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.”

Born in West Zorra Township, Ontario on 2 July 1877, Ross was an experienced militia officer and decorated veteran of the South African campaign. He fought at the battle of Paardeberg and aided in the capture of Boer General Piet Cronjé. In November 1914, he volunteered with Henry Seymour Tobin’s 29th Battalion at the rank of major.

29thRossWhen Tobin was recalled to England in July 1916, command passed to Major John Spottiswood Tait and Ross became acting second-in-command. After Tait was buried by a shell explosion and invalided to England on 10 September 1916, Ross took command of the 29th

Tait briefly resumed command in December but, still suffering from the effects of shell shock, he was again replaced by Ross on 22 January 1917. Proven to be a capable and effective leader, Ross was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and four times mentioned in dispatches. After leading the battalion through the battle of Vimy Ridge, he was promoted to brigadier general of the 5th Infantry Brigade on 23 July 1917. Major W. S. Latta assumed command of the 29th.

Suffering a gunshot wound to the leg on 9 August 1918, Ross was admitted to hospital and relinquished command of the 5th Brigade to Thomas-Louis Tremblay of the 22nd Battalion. He returned to the field on 28 October 1918 to take over the 10th Brigade from General R. J. F. Hayter.

Ross continued his career with the Canadian Army after the war. He died on 28 January 1958.

Digitized Service File:

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