Shirreff, William Percival

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William Percival Sherriff
14 November 1910 – 1982
Colonel W.P. Shirreff portrait (2).jpg
Place of birth Carleton County, Ontario
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Colonel
Awards OBE
William Percival Sherriff, (14 November 1910 - 1982) was a Canadian soldier who served in the Second World War as a member of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

Early Life

William was born to parents William Taylor Shirreff (a physician) and Grace Ann (nee Ballantyne) on 14 November 1910 in Carleton County, Ontario. In the 1921 census, the family is shown living at 74 Third Ave, Ottawa Ontario.


- Attended the Royal Military College of Canada (joined in 1929, student number 2117).
- HQ Militia District No. 3 in Kinston Ontario in May 1938.
- 7 Nov 1939 - Left Toronto to report to Barriefield Camp to join 2 Company, "G" Section, 1st Canadian Divisional Signals
- 24 Nov 1939 - Lt. posted to No. 1 Coy, 2 Div Sigs
- Apr 1940 - Capt with 2 Div Sigs
- 13-22 May 1940 - proceeded overseas
- Sep 1940 - Part of 2nd Canadian Divisional Signals. Attached to Canadian Section, GHQ effective 11 Sep 1940.
- 23 Dec 1940 - Posted to command 2 Company, 2 Div Sigs
- Apr 1941 - Capt with 2 Div Sigs
- 22 May 1941 - returned to Canada
- Dec 1941 - a Major with 5th Canadian Armoured Divisional Signals, No. 3 Squadron
- Sep 1942 - Major. proceed from 5 Div Sigs to Senior Officers Course
- Oct 1943 - Lt-Col at 4 Div Sigs
- 18 Jul 1944 - arrived France 4 Cdn Armd Div Sigs
- 31 Jan 1945 - left 4 Div Sigs (goodbye visit to No. 4 Coy)
- 22 Mar 1945 - Chief Instructor No. 7 Canadian Signals Training Centre
- 4 Dec 1945 to 18 April 1946 & 16 Sep 1947 to 20 Sep 1948 - Commandant Canadian Signal Training Centre

Officer of the Order of the British Empire Citation

The citation for his Military Medal read:

Lt-Col Shirreff has displayed outstanding qualities as a comd, and great ability and energy in performing the functions of C R Sigs of this fmn throughout the whole period of it's ops in NW EUROPE. Owing to long rapid advs, constantly changing deployment and regrouping of the div, the problem of maintaining comns has, at all times, been extremely onerous. Due very largely to his untiring efforts and the keenly able and versatile mind, which he has devoted to the countless difficult and at times wholly unpredictable problems which arose, this fmn has invariably been able to operate without concern for that fundamental essential of successful ops, good comns. During the latter part of Oct and the early part of Nov 44, 4 Cdn Armd Div was given the difficult task of clearing the area NE of ANTWERP to STEENBERGEN. The enemy had ample opportunity to mine and booby trap all likely lines of adv and lateral routes. Lt-Col Shirreff's keen foresight and ingenious planning resulted in the maintenance, at all times, of good fwd and lateral comns, despite the constant changes of plan which became necessary. He has, at all times, insisted upon the highest standard of technical efficiency and soldierly conduct of the offrs and ORs under his comd. Due greatly to his own personal example and ability to draw from all whom he comds the very best of service, the sigs of this fmn have won the greatest respect and confidence of all comds of the div. Lt-Col Shirreff exemplifies the very highest tradition of service of his Corps. It can be truly said of him that he has contributed greatly to the success of this fmn's ops. [4th Canadian Armoured Divisional Signals]

Personal Life

Married Madalin Carruthers (daughter of Mr and Mrs. John Carruthers) on 17 October 1938 at St. Andrews Church in Kingston.[1]

1974 Voters list has him living at 163 Churchill Cres in Kingston Ontario and his occupation as Real Estate.

Madalin's obituary appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard on December 3, 2005. "SHIRREFF, Madalin Carruthers A Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Madalin Shirreff will be held on Saturday, December 10th at 2 p.m. The Service will be held at Chalmers Church, corner of Clergy and Barrie Streets. If desired, a donation in lieu of flowers to the Alzheimer Society of Kingston would be gratefully appreciated."

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References and Notes

  1. RMC Review, Vol. 19 No. 38. December 1938.