The Sidelined

Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Snell
46th (South Saskatchewan) BattalionSnell

May it be our part to play some useful role in the daily life of this great nation during the days of peace as all so faithfully played during the days of conflict, and so, in some way, because of what has come to us of good from our past experiences, the Canada which we shall pass on to those who come after us may reflect those guiding principles which alone exalteth a nation.

(Snell, 46th Battalion CEF – Year Book, 1926, 4)

Herbert Snell was born on 20 August 1880 in Stockbridge, England. As a boy, his family immigrated to Ontario. At twenty-five, Snell went west to become a retail merchant in Moose Jaw. He was appointed commanding officer of the newly creation 60th Regiment in 1913. Although overlooked during the organization of the First Contingent, Snell received authorization to raise the 46th Battalion in early 1915.

After sailing for England in October 1915, the battalion was reorganized. Some troops went to reinforcement drafts, while others joined from the 65th. After returning to England from an instructional tour with the 31st Battalion, Snell was nearly killed in a training accident. After a private dropped a live grenade, the colonel rushed to jump on the bomb. The explosion killed the private and wounded several others. Snell suffered serious injuries to his face and chest.

Although promised that his battalion would not deploy without him, the 46th left for France in August 1916 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel H. J. Dawson. A recovered Snell later took over the 9th Reserve Brigade. After the battle of Vimy Ridge, Snell temporarily rejoined his old unit in France on a tour of the front. By September 1917, he was acting commandant of the 4th Divisional Wing, Canadian Corps Reinforcement Centre. He was posted back to England following the armistice.

With his Moose Jaw business closed during his absence, after the war, Snell joined the John Murphy Co. Ltd., in Montreal. He later became vice-president of the Robert Simpson Company. Snell finally succumbed to his lingering affects of his war injuries on 12 November 1932.

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