John William Gow Logan, a Canadian soldier killed at the Battle of the Somme, is shown in a handout photo provided by his great niece Leslie Lavers. Logan had one course and some articling to complete before becoming a lawyer, but his death in the First World War left his dream unfinished.Logan is one of 37 aspiring lawyers to be posthumously admitted to the bar in a ceremony Friday at the Calgary Courts Centre, ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the armistice ending the conflict.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelsie Lavers MANDATORY CREDIT

Law students killed in WWI called to bar 100 years later

37 aspiring lawyers to be posthumously admitted to the bar in a ceremony at the Calgary Courts Centre

John William Gow Logan had one course and some articling to complete before becoming a lawyer, but his death in the First World War left his dream unfinished.

The son of Manitoba homesteaders enlisted as a private in the 50th Battalion in 1915 and within months was promoted to corporal. He was killed on the last day of the Battle of the Somme in France on Nov. 18, 1916 — a month shy of his 30th birthday.

Logan is one of 37 aspiring lawyers to be posthumously admitted to the bar in a ceremony Friday at the Calgary Courts Centre ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the armistice ending the conflict.

Logan’s great-niece Leslie Lavers, along with her daughter and some cousins, planned to be in the ceremonial courtroom for his bar call.

“It’s a piece of closure,” she said. ”It brings him back and it puts him to rest all at the same time.”

RELATED: Canadian painter Bev Tosh shares her series paying tribute to war brides

Lavers never knew her “great-uncle Gow,” but she learned a lot about him from his eight siblings who lived into their 80s and 90s.

“The shadow of his death lasted with them until their own deaths.”

Letters Logan sent during the war were witty and cheerful, always seeking to ease the worries of his loved ones, she said. In one, he complains to his sister: “There are far too many lice and they are far too affectionate for my liking.”

Keith Marlowe with the Legal Archives Society of Alberta said that every November the profession recognizes members who died serving. But when law students’ names are read, there has always been the caveat that they were “never called.”

“But for the war, all of these students would have gone on to become lawyers and they would have given back to the Alberta legal community,” said Marlowe, a partner at Blakes, Cassels and Graydon.

RELATED: B.C. church bell to toll again in memory of First World War

“We wanted to make sure they were treated in the same way, on the same footing, with the same recognition as the Alberta lawyers who also perished in the war.”

The families of 13 students have been tracked down. Of those, relatives of six planned to attend, Marlowe said.

The gallery in Calgary’s ceremonial courtroom seats 350, but Marlowe said he was expecting so many people that he was looking into an overflow room days before the ceremony.

Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Mary Moreau, associate chief Justice John Rooke and Justice Blair Nixon are to preside as the would-be lawyers are called in two groups of 12 and one group of 13.

Relatives and current law students are to take oaths and sign certificates on their behalf.

Organizers credit Patrick Shea, a partner at Gowlings in Toronto who was in the reserves, with making the ceremony possible.

Shea has devoted much of his spare time to digging through historical records and amassing details on the 550 Canadian lawyers and law students killed during the First World War.

“The sacrifice they gave is well worth the sacrifice and time that I gave,” he said.

A posthumous bar call was held in 2014 for Ontario law students killed in the First World War and there was one for the Second World War dead last year. Newfoundland and Labrador has had a similar tribute, and Shea said he hopes law societies in other provinces follow suit.

Shea said one law firm in Ontario had to close during the Great War because everyone there enlisted. He said so many Canadians in the profession signed up to fight overseas because it was seen as the right thing to do.

“That’s what lawyers do. We defend causes.”

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

MP asks Minister of Transport for review of safe crew levels on new ferries

The new ferries were approved to run with smaller crew sizes, raising safety concerns

$8,179,919 in grant funding announced for North Island communities

This local funding is part of over $228 million in grants going to B.C. communities.

Port Hardy earns Bear Smart certification

Community committed to living safely alongside bears

Funding police would be ‘most expensive single budget item we would have’ says Port Hardy councillor

‘we’re not panicking — I can’t see our population numbers jumping up that high that quick’

Small physically distant running event with big heart held in Port Hardy

Indigenous Run/Walk program went ahead this year, with some downsizing due to COVID-19

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read