The Town Founder

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Lyon
192nd (Crow’s Nest Pass) BattalionLyon

A most interesting visitor to Blairmore during the week was Mr. Harry E. Lyon, well known by the real old-timers of the town, having been connected with the drafting of the plans of the original Blairmore, being in real estate and later becoming the town’s first mayor, etc…

(Blairmore Enterprise, 27 October 1944, 4)

Henry Edward Lyon was a real estate promoter, mayor of Blairmore, Alberta, and a member of Loyal Orange Lodge No. 2224. Born on 17 December 1874 in Richmond, Ontario, he moved west in 1898 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway.  He soon established himself as a local community leader. He owned the first automobile in the district, was active in organizing amateur hockey and joined the 23rd Alberta Rangers.

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The Militiaman

Lieutenant Colonel A. A. Cockburn
182nd (Ontario County) Battalion Cockburn

The novelty of soldiery in this town has worn off, and our citizens were not sufficiently impelled by a sense of duty to give the 182nd Ont. County Battalion a welcome worthy of the name. But the Mayor and two or three citizens were all that put in an appearance as the train pulled in…

It was a reception to which Oshawa could hardly be proud…

(Oshawa Reformer, 25 Oct 1916)

Born on 4 January 1867 in Stormont, Canada West, Angus Alexander Cockburn served for thirteen years in the Queen’s Own Rifles and seventeen in the 34th (Ontario County) Regiment. In late 1915, Cockburn, along with fellow 34th major and rival Sam Sharpe, was authorized to each raise a battalion from Ontario County. Once Sharpe’s 116th, based in Uxbridge, neared completion by spring 1916, Cockburn began to organize the 182nd from his headquarters in Whitby.

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The Usurped

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Osborne
9th BattalionOsborne

Some little time after it had been at Valcartier I am informed that as Colonel Osborne sat in his tent one morning another gentlemen, Colonel Maynard Rogers, entered the tent and said to Colonel Osborne; “I am in command of the 9th Battalion.”

(Frank Oliver, Debates, 6 May 1916, 3549)

Born in Port Stanley, Canada West on 13 May 1860, Frank A. Osborne was commanding officer of the 101st Edmonton Fusiliers. After the declaration of war against Germany in August 1914, Osborne offered his services to the Militia Department and raised the 9th Battalion from Alberta. According to Liberal MP Frank Oliver, once the unit arrived at Valcartier, Samuel Maynard Rogers, Jasper Park superintendent and Boer War veteran, usurped power from Osborne.

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The Royal Marine

Lieutenant Colonel W. W. P. Gibsone, D.S.O.
&
Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Vincent
40th (Nova Scotia) Battalion

The next unit was the Fortieth. The command was given to a professional soldier not a Nova Scotian. After it had been recruited he was ordered to England. The command then devolved on an officer who had come to Nova Scotia but recently.

(Maj. J.W. Maddin, ex-MP to Borden, 9 Dec 1916)

Born on 6 June 1872 in Quebec City, William Waring Primrose Gibsone was a professional army officer with the Royal Canadian Regiment. In February 1915, he was appointed to command the 40th Battalion. After receiving a staff posting to England in June, command of the 40th went to Arthur Gustave Vincent, a veteran of the Royal Marine Light Infantry. Born on 17 November 1862 in Saint Peter’s, Guernsey, Channel Islands, Vincent enlisted in the R.M.L.I. at the age of nineteen in 1881. He retired with the rank of major in February 1901 and remained on the reserve list until 1912.

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The Anti-Bolshevik

Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Warden, D.S.O.
102nd (Warden’s Warriors) BattalionWarden

Left my batt. & France for England. 8 am, this is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I have the best Batt. in France, there never were men tougher, braver more loyal, more capable, more loved by CO, the finest fighters. It just about broke my heart, I could not say goodbye to a single one. God, how I loved them.

(Warden Diary, 8 Jan 1918)

Born on 8 November 1871 in Baywater, New Brunswick, John Weightman Warden was a British Columbia broker and veteran of the Boer War. He was among the first to enlist after the declaration of war in August 1914. Describing his experiences fighting with the 7th Battalion in the trenches, he explained, “The Boer War was nothing compared with this war. I had been in South Africa, but I found that I knew nothing about war at all.”

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The Hotelman

Lieutenant Colonel “Big Nick” Nicholson
Nicholson  &
Lieutenant M. Stewart NicholsonNicholson_MS251st (Goodfellows) Battalion

Col. Nicholson said he had believed he could raise a battalion, and had offered to try to do so. He felt confident, from the results that had attended his effort, that he would succeed.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 16 Jan 1917, 7)

Popularly known as Big Nick, George Henry Nicholson was manager of the Clarington Hotel in Winnipeg. He was born in Woodburn, Canada West on 25 April 1863. He had belonged to the 13th Regiment in Hamilton before moving to Manitoba in 1909. In September 1916, Nicholson received authorization to raise the 251st Battalion.

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The Ruthless

Brigadier General John M. Ross
29th (Vancouver) Battalion JMRoss

At the end of September 1916, twenty German prisoners were transferred from the 28th Battalion to the 29th under the command of John Munro Ross. After only eleven prisoners arrived to the “Corps Cage,” the 6th Brigade command staff began to make inquiries. Ross clarified the situation:

“The enemy party mentioned ran into bad luck and after a misunderstanding with one of my L.G. [Lewis Gun] crews they were too dead to be used as prisoners.”

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The Public Servant

Lieutenant Colonel H. V. Rorke, D.S.O.
20th (Central Ontario) BattalionHVRorke

His character was above reproach and his whole-hearted zeal for the welfare of his men had earned for him their perfect confidence as a commander. He had never sought popularity, yet men and officers felt that they were losing a friend.

(D. J. Corrigall, The History of the Twentieth Canadian Battalion, 1935, 205)

Hebert Victor Rorke was a federal civil servant and member of the 3rd Regiment since 1885. He was born on 25 April 1869 in the Township of Collingwood, Ontario. He enlisted in Lieutenant Colonel J. A. W. Allan’s 20th Battalion on the formation of the First Contingent at Valcartier. On the front, he served as second-in-command under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Herman Rogers until December 1916 when he took over the 20th.

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The Ranger

Lieutenant Colonel C. H. Rogers
20th (Central Ontario) BattalionCHRogers

If Britain should be drawn into the vortex of another European war, it would be difficult for Canada to claim the benefits of Empire and remain neutral. On the other head, if we saw fit to establish more friendly relations with our neighbours to the South, we might be drawn into a struggle bordering on the Pacific.

(Rogers, Toronto Globe, 9 Apr 1934, 10)

A descendant of famed Revolutionary War Loyalist Ranger, Robert Rogers, Charles Herman Rogers came from a long line of militiamen. Born in Grafton, Ontario on 28 December 1876, as a boy he joined the 40th Northumberland Regiment commanded by his father, Colonel Robert Zacheus Rogers (1843—1911). He served in the Boer war and in 1913 succeeded his uncle, Henry Cassidy Rogers, in command of the 3rd Prince of Wales Canadian Dragoons. In September 1914, Rogers became second-in-command to David Watson of the 2nd Battalion.

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The Nobleman

Brigadier General Lord Brooke
4th and 12th Infantry BrigadesLordBrooke

All day long I had witnessed the tragedy of men “made in the image of God” bringing their utmost skill and science to the hateful task of mutual murder.

As an exhibition of scientific slaughter the firing was lacking in nothing. The range of the guns was exact, the shooting perfect. The shrapnel burst over the heads of the retreating troops, as it were in large patterns. There was no cover, no escape for the unhappy Russians. Under this awful hail of bullets the men dropped like wheat beneath the sickle of the reaper. Death most truly was gathering a rich harvest.

(Lord Brooke, An Eye-Witness in Manchuria, 1905 131)

Born on 10 September 1882, Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville was the son of British Conservative MP Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick (styled Lord Brooke) and Daisy Greville, Lady Warwick, a socialist socialite who had been mistress to King Edward VII. While a student at Eton, Lord Brooke ran away to fight in the Boer War. He was a press correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War and recounted his experiences in An Eye-Witness in Manchuria (1905).

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