The Erased

Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Daly-Gingras, D.S.O.*
2nd Battalion, Quebec Depot Daly-Gingras

* 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.”

A native of Quebec City, Daly-Gingras was born on 11 July 1876. A thirty-year member of Armand Lavergne’s 61st (Montmagny) Rifles, Daly-Gingras volunteered as a captain with the 22nd Battalion on the outbreak of the war. He distinguished himself in the field and earned a promotion to major. Having already been treated for neurasthenia in June 1916, he was blown up during heavy bombardment at the battle of Courcelette on 15 September 1916. Suffering from insomnia, tremors and the “usual symptoms” of shell shock, he was invalided to Canada following several months in hospital.

Daly-GingrasHe was appointed second-in-command of Lieutenant Colonel Blondin’s 258th Battalion and attached to the British Recruiting mission in New York to enlist Franco-American volunteers. He praised the quality of the Americans: “These men are of high standard, morally and socially speaking…In short, they are the very best type of men one could wish to compose a regiment.”

In May 1918, Daly-Gingras was promoted to lieutenant colonel in command of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment, Quebec Depot to oversee the enforcement of the Military Service Act. On 24 August, military authorities in Ottawa ordered a court martial to investigate financial irregularities at the depot. They also alleged he had re-sold instruments to the unit’s band at a profit.

At the trial, the prosecutor, Captain Belque, objected to the defence’s introduction Daly-Gingras’ military record as a ploy to influence the court. Belque countered, “the more services and honor an officer might have won, the greater his condemnation if he broke regulations.”

On 28 August 1918, Daly-Gingras was found guilty, summarily dismissed from the army and stripped of all decorations. As a final insult, by reluctant order of the King, he lost the D.S.O.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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