Five Orangemen Killed in the Line of Duty, July 10th 1902
Five Toronto Orangemen Killed in Line of Duty
July 10th, 1902
On the morning of Thursday July 10th, 1902 a fire broke out at the warehouse of the Macintosh Feed Company. A Toronto Police constable noticed the flames, raised the alarm, and firemen were soon on the scene. The building was located on George Street south of Front. The building had been at times used as a stable for the horses of the Toronto Street Railway (TTC predecessor) and large quantities of feed was stored within.
Without warning the east side of the building collapsed burying three firefighters under tons of brick and ruble. The three men; David See, Harry Clarke, and Adam Kerr were killed instantly.
Within minutes the south wall also collapsed immediately killing another two men, Captain Walter Collard and Fred Russell.
In total five men died fighting the stubborn Macintosh blaze and is the greatest loss of life in the long and gallant history of the Toronto Fire Department. Even the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, a much larger fire which destroyed much of the downtown core, had no loss of life.
All five fallen firefighters were members of Toronto Orange Lodges.
At their memorial service held on Sunday July 13th at St.James Cathedral; the Reverend Cannon Dixon (himself an Orangeman), delivered the eulogy. He noted how all five of the men had attended the Annual Service of The County Lodge on the previous Sunday. The attendance at the Cathedral was so great that admission was by ticket only. The funeral procession went west on King Street and north on Yonge Street to Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the largest such procession in Toronto’s history. The vast throng of mourners took and hour and a quarter to pass a given point.
At the cemetery the interment was handled by members of the Orange Lodge. The crowd was so large that many sections of the grass were torn up.
Harry Clarke was a member of Maple Leaf L.O.L.455 and the pallbearers were all Past Masters of that lodge in the persons of W.Fitgerald, W.J. Chick, Thomas Greenway and Thomas Dyas.
Captain Walter Collard was a member of Queen City L.O.L.857 and his pallbearers were Harry Page, Thomas Self, John Winnett, C.Wilson, James Mayor, and Fred Hogg all members of L.O.L.857
David See was a member of William III L.O.L.140 and members of L.O.L.140: Frank Somers, H.M.Brown, T.R.Whiteside, William Crawford, Dr. Noble and John Patterson were his pallbearers. Ed. Note: Frank Somers was the 4th County Master of Toronto (1884-86) and his portrait is in the Toronto House of Orange immediately behind the Treasurer’s station.
Adam Kerr was a member of Belfast Purple Star L.O.L.875 and his pallbearers were consisted of three members of that lodge; Robert Caldwell, James McNeil, W.J.Dundas as well as three members from G Company of the Toronto Grenadiers.
Fred Russell was a member of Dalton McCarthy L.O.L.1084 his pallbearers were fellow firefighters from the Yonge Street Fire Hall.
David See, Harry Clarke and Adam Kerr worked out of the Lombard Street Fire hall, Fred Russell was from the Yonge Street Fire hall and Captain Walter Collard was from the Rose Avenue Fire hall.
At the Orange Parade on Saturday the 12th of July 1902 all five lodges had their banners draped in memory of the fallen brethren and all the members supported black armbands in mourning their loss.
All five are buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Plot B.
Harry Clarke – Section 8, Lot 7
Walter Collard – Section 8, Lot 6
David See – Section 7, Lot 7
Adam Kerr – Section 6, Lot 7
Fred Russell – Section 6, Lot 7
Submitted by John Wells – County Secretary – Aug 20th, 2009
1/ Canadian Orange Historical Site of Rt. Wor. Bro. Alec Rough
2/ Toronto Star, Monday July 14th, 1902
3/ Website of the Mount Pleasant Group
4/ City of Toronto Archives