Reverend William Beattie was born in Fergus, Ontario in April, 1873. After his graduation from college in 1900 he moved to Cobourg, Ontario where he was the minister in the Presbyterian Church. Beattie enlisted in September, 1914 and sailed with the first contingent to France as the Chaplain to the First Canadian Brigade, and then later served as the Senior Chaplain of the Second Division. Beattie was created a Commander of St. Michael and St. George in recognition of "...his most conspicuous gallantry and distinguished conduct at the gas attack at St. Julien and through all the subsequent severe fighting of the period. Working unremittingly, with complete disregard to danger, he assisted in collecting wounded on many fields of action." He later returned to Ottawa in 1918 to organize the Chaplain Service of Canada and was at that time promoted to the rank of Colonel. The collection currently consists of thirty-four letters and two photographs. There are however other Beattie letters in the Cobourg World collection in the Special Items section, as he also sent letters back to the local newspaper for publication.