Munroe, Jack

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Munroe, Jack

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John Alexander Munroe was born at Boularderie, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia 26 June 1873 and left home in his early teens to work in the copper mines at Butte, Montana. After taking boxing lessons from the Jack O'Brien Training School in San Francisco, he won his first boxing title in 1900. In 1903 he knocked out World Champion James J. Jeffries with a lucky right punch but lost to him a year later. Jack adopted the Scots collie dog, Bobbie Burns in Mexico City in April 1905. Bobby was about a year old and had been given as a puppy to President Madero by a friend in Cleveland. President Madero then gave the puppy to the family nurse who had little time for the dog. Jack gave a thirsty Bobbie a drink and from then on the dog refused to leave his side. Jack traveled a lot in his youth as a boxer and Bobbie Burns subsequently traveled with him. From the start the collie seemed to have a special connection to Jack. He continued boxing for a couple of years before returning to Canada in 1905 to join the silver rush at Cobalt, Ontario. After missing the train to Cobalt, Ontario, Bobbie once traveled two hundred miles in ten days, through the Ontario bush, to reach Jack. This was the first time Bobbie had been in the Canadian wilderness. Bobbie also seemed to know when Jack's work train was to arrive back in Cobalt, even when the train was hours late. No matter when the train was scheduled to arrive Bobbie would set out in time to meet the train, just as it pulled into the station. In 1907 Jack Munroe was elected the First Reeve of James township where the town of Elk Lake was established following another silver rush. He next moved to Night Hawk Lake for the gold rush there in 1909 and then to Kirkland Lake, Ontario in 1912. When he returned to Night Hawk Lake in 1914 he learned that War had broken out and he immediately joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. When Jack Munroe joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in August 1914, he decided to take Bobbie Burns with him. Bobbie was smuggled aboard ship from Ottawa to Ft. Levis in a potato sack. After the ship docked and the men were lined up by Colonel Farquahar, Bobbie was set upon by a mongrel dog twice his size. The men called it the first Princess Pat's victory of the war and Bobbie was universally accepted as the Regiment's mascot. This became official when Bobbie was presented a collar in the presence of Princess Patricia saying "Bobbie Burns P.P.C.L I.". Even though Bobbie's status was official he was still smuggled aboard the SS Royal George in a potato sack. After arriving in Britain, Bobble avoided the quarantine imposed on other Regimental Mascots. Jack and his friends hid Bobbie and bought a substitute. When the Regiment sailed for France Bobbie was left behind to follow with the quartermaster's supplies and the horses. Bobbie would remain with the Transport Section in France for the remainder of Jack's service overseas. Private Jack Munro was wounded in the right breast on 6 June 1915 at Armentieres. The wound severed an artery and a nerve, resulting almost in his death and in the loss of the use of his right arm. Bobbie, without ever seeing the wounded Jack, remained in France for 2 months while Jack was shipped to England. During the 2 months that Bobbie remained behind he became listless and lost so much weight that the soldiers became concerned that he was pinning away and wrote to Jack. Special permission was obtained for Bobbie to stay at the hospital. Jack was reunited with Bobbie Burns and the two spent 1 1/2 years in Netley Hospital in England. Following his convalescence Jack remained in England and was commissioned as a Lieutenant. After returning to Canada in 1918 and writing the book "Mopping Up", Bobbie and Jack received a medal from the Toronto Humane Society. Following the War, Jack took an engineering course and married Toronto concert singer Colina Gordon (Lina) Crane in 1923. He continued to be heavily involved in the prospecting and promotion of mining properties in Red Lake where he maintained a summer cabin. Hespent his last years in Toronto, Ontario where he died at home in 1942.


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