Lieutenant Colonel Claude H. Hill, D.S.O.
Royal Canadian Regiment
For conspicuous gallantry when in command of his battalion. He repelled several attacks and displayed great coolness and courage in directing bodies of men under heavy fire.
(Hill, D.S.O. citation, 19 Aug 1916, 8226)
Born in Halifax on 30 August 1881 in Claude Hardinge Hill joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1901. He volunteered to fight in the Boer War but arrived to South Africa just one day before the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed to end the war. In November 1914, he joined to the 24th Victoria Rifles Battalion as second-in-command.
Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Daly-Gingras, D.S.O.*
2nd Battalion, Quebec Depot
* His Majesty the King has directed that Ludger Jules Oliver Daly-Gingras, late Lieutenant-Colonel, 22nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry, shall cease to be a member of the Distinguished Service Order to which he was appointed January 1, 1917, and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the Order.
(Canadian Gazette, 11 Feb 1919, 3434)
For two years Ludger Jules Oliver Daly-Gingras fought with the 22nd Battalion until he was shell shocked at the Somme. For heroic gallantry during the battle, he received the Distinguished Service Order. By August 1918, Daly-Gingras was facing a court martial for allegedly embezzling a thousand dollars from the Quebec Depot battalion. His defence counsel strenuously defended the war hero, claiming, “If he was in his right mind he would never have jeopardized his entire career and sacrificed his 31 years of service, and his hard-won honors for that paltry sum.”
Lieutenant Colonel J. Hilliard Rorke
248th (Grey) Battalion
The enthusiasm of Lt.-Col. J. Hilliard Rorke is catching and the 1000 Leaguers of all over the County have got the spirit of extreme optimism and are entering upon the campaign with renewed vigour.
(Flesherton Advance, 15 Feb 1917, 4)
Facing the dismal late-war recruiting environment, Joseph Hilliard Rorke devised a new strategy to fill his battalion. In January 1917, he formed the “1000 Thousand League,” composed of one thousand citizens in Grey County who each pledged to secure one volunteer by 1 March.
Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stewart, D.S.O. †
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
The letters from the regiment after his death read, “The men would follow him anywhere; he seemed to bear a charmed life.” Yet what was his life until the War gave him his chance? A life of adventure wearing down into plain middle-aged failure.
(Charles Ritchie [nephew], My Grandfather’s House, 1987)
Born on 14 December 1874 in Halifax, Charles James Townsend Stewart was a North West Mounted Police constable, sportsman, soldier, womanizer and all-round lovable scoundrel. After being expelled from the Royal Military College for gambling in 1892, he moved back to Halifax before joining the NWMP in 1896. After he was kicked out of the police for bullying and bad behaviour, he drifted throughout the Northwest and the Yukon. A veteran of the Imperial Yeomanry during Boer War, Stewart joined the P.P.C.L.I. as a lieutenant in August 1914.
Lieutenant Colonel William T. McMullen
168th (Oxford’s Own) Battalion
Another thing, if they are going to break up battalions. It is not fair to the men who go over there as colonels and majors; it cast a slur upon them. They are left stranded in England and we are put to the expense of keeping them there. If they are discharged and sent back, a slur is put on them. I say that is not fair.
(Nesbitt, Debates, 24 Jan 1917, 99)
William Thomas McMullen was commanding officer of the 22nd Oxford Rifles and a member of Loyal Orange Lodge No. 93. Born on 29 January 1863 in Woodstock, Canada West, McMullen was solicitor and master of courts in Oxford County. In December 1915, the militia colonel was authorized to raise the 168th from his home county.
Lieutenant Colonel E. Leprohon
233rd (Canadiens-Français du Nord-Ouest) Battalion
Lieut-Colonel Leprohon is already one of the veterans of this war, but not satisfied with what he has already done, he is off to the front again in charge of the French-Canadians.
(Vancouver World, 31 Aug 1916, 16)
Gassed at Ypres in summer 1915, car-wrecked in 1916, train-wrecked in 1917 and ship-wrecked in 1918. A reserve officer with the 65th (Carabiniers Mont Royal) Regiment, Edouard Leprohon was born in Montreal on 16 November 1866. In August 1914, he volunteered with the 14th Battalion and earned a promoted from lieutenant to captain to major. He was invalided to Quebec for recovery in late 1915. Eager to get back to the front, he first enlisted with the 150th before receiving authorization to raise a French-Canadian battalion based in Edmonton.
Major A. Hamilton Gault, D.S.O.
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Princess Patricia—or Lady Patricia Ramsay as she is now, spoke a few moving lines to us, walked through the ranks talking and chatting with the men—some of whom had been in the regiment when 25 years before this same gentle lady, then a young and extremely beautiful woman, had inspected the “Originals”.
On one side of her stood that grand old warrior “Hammy” Gault VC. [sic] Etc. who had given his leg to the cause in the last war and who would gladly do the same in this if he had any say in the matter…
(James Baker, P.P.C.L.I. to Mom, 11 Feb 1940)
Andrew Hamilton Gault was a gentleman militia officer and founder of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Born on 18 August 1882 in Kent, England, he was a member of a successful and influential Montreal manufacturing family. Gault embraced an active outdoors lifestyle as he engaged in various pursuits from safari hunting to biplane flying. He served with distinction during the Boer War and joined the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (Black Watch). By 1912, Gault controlled an estate valued at over $1.75 million.
Lieutenant Colonel R. M. Dennistoun
53rd (Northern Saskatchewan) Battalion
Conditions in Western Can. are disturbing. The Printers Union are demanding all that the Free Press can earn saying they will own the paper and will allow nothing for capital. The Wpg. St Ry. Employees are saying the same thing and putting another strike forward contrary to agreement. A labor Candidate in Calgary has announced he is out against the policies of the late Mr. Jesus Christ. Karl Marx is now the prophet who speaks wisdom.
(Dennistoun, Diary, 7 May 1919).
Robert Maxwell Dennistoun was a Winnipeg lawyer and King’s Counsel. Born on 24 December 1864 in Peterborough, Canada West, Dennistoun graduated from Queen’s University in 1885 and moved west in 1907. On 25 August 1914, he enlisted as a captain in the 6th Battalion. He returned to Canada in late 1914 to recruit the 53rd Battalion from Saskatchewan.
Lieutenant Colonel William M. Davis
54th (Kootenay) & 2nd Pioneer Battalions
He complains that he cannot apply his mind to things. Until lately, he could not even with difficulty read a novel.
Memory seems clear but patient seems absent minded.
For some time after accident could not read letters or figures unless he traced them with his fingers. At the same time there was evidently some disorientation. He was continually getting lost.
(Medical Case Sheet, 26 Feb 1917)
In 1880, William Mahlon Davis graduated with the first class from the Royal Military College in Kingston. He ranked fourth among the original eighteen cadets. Davis was born on 26 May 1857 in Malahide Township, Canada West. A member of the militia since his schooldays in 1876, Davis organized the 24th (Grey’s Horse) Regiment in 1908.
Lieutenant Colonel Peers Davidson
73rd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
Word received that Col. Davidson was unable to return to his battalion owing to
nervous physical breakdown. He was examined by a medical board in London and declared unfit for further service.
(73rd Bn. War Diary, 12 December 1916, 5)
Born on 7 November 1870 in Montreal, Peers Davidson was the son of Quebec Chief Justice Charles Peers Davidson (1843—1925). His hockey player brother, Shirley (1872—1907) won multiple Stanley Cups with the Montreal Vicrorias in the 1890s. Another brother, Thornton (1880—1912), died during the Titanic sinking. A graduate of McGill, Peers Davidson was an advocate with a Montreal law firm, commodore in the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club and commanding officer of the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada.