The Home Wrecker

Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Whitaker
3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles

The plaintiff [Mr. Hill] charges that the defendant [Col. Whitaker] alienated his wife’s affections and has broken up his home.

(Lethbridge Herald, 10 May 1917, 4)

Louis James Whitaker was a Fort Saskatchewan dry goods merchant and commanding officer of the 19th Alberta Dragoons. He was born in Staffordshire, England on 19 September 1870. He had belonged to the Manchester Volunteers before immigrating to Canada. In December 1914, he was appointed to command the 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles from Alberta. After landing in France in September 1915, he served for four months in the trenches before the 3rd CMR was disbanded on the reorganization of the Mounted Rifles Brigade.

He returned to Alberta in March 1916 and assumed a staff position with No. 13 Military District headquarters. He resigned a year later. Around this time, in February 1917, the local press reported that Whitaker and a woman had been arrested in the United States.

In May 1917, the woman’s husband, George Stephen Hill, a Fort Saskatchewan storekeeper, sued Whitaker for $50,000 in damages, accusing the colonel of having an affair with his wife. The plaintiff alleged that after Whitaker left with the 3rd CMR for England, Mrs. Hill ran away to the United States. George Hill later learned that she and Whitaker had carried on a correspondence while the colonel was overseas. When Whitaker returned from England, he met Mrs. Hill in the United States and the couple went to Calgary. Passing themselves off as cousins, they went back to the United States in February en route to Los Angeles. Suspicious American immigration agents telegraphed George Hill about the curious movements of his wife. Hill instructed authorities to detain the pair.

When the couple was sent back to Canada, Mr. Hill brought his law suit against Whitaker. A Calgary court dismissed the case five months later as Hill was unable to prove he had been legally married to his wife in the first place.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s