The Redeemed

Lieutenant Colonel C. C. Harbottle, D.S.O
75th (Mississauga) BattalionHarbottle

This deplorable affair has ruined him absolutely, and his character has been taken from him forever. His family and mother are heart-broken. For two years, since these things began, he has lived in a hell of torture, and whatever term he has to do he will be more than amply punished.

(Defence counsel Mr. Robinette, Toronto Globe, 9 May 1908, 4)

Colin Clark Harbottle assumed command of the 75th Battalion on 16 April 1917. He proved himself a dedicated leader through the last year and a half of the war and won the Distinguished Service Order for his “fine example of personal gallantry and determination.” Ten years, earlier Harbottle had been a disgraced fugitive from justice and convicted criminal.

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The Incompetent

Lieutenant Colonel G. A. LeCain
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionLeCain

As I was merely a private at the time I do not know what really transpired; but we never saw the colonel at all that night.

The Germans, however, failed to get into our trenches; and up to this day the 25th can with perfect truth declare that they never failed in the critical hour, for if we did not always have competent officers at the head of the battalion we certainly had them in our companies..

(Lieut. Lewis, Over the Top with the 25th, 1918)

George Augustus LeCain, a fruit farmer and militiaman with twenty-five years in the 69th Regiment, was authorized to raise the 25th Battalion from Nova Scotia in October 1914. He was born on 21 September 1862 in Round Hill, Annapolis County. The 25th Battalion deployed to France In September 1915 as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Within weeks, the battalion leadership would be overhauled for the alleged incompetence and cowardice of several senior officers.

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The Capitalist

Brigadier General Robert P. Clark, D.S.O. M.C.
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) & 2nd BattalionsRPClark

This Christmas, I believe, will be your last in France. That the next may find you Home again, safe and happy, and with your loved ones, is my most earnest wish. The war is drawing to a close. Your many trials and privations will soon be forgotten. The horrors of this war will soon become to you a memory, dimmed by happier things to come. But the glory of this war, though some day a memory too, can never fade.

(Gen. Clark to The Listening Post, 2 Nov 1918)

Robert Percy Clark was a Vancouver businessman, investor, real estate agent and capitalist. He was born in London, England on 17 April 1874. He worked on the London Stock Exchange and volunteered to fight in the Boer War. He later immigrated to British Columbia, where he pursued various gold mining enterprises. He served in the 5th and 50th Regiments under Arthur Currie. As part of the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Clark became staff-officer to Currie with the 2nd Brigade.

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The Expendable

Lieutenant Colonel F. A. deL. Gascoigne, D.S.O.
60th (Victoria Rifles of Canada) BattalionGascoigne

My own future is uncertain, but I can only hope that some day, we shall be together again, and I would ask for nothing better than to have you all back under my command but whatever comes, I shall never forget the many happy and glorious days I have spent with the old 60th Battalion.

(Gascoigne’s Farewell Address, 60th Bn. War Diary, 29 Apr 1917, 8)

A native of England, Frederick Arthur DeLong Gascoigne was born on 2 April 1866. After immigrating to Canada, he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Quebec. In 1886, he enlisted as a private with the 3rd (Victoria Rifles) Regiment. After nearly thirty-years’ service in the militia he became commanding officer in 1914. Although illness prevented him from joining the First Contingent, in April 1915 Gascoigne was authorized to raise the 60th Battalion from Quebec.

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The One-Armed

Lieutenant Colonel D. F. Campbell, D.S.O., M.P.
2/7th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s RegimentDFCampbell

I seldom press myself upon the House, and I will only to do so to-night for two or three minutes. I am actually one of only two soldiers left here to-night.

The thing is to get on with the War and banish everything that retards the progress of the War. I have had occasion several times to make criticisms of a military character during this War, but I have never done so in this House.

(Hansard, 10 Jan 1916, 1420)

Duncan Frederick Campbell was born on 28 April 1876 in in Simcoe, Ontario. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1898, he received a commission to the Lancashire Fusiliers. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallant service in the Boer War, Campbell retired from the Territorial Force in 1910. Following an unsuccessful political bid in the December 1910 British election, Campbell was elected Conservative Member of the British Parliament for North Ayrshire in a by-election one year later.

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The Mountie

Lieutenant Colonel W. C. Bryan
191st (Bryan’s Buffalos) BattalionBryan

The province of Alberta owing to its cosmopolitan population is hard to police, alien settlements being scattered all over it. These people, banded together as they are, and in a good many instances retaining the customs and mode of life they lived in their own countries before coming to Canada, are not as yet educating themselves with regard to the laws of this country, it is impossible to obtain evidence from them, and they are too prone to look upon any policeman as an enemy instead of a friend.

(W. C. Bryan, APP Annual Report, 1921)

Willoughby Charles Bryan was a western cowpuncher whose adventures took him from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and the Mexican army of Porfirio Díaz to the Texas Rangers and the Northwest Mounted Police. A native of Nottingham, England, Bryan was born on 17 December 1866 and immigrated to Manitoba in 1883.

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The Old-Fashioned

Lieutenant Colonel F. V. Wedderburn
115th (Wedderburn’s Warriors) BattalionWedderburn

On the other hand the tactics of his enemy, Col Wedderburn, were considered by military experts at the front as decidedly clever. A less practical and inexperienced man could not have given Col. McLean the fight he did.

It was evident that Col. Wedderburn had laid his plans well, but the fact that he had burned Moncton and that if victorious he might mete out the same treatment to St. John and the other surrounding towns, field the hearts of the defending soldiers with one determination—to win or die.

(St. John Daily Sun, 8 Jul 1905)

Frederick Vernon Wedderburn was a New Brunswick barrister and militiaman born in St. John on 16 April 1861. After graduating with a law degree from the University of New York in 1882, he joined the 8th Princess Louise Hussars.

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The Despised

Lieutenant Colonel D. H. MacLaren
157th (Simcoe Foresters) BattalionMacLaren

Mater spoke of the responsibilities of the senior officer for the breaking
up of the battalion. She is quite right Col Mac is to blame for most of it. His selection as O.C. of a battalion of the calibre that one was, was unfortunate to say the least. He had no personality and inspired dislike instead of loyalty to him. He was disliked by the officers and despised by the men. However perhaps I can say more about it another time.

(Lieut. Leslie Frost, 157th Bn. to Parents, 15 Jan 1917)

David Henry MacLaren was a militiaman with over thirty years’ experience  in the 42nd and 35th Regiments. He was born on 13 December 1863 in Barrie, Canada West. In November 1915, the fifty-two year old pharmacist was selected to raise the 157th Battalion from Simcoe County. Future Ontario Premier, Leslie Frost (1895—1973) enlisted as a captain under MacLaren’s command.

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The Philanderer

Major Laurence Clark
211th (Alberta Americans) BattalionClarkEL

He is a high strung individual and a “worrier.” He complains of insomnia and that he dreams a great deal.

He is markedly nervous and is 18 Ibs under weight. The Board is of the opinion that this Officer will not improve in this climate and recommend that he be invalided to Canada

(Proceedings of a Medical Board, 9 Aug 1917)

Laurence Erastus Clark was a traveling auditor for a New York banking firm. He was born in Buffalo on 17 February 1883 and had been an officer in the state National Guard. After the formation of the 97th American Legion in Toronto, Clark enlisted as a lieutenant. By February 1916, he had transferred to the 211th Alberta Americans to become second-in-command.

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The Preacher

Lieutenant Colonel C. B. Keenleyside
249th (Saskatchewan) BattalionKeenleyside

The plain fact is we shall live forever. Please lay down these pages and think of that: We shall live forever.

And the life yonder beyond the tomb will depend upon our life here. This gives the rushing moments dignity and importance. In a brief tale of fourscore years, or half, or quarter of that number, we fix forever our destiny.

(C. B. Keenleyside, What is Your Life? 1906, 23)

Clifford Benjamin Keenleyside was a real estate financier and Methodist missionary. Born in London, Canada West on 9 December 1865, Keenleyside moved west as a young man and settled in Winnipeg. He established himself in the newspaper business and real estate market before moving to Regina where he became a city alderman. He connected his business interests and political philosophy with Christian values by spreading the word of God.

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