Talbot Mercer Papineau

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Talbot Mercer Papineau
Born (1883-03-25)25 March 1883
Montebello, Quebec
Died 30 October 1917(1917-10-30) (aged 34)
Passchendaele (Passendale), Belgium
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Years of service 1914–1917
Rank Major
Unit Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Awards Military Cross
Relations Louis-Joseph Papineau – grandfather

Major Talbot Mercer Papineau, MC (25 March 1883 – 30 October 1917) was a lawyer and decorated soldier from Quebec, Canada.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Montebello, Quebec, he was the son of Louis-Joseph Papineau (grandson of the Patriote leader Louis-Joseph Papineau). His mother, Caroline Rogers, was from an affluent Philadelphia family. Bilingual in French and English, he was raising primarily speaking English and in his mother's Protestant faith. He was educated at the High School of Montreal and at McGill University. In 1905, he was one of the first Canadians to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, and subsequently studied law at Brasenose College, Oxford. He also played ice hockey for the Oxford Canadians. Returning to Montreal in 1908, he started practising law.

In August 1914, he enlisted with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and was commissioned a lieutenant. Through an exchange in newspapers in 1916 he argued with his cousin, the anti-imperialist nationalist leader Henri Bourassa, over support for the war and the British Empire. Papineau's letter to Bourassa would eventually be published in The Times of London. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in Belgium and he eventually rose to the rank of major. He was hit by a shell and killed during the Battle of Passchendaele near Ypres on October 30, 1917. His body was never identified, and he is commemorated at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

In 1937 his mother presented an award in his honour to be presented annually by the Debating Union of his alma mater, McGill University.

He was one of the four Canadians featured in the book Tapestry of War: A Private View of Canadians in the Great War[1] by Sandra Gwyn.

Papineau was portrayed by Justin Trudeau in the CBC Television film The Great War.


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