The Ringleader

Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionMcAvity

“Actual demonstration of the wonderful ability of the Overland cars in the rear of the trenches of the allied nations caused me to buy an Overland.” said Colonel McAvity, 26th Battalion, St. John, N.B., Just after one of the new Overland models was delivered to him by J. A. Pugnley, Overland dealer at St. John. Colonel McAvity recently returned home on a short furlough, and in order to get the most out of his, brief leave of absence purchased a motor car.

(Ottawa Journal, 26 August 1916, 13)

James Lupton McAvity was born on 8 October 1867 in Saint John, New Brunswick. He began his career with the family manufacturing business, T. McAvity & Sons Ltd. in the mid-1880s. His position as a company manager and representative took him to western Canada, Chicago and New York. During the gold rush of 1897, he traveled to Alaska and the Yukon in search of his fortune.

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The Commandant

Lieutenant Colonel F. F. Clarke, D.S.O.
127th (12th York Rangers) BattalionClarke

“We hold the record for railway building in France. We had a very difficult piece to build, because it was in full view of the German lines in daylight for about 1½ miles across a valley.

When the air cleared on Thursday the Germans saw the railway track from their observation balloon and started to shell it, and, after sending over about 200 shells, they broke a rail, which was repaired in a few-minutes. This line can only be used at night, without light or noise

(F. F. Clarke, Railway Age Gazette, 1918, 404)

Frederick Fieldhouse Clarke was an engineer and surveyor in northern Ontario. Born on 22 August 1878 in Hamilton, Clarke had moved north during the mining rush around Cobalt. He served for three years with the Royal Canadian Regiment and nearly twenty with the 12th York Rangers. Through his work with northern railway development, Clarke helped to found the town of Kapuskasing in 1911

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The Home Guard

Lieutenant Colonel W. T. Stewart
84th (Toronto Depot) BattalionWTStewart

…the genial silver-haired Irishman who commands the regiment, and who is the originator of the Home Guard movement of Canada, a movement that to-day has over 160,000 men in its train. The chief characteristic of this commander is that when he wants anything he gets it.

(Brantford Expositor, Dec 1915, 16)

A native of Killarney, Ireland, William Thomas Stewart was a twenty-five year member of the Canadian militia, serving in the 13th (Hamilton), the 66th (Princess Louise) and 100th (Royal Canadians) Regiments. One month after the outbreak of the First World War, Stewart began organizing the Home Guards from Toronto.

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The Troublemakers

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Allen
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Innes
106th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionInnes

A fellow works his heart and soul out to recruit and organize a Battalion, brings it across here with the expectation of taking it to the front, has it taken away without even a “thank-you” and is then told that he must revert, or go back to Canada. A just reward for his efforts!

(Innes to McCurdy, MP, 8 Nov 1916)

Born on 1 April 1882 in Kidderminster, England, Walter Henry Allen was a Nova Scotia carriage builder and Boer War veteran. He had enlisted as a captain with the 17th Battalion in September 1914 and fought with the 15th Battalion in France. After being wounded, Allen was authorized to raise the 106th in November 1915. Six months later, Allen was brought before a court martial board for ” behaving in a scandalous manner, unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman.” He was cashiered and replaced by Robert Innes, a twenty-four year old major. Born on 18 August 1891 in Colbrook, Nova Scotia, Innes held a degree in scientific agriculture and had served for several years in the militia.

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The Tanner

Lieutenant Colonel F. C. McCordick
35th (Toronto) BattalionMcCordick

My dear Col. McCordick,

If you haven’t already heard, you will be surprised to get this letter from me– in Germany. It happened at that awful slaughter– the 3rd battle of Ypres, & even now when I think of it all, I doubt my reality of existence…

…Hope all is well with you & 35th. Good luck & best regards to all.

(A. Watson Sime to McCordick, 3 July 1916)

Born on 2 June 1873 in St. Catherines, Ontario, Frank Case McCordick was a leather manufacturer and member of the 19th Regiment. In early 1915, he took command of the 35th  Battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Charles Frederick Bick who transferred to the 37th. Many of McCordick’s volunteers belonged to Toronto’s militia units, the Royal Grenadiers, the Queen’s Own Rifles, the 48th Highlanders, the 12th York Rangers, and the 109th Regiment.

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The Gassed

Lieutenant Colonel C. F. Bick
37th (Northern Ontario) BattalionBick

His heart is intermitting. He is very nervous. There is a fine tremor over the entire body. Insomnia. He is easily startled by the slightest noise. He wakes up several times during the night.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, Exhibition Camp, 12 Apr 1917)

Born on 1 December 1866 in Berkeley, England, Charles Frederick Bick was a building contractor with thirty-four years’ experience in the Canadian militia. He immigrated to Canada at the age of four. Bick served for four years with the 10th Royal Grenadiers in Toronto before moving to Cannington in 1885. He joined the 34th Ontario Regiment as a private and rose through the ranks to become commanding officer in 1913.

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The One-Eyed

Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Buller, D.S.O. †
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Buller

The question of the command of the battalion is now, I am glad to be able to tell you, admirably settled in the appointment of Buller with the temporary rank of Lieut.-Colonel. Although Farquhar can never be replaced, Buller will make a splendid commanding officer. He has, as of course you know, the absolute confidence of us all and is eminently qualified for the arduous duties which lie before him.

(Maj. Gault to Sam Hughes, 20 Apr 1915)

Hebert Cecil Buller succeeded Lieutenant Colonel F. D. Farquhar as commander of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry on 21 March 1915. The son of British Admiral Alexander Buller, he was born in 1881 in England. He joined the Rifle Brigade in 1900 and later became aide-de-camp to Governor General of Canada Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. In August 1914, Buller joined P.P.C.L.I. as the battalion adjutant.

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The Princess & The Guardsman

Colonel-in-Chief Princess Patricia of Connaught
Lieutenant Colonel F. D. Farquhar, D.S.O. †
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light InfantryFarquhar

So poor Francis Farquhar is dead; killed, as he would have wished it himself, in action, fighting for his own dear country and her Allies.

(London Times, 30 Mar 1915, 14)

Francis Douglas Farquhar was a Coldstream Guard and military secretary to the Governor General of Canada Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Born on 1 September 1874 in England, Farquhar had been a professional soldier and veteran of the Boer War and Somaliland.

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