Lt. Jaffray Eaton was born on June 6th, 1886, to a well to do family in Owen Sound, Ontario, for his family owned the Eaton Malt Company the local brewery. He, like many others of his day, joined the local Militia Regiment and having been educated at University College, graduating with a BA in 1907, he held a commission in the 31st (Grey) Regiment.

It was during his time with the 31st Regiment that he began to befriend and mentor a young soldier by the name of Tom Rutherford, who would also take his commission with the 147th (Grey) Battalion. At the outbreak of hostilities Major Eaton was the 31st Regiment's Adjutant and he helped in recruiting and dispatching those initial drafts that helped form the first contingents of the fledgling Canadian Corps. He was appointed as Adjutant of the 86th Machine Gun Battalion for a short time, but when the 147th (Grey) Battalion was finally authorized, Major Eaton would transfer to his County's unit and revert to Honorary-Captain to secure a position to go overseas with his unit.

On the 14th of November, 1916, the 147th sailed on the Olympic (one of the sister ships of the ill-fated Titanic) with 32 Officers and 910 men. But, like so many others, when they arrived in England the 147th Battalion would be disbanded and used for reinforcements for those units already in the field. When they were disbanded it was the 147th Battalion who would form the nucleus of the 8th Reserve Battalion. And it was the 8th Reserve Battalion who became one of the main contributors of reinforcements to the 4th CMR. This is why a total of 354 members of the 147th Battalion would end up serving with the 4th CMR: over 1/3rd of the 147th's initial compliment of men.

Captain Eaton would not be alone in England, for Mrs. Eaton (seen with Jaffray in the picture above) would follow her only son there. With her family's money and help from the Order of the Daughter's of the Empire, she and other women from Grey County would open The Grey Rooms in London, England. It was here that the soldiers from Grey County and by default many a 4th CMR man would meet and relax in comfortable surroundings when they were in London on leave.

Captain Eaton would eventually revert his rank once again, this time to the rank of Lieutenant so that he could see service in France. There he was taken on strength with the 4th CMR on the 5th of July, 1917, and he would serve with the Mounted Rifles up to Passchendaele. Then, on the evening of the 25th of October, 1917, he would meet and shake hands with Lieutenant Rutherford as they placed their men in preparation for the opening of the forthcoming battle. This was the last Lieutenant Rutherford saw of his friend, Jaffray, who was killed the next day.

Lieutenant Rutherford eventually found Jaffray's remains, some 16 months later, and paid a local farmer to bury them where he fell. However, as he has no known grave, as recognised by the CWGC, his name appears on Tablet T, Panel 30 of the Menin Gate Memorial (please click on the picture for a larger image).

His name can also be seen on the Memorial Screen found as part of the University of Toronto's campus War Memorial, The Soldier's Tower.

But of all the memorials and testaments given to Lieutenant Jaffray Eaton, none is more moving than the one Lieutenant Tom Rutherford bestowed on his friend, for he would name his son Jaffray. And this honour would carry on through three generations of Rutherford's, a living testament to a man's sacrifice and a friendship lost.

Credit and many thanks go to George Auer for the above biography and Lt. Eaton image.

Menin Gate, Tablet T, Panel 30, image courtesy of