layborn and the receipt of his first installment cheque. Cox & Co. also confirmed that the over-issue of pay for the 9-month period from 1 Nov 1919 to 31 Jul 1920 totaled £431/11/0 on which £42/10/0 had been paid in taxes and £389/1/0 had been received by Layborn. The amount owed had also been forwarded to Layborn. The War Office replied to Cox & Co. that Layborn's plan to refund the over-payment in monthly installments was acceptable to them.

After the First World War, many soldiers had to wait years for the issue of their medals because of the huge number of medals which had to be produced, named, and mailed to the recipients. Adding to this was the expectation that although medals for soldiers were sent to the last address on record for them, officers had to request the issue of their medals. Accordingly, Layborn applied for his British War Medal on 23 Jul 1921. It was sent to him at Baird's Hill House, St. Peter's-in-Thanet, Kent, England, and he returned a receipt for the medal on 16 Aug 1921.

On 28 Nov 1921, Layborn wrote to The War Office. That letter does not survive in his records, but the reply does. The reply he received was despatched 31 Jan 1922 alluded to his reasons for writing. W.D. Rowe, Staff Captain for the Military Secretary, wrote:

"With reference to your letter dated 28th November, 1921, wherein you state that you have not received a letter of thanks for your services, I am directed to forward herewith a copy of War Office letter No. 152845/7 which was addressed to you on 7th December, 1920.

"I am to add that a notification terminating your temporary commission as from 1st November, 1919, appeared in the London Gazette of 16th December, 1920."

The letter was addressed to "Major S.P. Layborn, late The Buffs."

The trail of Sidney Layborn goes quiet for a few years after his discharge from the Army and its effects are concluded. The next correspondence in his service record is dated 1926. On 8 Apr 1926, Layborn wrote to the Secretary of State at The War Office to request a copy of his record of service during the Great War. His letter provided some details of his service he recalled them:

"I have the honour to apply for a copy of my record of service during the War, or that a certificate be forwarded to the effect that I served with The Buffs for the actual period — five years, as it affects my pension with the Canadian Permanent Forces prior to 1914.

"I was called up about October 10th, 1914, and ordered to report to 3rd Battn., Special Reserve, East Kent Regiment. Soon after reporting for duty I was ordered to organize the 9th Battn, commanding same for a time, eventually being posted as 2nd in Command to Lieut.-Col. Reith, R.A., with them. I continued to serve until going over to France. When I returned to the 3rd Battn at Dover until the Armistice took place, 1918, shortly after I took the Battalion over to the South of Ireland, and in Sept. 1919, being then in command, I handed it over to Lt.-Col. McDoull from which date I automatically became the 1st Battn in orders.

"In due course I returned to the Buffs Depot, Canterbury, with the Colours, Details, and records, and was eventually Gazetted out some time in Nov., 1919.

"I shall be glad to have a record or certificate of my service to enable me to satisfy the Canadian War Office as I have nothing to show for it not even a letter of thanks much less some lordship or rank.

"I have the honour to be Sir, your obedient friend, S.P. Layborn, Major."

On 19 Apr 1926, The War Office replied to Layborn's request for a record of service. The brief letter sent to Layborn stated the following:


"With reference to your letter of 8th April 1926, I am directed to furnish from the records in the Department, the following particulars of the military service of Major Sidney Pilton Layborn:—

"Appointed to a temporary commission as Major (East Kent Regiment) — 26 Oct 1914

"Demobilized — 1 Nov 1919

"Relinquished commission on completion of service, and retained rank of Major — 1 Nov 1919 (London Gazette dated 15 Dec 1920)."

Layborn next reappears in local papers in late 1928. On 9 Nov 1928, the Thanet Advertiser and Echo announced Layborn's intention to enter local politics. Containing a number of errors in the brief depiction of his military service, it is also notable that he is now named as a Colonel, likely suggesting the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel as having commanded a battalion, although he never held that rank"

"Council Vacancy.
"Colonel as Candidate.

"The Advertiser & Echo learns that Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Baird's-hill, Broadstairs, has definitely consented to stand for election for the seat left vacant in the Kingsgate Ward by the retirement of Councilor G.C. Beall. … Col. Layborn has had a long and meritorious military career. He served with The Buffs in Canada, South Africa, and Ireland, and upon the Western Front during the war. (sic) His associations with Broadstairs and St. Peter's date back to boyhood days, and since his retirement from the Army, about nine years ago, he has resided in the Kingsgate Ward."

The Thanet Advertiser, on 16 Nov 1928, reported on the backgrounds and views on political points of interest expounded by Layborn and his competitor. Excerpts related to Layborn were:

"Two candidates—Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Lindenthorpe-road, Broadstairs, and Mr. W.F. Piper, of 15,. Balliol-road, Reading Street—have been nominated for the vacancy created in the Kingsgate Ward of Broadstairs Council by the resignation of Councillor G.G. Beall.

"Polling takes place on Monday, 26th November.

"Col. Layborn, who spent his boyhood at Broadstairs, and has been connected with the town all his life, told our representative that he claimed to have some recognition of the requirements of the district by means of being a property-owner in the town as well as in neighbouring districts. Since his retirement from the Army ten years ago he had been permanently resident at Broadstairs.

"His military career, which extended over a period of twenty-five years, included service in Canada as a member of the Canadian permanent forces, and throughout the South African War. Later he retired from the service, but in 1914 he rejoined The Buffs at Dover, and organised one of the service (Kitchener) battalions with which be served throughout the war, and eventually commanded the 3rd Batt. The Buffs in Ireland. He retired from the service in 1919."

Four days after the polling on 26 Nov 1928, the Advertiser published the results of the election. In a column titled "Dark Horses Run a Close Race." Layborn's adversary was complimented for his pluck in taking on such a redoubtable opponent. Layborn was described as "not a great deal better known than his opponent had, nevertheless, the advantage of possessing powerful friends of wide political experience and social influence." Out of an electorate 1200 strong, 665 turned up to vote, twice the showing in the previous election for the seat. In a close race, Layborn emerged victorious by a margin of only 5 votes. His first act on being declared the winner was to shake his opponent's hand.

Now the wife of the local councillor, Mrs. Layborn's skill at public speaking garnered a note in the "Pars Personal, but not too personal" column of The Advertiser on 30 Nov 1928:

"A Witty Lady.

"After hearing the witty speech made by Mrs. S.P. Layborn, wife of the new member of Broadstairs and St. Peter's Council, in responding to the toast of "The Ladies" at the Royal Temple Yacht Club, on Saturday, it occurs to me that when the next vacancy arises in the Kingsgate Ward the electors would find in her an admirable candidate. In electing husband and wife as members of the governing body, Minster has already set the for the hub of Thanet in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Beerling, who are both members of the Parish Council."

Besides being active in local politics, Layborn also showed himself to have an interest in the management of veteran affairs through his local branch of the British Legion. The Advertiser, in its 1 Feb 1929 edition, noted that: "At the annual meeting of Broadstairs British Legion, held at the Comrades' Club, last night, under the chairmanship of Councillor Col. S.P. Layborn, who presided in the absence of Col. J.S. Ruston, T.D., a sub-committee was appointed to consider and take such initial steps as might bi necessary for the provision of Legion headquarters."

The article went on to mention that the Legion (i.e., the branch) had increased 50 per cent in membership over the preceding year, had assisted in getting veterans into Ramsgate Hospital as necessary, and had provided assistance to widows and ex-service men. The Legion had also successfully initiated a women's section, the members of which were cordially invited to join the men's section at the memorial service on [the upcoming] Sunday. The sub-committee appointed to consider the question of headquarters were Councillor Col. S. P. Layborn, and Messrs. W.G. Green, C.H. Parker, T. Mortley, G. Foord, and V. Swaine.

On Sunday 3 Feb 1929, Thanet, along with the rest of Great Britain, paid tribute to the memory of Field Marshal Earl Haig. A service at the Broadstair's Parish Church was attended by members of the men's and women's section of the British Legion. The Advertiser of 8 Feb 1929 noted: "The service at the church was preceded by a touching ceremony performed at the War Memorial by Councillor Col. S.P. Layborn, who, on behalf of the Legion, laid a wreath at the base of the memorial, whilst Legionnaires stood bareheaded to attention. They were afterwards marshaled by ex-Sergt.-Major W. Neale and were led to church by Col. Layborn."

Buried in a lengthy column on the activities of the Broadstairs Council in the 26 Apr 1929 edition of The Advertiser, was a brief paragraph showing the attendance records of the councillors. The twelve Councillors were listed, each with the number of possible days at council, and the number they achieved. Although most had over twice as many council days to account for, Layborn's fellow councillors ranged between 70 and 98% attendance records with an average of 85%. Layborn was the only councillor with a 100% attendance tally.

On 14 Feb 1930, The Advertiser reported on the annual meeting of the Broadstairs British Legion conducted the previous week. Officers elected for the coming year included Col. S.P. Layborn as President.

The (now named) Thanet Advertiser and Echo, in its edition of 16 Jan 1931, reported on the Broadstairs Ambulance Corps, identifying Layborn as the president of the corps:

"More Efficient
"Broadstairs Ambulance

"Considerable progress in the establishment of a higher state of efficiency and smartness in the service of Broadstairs Ambulance Corps was reported at the annual meeting held at corps headquarters in the Fire Station Yard on Tuesday.

"Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn, president of the corps, presided, supported by the Medical Officer, Dr. H.M. Raven, the Commandant, Mr. J.C. Bell, and the honorary sectetary, Councillor H. Bing.

"The report stated thet during the past year the ambulance had travelled 4696 miles, conveying 193 patients, and members of the corps had attended 32 cases of street accidents. Thirty-three cases had been conveyed to Ramsgate hospital and 29 to Margate hospital. During the year a more up-to-date equipment had been provided and the corps was now able to deal with any emergencies that might arise. Members had also recently been issued with uniforms approved by the British Red Cross Society."

The end of Layborn's service as a Councillor was noted in a brief note in the Advertiser and Echo on 20 Mar 1931: "After little more than two years' service on Broadstairs Council, Col. S.P. Layborn, the retiring member of the Kingsgate Ward, withdrew from nomination on Tuesday, and his rival, Mr. W.F. Piper, has therefore secured election without opposition."

On Tuesday 3 Nov 1931, the Broadstairs Section of the Margate branch of the Old Contemptibles' Association opened a new headquarters to be known as The Dug-Out. The 6 Nov edition of the Thanet Advertiser and Echo reported on the ceremony. Col. S.P. Layborn was noted as present in his capacity as president of the Broadstairs branch of the British Legion and spoke at the occasion: "On behalf of the British Legion Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn expressed the pleasure it gave him to assist in the opening of the dug-out, and his thanks for having been invited to do so, because anything in connection with ex-service men was always of the greatest interest to him. As the years went by memories of the war gradually faded, but no matter what else was forgotten he was quite sure the heroic deeds of the Old Contemptibles would go down in history as one of the greatest feats performed in the annals of the British Army."

The British Legion in Thanet was represented by a party of 30 led by Lt.-Col S.P. Layborn on 4 Jun 1932, when the Prince of Wales took the salute from 2500 Legionnaires assembled from branches in Kent.

The Layborns' daughter demonstrated her own capacity for publicly-minded works, as reported on 10 Jun 1932 by the Thanet Advertiser and Echo:

"Broadstairs Success.

"Rose Day at Broadstairs, organised by Miss Jean Layborn, was a big success, as it undoubtedly deserved to be in view of the untiring efforts of the devoted band of ladies who supported Miss Layborn in her campaign.

"As a result of the day's collection, the Broadstairs contribution to Queen Alexandra's Hospital Fund has amounted to £155 6s. 8d. and there are still a few further sums outstanding to help swell the total.

"A feature of the organisation was the systematic manner in which every thoroughfare and every key position in the town had its collector, who allowed no one to pass, without being given the opportunity of purchasing a rose. As stocks gave out, so were fresh supplies hurried by motor car to the spot where they were required and it is doubtful if any chances for the disposal of roses were allowed to slip by."

Miss Layborn would continue this charitable work in subsequent years.

On 3 Feb 1933, the annual meeting of the Broadstairs British Legion took place under the chairmanship of the branch president, Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn. The meeting was noted in the pages of the 7 Feb 1933 edition of the Thanet Advertiser and Echo. The branch had noted a substantial increase in membership with 1932 seeing more new members enrolled than any previous year. Significant efforts had been made in relieving distress of ex-service men with vouchers for food, coal, and clothing, and the committee had been successful in obtaining grants for vocational training for the children of deceased ex-servicemen. Layborn was again-re-elected as president of the branch.

On Wednesday 22 Feb 1933, Layborn was recognized for his work with the Red Cross. The 24 Feb 1933 edition of the Thanet Advertiser and Echo reported:

"County Honour
"For Broadstairs Red Cross.

"At the recreation room of Broadstairs and St. Peter's British Red Cross Detachment on Wednesday the medals, bars and certificates awarded members in the recent examinations were presented.

"The presentations were made by Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn, president of the detachment, who was himself presented later with a certificate appointing him to the office of Kent County President of the British Red Cross Society.

"Dr. H.M. Raven, the medical officer of the detachment, who presented the certificate, said all the members participated in the honour which had been conferred on their president.

"Dr. Raven recalled the time when Commandant J.C. Bell asked him to become "medical adviser and father of the corps." Having a large family already Dr. Raven said he was obliged to decline so large an additional paternity, and had to content himself with the office of medical adviser. Col. Layborn had, however, filled the position of father, and it was their view, which events had confirmed, that he had filled it uncommonly well."

The Thanet Advertiser and Echo, in its issue of 21 Mar 1933, announced the publication of a book which would have caught Layborn's attention:

"Bohemian Days
"Ramsgate Writer's Pink Parade.

"In "Pink Parade," which was published to-day at 15s, by Thornton Butterworch, Mr. J.B. Booth, of Ramsgate, continues his reminiscences of London Bohemian life in the days before the war of 1914.

"As a member of the staff of the "Pink 'Un," Mr. Booth was in close touch with the celebrities of an age that has now completely vanished. As Mr. G.B. Cochran, who contributes the foreword observes, the easy-going light-heartedness, late hours, light taxation and freedom from care of those days seem to us now almost incredible.

"Above all, it was an age of personalities and in "Pink Parade," Mr. Booth has crowded a fascinating fund of intimate stories concerning the famous people of those times from Lord Curzon of Kedleston to Marie Lloyd, from Lord Rosebery to an ex-convict, from Henry Irving and Tree, George Moore and Meredith to Phil May, Edgar Wallace, Pedlar Palmer and Hackenschmidt.

"Of particular local interest among the caricatures and photographs with which the book is illustrated is a group picture taken outside the Royal Temple Yacht Club at Ramsgate on the occasion of a party held in celebration of the birthday of Sir Alexander MacKenzie. In addition to the veteran musician, those in the group are Sir Hamilton Harty, Herman Finck, Col. S.P. Layborn, Arthur Brooks, C.P. Hartley, David Whitelaw, Charles Sykes, J.A. Forssth, C.W. Forse, Edward Michael, S. Wilson and the author.

"While the older reader will be able to revive in its pages pleasant memories of pre-war days, the post war generation will find the volume an illuminating record of an age that is almost unknown to them, recent though its disappearance is."

Layborn continued to serve as the president of his British Legion branch in 1933. In August the branch hosted their thirteenth annual Legion sports event and Mrs. Layborn presented prizes after the tug-of-war competition. She was herself thanked by the presentation of a bouquet and a vote of thanks moved by Mr. E.J.H. Budds. The Thanet Advertiser and Echo noted her response: "Replying. Mrs. Layborn said she did not know if the sports marked the beginning, end or middle of the legion year, but whichever it was she was quite sure that the result of the day's fete must have given members a stout heart to go forward with their good deeds, The success attending their efforts was in great measure due to the excellent organisation and hard work of the committee. and it was to that work and organisation that they all owed a delightful afternoon, Just as it was not good manners to speak with a full mouth, so it was not possible for her to say more with a heart so full as hers."

The annual church parade of the Broadstairs legion was conducted on 5 Nov 1933. Col. S.P. Layborn, as president of the Broadstairs branch, led the procession to the church. The Thanet Advertiser and Echo, 7 Nov 1933, in its description of the day, included mention of Layborn's remarks after the procession return to the Legion hall:

"There were some people, Col. Layborn said, who would like to see Armistice Day done away with, but fortunately they were a small minority. The need for the observance of Armistice Day was as great as ever. Its observance meant the holding of Poppy Day and last year the Legion collected £546,000 by the sale of poppies. The money was expended by the Legion in assisting ex-service men disabled in the service of their country, and their widows and dependents, and in other ways by saving the lame, the halt and the sick by special contributions to tubercular hospitals and St. Dunstan's.

"It might interest them to know, said Col. Layborn, that 40,000,000 poppies were at the British Legion factory in Richmond by a permanent staff of between 300 and 400 disabled men. In those circumstances it would be seen that the nation could not afford to do away with Armistice Day whilst the present generation was alive, because by means of its observance a great deal of distress in the country was alleviated, and employment in a number of ways was created among the men who would otherwise be unable to secure any other kind of work."

On 17 Nov 1933, the Thanet Advertiser and Echo described the annual dinner of the Ramsgate branch of the British legion held the preceding evening. The guests included Lord Northbourne, Sir Harry and Lady Fox, the mayor of Ramsgate, the M.P. for Thanet and Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn. Nearly 120 diners were at the dinner and a moment of silence was observed before the speeches. The paper reported:

"The toast of the British Legion was proposed by Mr. Gordon Larking, chairman of the Kent Council of the Legion, who said the virtues of the Legion were not shouted abroad as they should be. They had just celebrated the fifteenth anniversary, of the signing of the armistice and since the first anniversary a sum of over £5,100,000 had been raised by the sale of poppies and over 340,000,000 poppies had been made and sold. He thought those were most astounding figures. That money had been contributed by the general public because they felt they owed some debt to the ex-service men who served for a cause which they believed a good and sound one.

"Mr. Larking mentioned the great assistance which the money gave to the disabled and blinded ex-service men and referred to the British Legion village of Preston Hall, for tuberculous ex-service men.

"The Legion's Ideal.

"In conclusion he said the Legion was formed with one ideal—to help the ex-service man who needed help, but it was not up to any man to wait until he required assistance before joining the Legion.

"Responding, Col. Layborn said he had read that certain woolly-headed under-graduates had been defying their seniors and waving the red flag about and had said they were not prepared to fight for King and country. He wondered what would have happened if they had all thought that in 1914 and he wondered what the late Earl Haig would have thought had he conceived such a thing would happen when he stood with his back to the wall in 1918.

"The speaker dealt with the forming of the British Legion, which, he said cemented a wonderful comradeship, esprit de corps and freemasonry amongst ex-service men. There were certain people who had a vague idea as to what the Legion stood for and thought it consisted of marching through the streets with bands and standards and a bottle of whisky in their pocket. They had higher ideals than that and they stood for patriotism and service. In conclusion, Col. Layborn said that if the call to arms came to-morrow, some of the "old guard" would not he found wanting."

The Thanet Advertiser and Echo, on 6 Feb 1934 noted that Layborn had taken on new public-minded duties. "New Charity Trustee.—Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Lindenthorpe-road, Broadstairs, has been appointed as a trustee of the Thanet Parochial Charities." The charity, which still exists, distributed grants to the poor and needy within its area where there is no other source of money available. The charity's income is from the letting of land and the receipt of dividends from our investments.

In the spring of 1935, Layborn was one of the members of the Jubilee Celebrations Committee at Broadstairs. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the accession of King George V to the throne, the town was having a united Thanksgiving Service with military, Legion, fraternal orders, and emergency service groups marching in procession to the ceremony on Sunday 5 May 1935. The afternoon would be dedicated to sports and games and, in the evening, dances.

On 7 Jun 1935, the Thanet Advertiser and Echo reported that "upon the suggestion of Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn, Broadstairs Silver Jubilee Committee have decided to purchase a silver challenge cup, in commemoration of the jubilee, to be competed for annually by football teams representing the elementary schools of Broadstairs and St. Peters."

In 1936, a volume of regimental history was published by The Royal Canadian Regiment covering the Regiment's service from 1883 to 1933. Authored by R.C. Fetherstonhaugh, one of the books' appendices was a list of all Permanent Force officers who served in the Regiment from between 1883 and 1935 (just before publication). Layborn's entry reads:

Regimental Service: 1898-1907
Rank attained in the Regiment: Brevet Captain
Service in the Field, Honours and Staff Service: (SA) Queen's Medal, five Clasps; Supply Officer on Staff of Brig.-Gen. Broadwood and Lt.-Gen. French 1900. D.S.A., M.D. 1, 1903. D.S.A., M.D. 8. 1906.

During the spring of 1937, both Lt.-Col. And Mrs Layborn were members of the Broadstairs and St. Peters Coronation Committee. The committee organized a banquet and ball at the Grand Hotel, Broadstairs, hosting over 200 guests, to celebrate the coronation of King George VI.

On 3 Jul 1937, The Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press reported on the presentation of Colours to the Kent Branch of the Red Cross Society. The Colours were presented by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, who was the Commandant-in-Chief of the British Red Cross Society. In a service conducted at Canterbury Cathedral, twenty-five detachments of the Red Cross were represented by 500 to 600 nurses in attendance. The band of the 2nd Battalion, The Buffs, provided music before the service began. Among the guests present to watch the Princess Royal hand the Colours to the Branch's Colour Party while the National Anthem played in the back ground were Col. and Mrs. Layborn. Following the service, the detachments marched to Oak Green where the Colours were trooped.

The Thanet Advertiser and Echo edition of 1 Oct 1937 announced happy news for the Layborn family:

"St. Peter's Wedding.—Miss Jean Layborn, only child of Lieut.-Col. And Mrs. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Broadstairs, will be married at St. Peter's Church to-morrow to Mr. Edward Keith McDermott, eldest son of Mr. And Mrs. E. Duffield McDermott, of The Dean, Borough Green. The ceremony will commence at 3.15 p.m."

Four days later, in its edition of 5 Oct 1937, the Advertiser and Echo provided its readers a detailed description of the Layborn-McDermott wedding:

"Fashionable Broadstairs Wedding

"A romantic life of travel is in store for the daughter of a well-known Broadstairs family, following her marriage at St. Peters Chureh, on Saturday.

"The wedding, which was of a very fashionable nature, was that between Mr. Edward Keith McDermott, elder son of Mr. and Mrs, E. Duffield McDermott, of The Dean, Borough Green, Kent, and Miss Jean Layborn. only child of Lieut.-Col. and Mrs. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Lindenthorpe-road, Broadstairs.

"The bridegroom, who is a mining engineer, is shortly to leave for Arabia for a new mining centre, which is reputed to be the site of one of King Solomon's mines—disused for the past 8OO yours, He will be joined by his bride at the beginning of next year.

"Col. Layborn. who is president of the Broadstairs branch of the British Legion, at one time represented the Kingsgate Ward on Broadstairs Council.

"Picturesquely attired in a gown of pearl white satin, cut on classical lines, with a long train in one with the skirt and headdress of opalescent flowers holding her tulle veil in place, the bride walked up the aisle preceded by the full choir of the church. She was given away by her father and carried a beautiful sheaf of Madonna lilies.

"She was attended by one adult bridesmaid, Miss Anita McDermott, who wore an unusual but beautiful dress of white and gold broche with scarfed headdress of gold tissue. Her bouquet consisted of shaded bronzed chrysanthemums.

"The two small bridesmaids, Loraine and Rosemary Wiley Smith, daughters of Dr. Wiley Smith, wore ankle length white silk frocks with headdresses of bright shaded flowers and Victorian posies.

"All the flowers harmonised beautifully with the harvest thanksgiving decorations which had been placed in the church in readiness for the following day.

"The Vicar (the Rev. K. Percival Smith) conducted the ceremony, which was fully choral, and Mr. Patrick McDermott (brother of the bridegroom) carried out the duties of best man. Mr. Crispin McDermott, Mr. Anthony Taylor and Mr. Tan Shanks acting as ushers for the crowded congregation.

"Mr. A.J. Tattem was the organist and the hymns were "Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven," "Love Divine, all loves excelling" and "God be in my head." Psalm 121 was also chanted.

"Following the service a reception was held at the North Foreland Country Club. where a large number of guests were gathered. and the happy couple later left for their honeymoon, which is being spent motoring in the West of England:

"The bride's travelling attire consisted of a two-piece suit in a new shade of "London tan, trimmed with baby seal skin.

"Mr. and Mrs. McDermott received a large number of presents and telegrams, and more are still arriving."

Well before the start of the Second World War, measures were being taken in anticipation of an outbreak of hostilities. One of these measures was the creation of an air raid warden system, demonstrating that the nation had not forgotten its experiences of the Great War. The Advertiser and Echo, in its 8 Oct 1937 edition, noted the appointment of a head warden at Broadstairs:

"Broadstairs Appoints Head Warden

"The Air Raids Precautions Officer (Capt. C.C. Wallace) has suggested that members of the Air Precautions Committee of Broadstairs Council should take a short course in gas drill.

"The Chairman of the Committee (Councillor B.J. Pearson) has been authorised to arrange for the course to taken by those members desiring it.

"The Council have decided to adhere to their decision to defer the work erecting a gas chamber for the purpose of anti-gas training the grounds of Pierremont Hall until the receipt of intimation from the Government as the amount they are prepared to allow local authorities connection with expenses incurred with regard to air raid precautions. Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn has been appointed head air raid warden, for the urban district."

Despite being appointed head warden, Layborn's days for public appearances and public service were coming to a slow close. The Advertiser and Echo described the Armistice Sunday parade in its edition of 9 Nov 1937. All of the usual participating organizations took part. Layborn, however, although still president of the Broadstairs British Legion, was reported as absent due to an illness.

On 19 Nov 1937, a notice informed readers of the Advertiser and Echo of Layborn's condition:

"Legion invalids.—His many friends will be pleased to learn that Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn, of Byways, Broadstairs, who is in a nursing home, is making steady progress towards recovery following an operation a fortnight ago. Col. Layborn is president of the Broadstairs branch of the British Legion. The chairman of the branch's sports committee, Comdr. L.G.P. Vereker, R.D., R.N.R. (retd.), is also a patient in Margate General Hospital. and upon enquiry we were informed that his condition was satisfactory."

A month later, on 21 Dec 1937, Layborn was again restricted by ill health and unable to attend the funeral of fellow legionnnaire Commander Leopold George P. Vereker, R.D., R.N.R. (retired).

The Layborns had cause to celebrate on 23 Jul 1938. As reported in The Advertiser and Echo a few days later, a son was born to Jean and Edward. Sidney and Lettitia's new grandson was named Keith Patrick McDermott.

The Advertiser and Echo, in its edition of 11 Aug 1939, noted the following in an article on local Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) training and personnel in Broadstairs: "Mr. A.T. Whittle, of 35 Pierremont-avenue, was on Tuesday elected Chief Warden for Broadstairs, in succession to Lieut.-Col. S.P. Layborn." The same paper noted that Layborn had been unable to attend the annual Legion sports day.

On 21 Nov 1939, The Advertiser and Echo published the death notice for Sidney Layborn:

"Layborn.—20th November, at Byways, Broadstairs, Lieut.-Col. Sidney Pilton Layborn, beloved husband of Letitia Mary Layborn (nee Duncan). Funeral in St Peter's Church, Broadstairs, 2.30 Thursday."

The same edition of The Advertiser and Echo included an obituary column:

"Legion Loss
"Death of Lt.-Col. S.P. Layborn
"Distinguished Military Career

"Broadstairs branch of the British Legion is mourning the loss of its President, Lieut.-Col. Sidney Pilton Layborn, who passed away at, his home, Byways, Lindenthorpe-road, on Monday [20 Nov 1939].

"Col. Layborn's associations with Broadstairs dated back to his boyhood, and he returned to live in the town when he retired soon after the end of the Great War.

"During a long and meritorious career in the Army Col. Layborn served with the Canadian Forces in the South African War and with The Buffs on the western front in the Great War.

"Col. Layborn was the eldest son of the late Mr. J.R. Layborn, J.P., of Netherfield Court, Sussex, and St. Benet's, Ramsgate. He was educated in England, France and at the Military College, Kingston, Canada.

"He was gazetted to the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1895 (sic) and on the outbreak of war in South Africa he was appointed to the 1st Canadian contingent which sailed from Quebec under General Otter in October, 1899.

"In Two Wars.

"In February, 1900, he was seconded for duty under General Broadwood as Staff Captain, when the advance was made for the relief of Kimberley.

"Later Col. Layborn was appointed Assistant Supply Officer in French's Cavalry Division, and took part in all the movements and operations leading up to the engagements at "Diamond Hills" and "Belfast."

"On the outbreak of war in 1914 Col. Layborn was appointed to The Buffs and reported for duty in the 3rd Battalion at Dover with the rank of Major.

"He then helped to form the 9th Battalion and proceeded overseas in 1916. Two years later he was appointed second in command of the 3rd Battalion, taking over command in August of the same year (1918).

"Lieut.-Col. Layborn's decorations are the Queen's Medal, with seven clasps, the King's Medal, with two clasps, and the Overseas and Victory Medals.

"On the Council.

"In November, 1928, Col. Layborn was elected a member of Broadstairs Council as a representative of the Kingsgate Ward. Standing at a by-election caused by the retirement of Mr. G.C. Beall, he defeated Mr. W.F. Piper by five votes, At the, conclusion of his term of office in April, 1831, Col. Layborn retired and was succeeded by his former opponent.

"Since then his public activities had been chiefly devoted towards the welfare of the British Legion, in which he succeeded Col. Ruston as president of the local branch. In 1934, however, he was also appointed a trustee of the Thanet Parochial Charities, and he served for some time on the Isle of Thanet Joint Hospital Board.

"He was for a time Chief A.R.P. Warden until ill-health necessitated his retirement from the post.

"The deepest sympathy of the Legion and a wide circle of Friends will be extended to Mrs. Layborn and her daughter, Mrs. E.K. McDermott, in their bereavement.

"The funeral will take place at St. Peter's Church on Thursday [23 Nov 1939] at 2.30 p.m.

"Council's Sympathy

"At a special meeting of Broadstairs Council on Monday the chairman (Councillor F. Foster) said Col. Layborn joined the Council in 1928 and retired in 1931. He had been a trustee of Thanet Parochial Charities since January, 1934. He was chairman of the Ambulance Committee, vice-chairman of the Kent branch of the Red Cross and president of the Broadstairs branch of the British Legion. Col, Layborn was also Chief A.R.P. Warden for some time.

"Col. Layborn had rendered great service to Broadstairs. Many times especially during the past two or three years, he had put in appearances when he was really not fit to be present, out of a sense of duty. He was one of whom Broadstairs should be proud, Public service was the thing that mattered, and practically the only thing that mattered, to him.

"The members stood for a few moments in silent tribute and it was announced that a letter of condolence would be sent to the widow."

Layborn's funeral was conducted on 23 Nov 1939, He was laid to rest in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church. The large number of mourners listed in the Advertiser and Echo reflect the high esteem in which he was held and the many organizations to which he contributed his time and energy.

The Daily Colonist of Victoria, B.C., carried news of Layborn's death in its issue of 5 Jan 1940:

"Officer had Brother Here
"Lieut.-Colonel S.P. Layborn, Veteran of Two Wars, Dies in England

"Captain A.T.B. Layborn, 2065 Oak Bay Avenue, has recently received word from England of the death of his brother, Lieut.-Col. Sidney Picton Layborn, at his home, Byways, Broadstairs.

"Colonel Layborn, who had many friends both here and in Eastern Canada, had a distinguished military career in the South African War and the Great War. He was the eldest son of the late J.R. Layborn, J.P. Netherfield Court, Sussex, and St. Benet's, Ramsgate, and was educated in England, France, and at the Royal Military College at Kingston, Ont.

"He joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1895, and was appointed to the first Canadian contingent which sailed for South Africe in October, 1899; under General Otter. He took part in several famous encounters in the South African campaign, and early in 1900 was seconded for duty as staff captain under General Broadwood when the advance was made for the relief of Kimberley. Later he became assistant supply officer in French's cavalry division, and took part in all the operations leading up to the engagements at Diamond Hills and Belfast.

"In Great War

"When the Great War broke out, he was appointed to the Buffs as major in the 3rd Battalion at Dover. He assisted with the formation of the 9th Battalion and went to France in 1916. In 1918 he was appointed second in command of the 3rd Battalion and later in the year took over the Command. His decorations included the Queen's Medal with seven clasps, the King's Medal with two clasps, and the Overseas and Victory Medals.

"Although it was before his brother, Captain Layborn, took up residence here, Colonel Layborn had more than once visited Victoria, one of the last occasions being in connection with a tour of the Canadian Manufacturers Association.

"Besides his widow, Colonel Layborn is survived by one daughter, Mrs. E.K. McDermott, Northern Rhodesia, and his brother, Capt. A.T.B. Layborn."

The Broadstairs branch of the British Legion held a meeting on Friday, 26 Jan 1940 to elect a new President. The meeting was reported in the pages of The Advertiser and Echo on 30 Jan 1940. By unanimous vote, the position went to Councillor B.J. Pearson who, in his remarks, had the following to say about his predecessor:

"It was my privilege for the past 20 years to be closely acquainted with our late president." said Councillor Pearson. "and I would like to pay my tribute to his untiring services to the Legion ever since he became actively associated with it. It will be remembered that during the time when was not in the best of health Col. Layborn had at all times the welfare of the Legion uppermost in his thoughts. I feel in accepting this position that I am following one whose unstinted service, ability kindliness particularly expressed where ex-service men were concerned made him loved by all with whom he came in contact."

On 12 Mar 1940, the Advertiser and Echo informed its readers with the following note: "Succeeding Her Husband.—In succession to her husband, the late Col. S.P. Layborn, Mrs. Letitia Layborn, of Byways, Lindenthorpe-road, Broadstairs, has been appointed a trustee of the Thanet Parochial Charities."

Layborn's executors prepared the necessary statement informing any creditors that the finalization of his estate was soon to be completed. This was signed on 9 Apr 1941 and published in the London Gazette dated 15 Apr 1941:

"Re: SIDNEY PILTON LAYBORN, Deceased. Pursuant to the Trustee Act, 1925, as amended.

"Letitia Mary Layborn of P.O. Box 140, N'Kana, Northern Rhodesia South Africa, Widow and Arthur Edward Dowley of 56, Finsbury Pavement, London E.C.2 Solicitor, executors of the Will of Sidney Pilton Layborn late of "Byways" St. Peters Thanet in the county of Kent, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) (who died on the aoth day of November 1939 and to whose estate probate was granted by the Principal Probate Registry on the loth day of April 1940 to the said Letitia Mary Layborn and Arthur Edward Dowley) give notice of their intention to make conveyance to or distribution among the persons entitled to the real or personal property of the deceased and require any person interested to send to the undersigned the Solicitors for the said Letitia Mary Layborn and Arthur Edward Dowley on or before the 24th day of June 1941 particulars of his claim in respect of the said real or personal property of the said Sidney Pilton Layborn deceased or any part thereof.—Dated this 9th day of April 1941.

"GEO. BROWN SON and VARDY, 56, Finsbury Pavement, E.C.2, Solicitors for the said (006) Executors."

Letitia Layborn died in South Africa on 24 Mar 1969.

elipsis graphic

Layborn's medals … good, bad, and ugly

Layborn's service supports the award of the Queen's South Africa (QSA) Medal, with five clasps, and the British War Medal (BWM). His entitlement to clasps on his QSA is "Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, and Relief of Kimberley." His BWM was a result of being a Canadian who was serving overseas in the UK, albeit in a British Army appointment.

Each of these medals worn individually to represent service in their respective conflicts had certain connotations that conflicted with Layborn presenting himself after the war as a retired officer of The Buffs. Having a QSA without an accompanying King's South Africa (KSA) Medal suggested shorter service in South Africa than many (most?) British officers would have achieved. Adding a KSA with two clasps (South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902) implies service of at least 18 months in South Africa after Victoria's death in 1901. There is no officially published indication that Layborn returned to South Africa after being invalided to England in 1900. Similarly, no formal justification for the Belfast clasp has been found.

For Layborn's First World War service, a sole entitlement BWM was evidence that he had "come from away" to serve in England during the war and had not crossed into the theatre of war in France and Flanders. A British officer serving only in the UK during the war would have received no medal. To be awarded both medals required that the recipient be on the roll of a unit in a theatre of war. Adding the Victory Medal created the impression that his war service included time in France and Flanders.

Notably, both the KSA and BWM in Layborn's group have been named in non-typical formats and styles. Both medals show signs of having been "skimmed" to remove the original naming they bore in order to have Layborn's details engraved. The padding of his medal group is further compromised by his adoption of "Colonel" in retirement, suggesting rank and responsibility he did not hold during the Great War.

Misrepresenting his service casts a shadow on a respectable career with both Canadian and British armies and over the good works Layborn did in his community in retirement. It is unfortunate that his medals, and the conflicting details of his story that come out in the sources that mention him, show dishonesty in his presentation of his military career. The medals have been kept together as he wore them, with the stories of his service and his medals.

Pro Patria

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