The Hardnosed

Lieutenant Colonel William C. Craig
194th (Edmonton Highlanders) BattalionCraig

Captain Craig had the honor to be the first officer of the C.M.R. to be wounded. We landed in France in October and went straight to the trenches a little south of Ypres, and Captain Craig was wounded almost immediately after we arrived.

(Capt. Pringle, 3rd CMR, Edmonton Bulletin, 1916, 7)

William Caldwell Craig was born in Leeds, Quebec on 12 March 1884 to English-Scottish parents. He was gazetted to Lord Strathcona’s Horse in 1912 in Winnipeg. He later relocated to Vermilion, Alberta and joined the 19th Alberta Dragoons. At the outbreak of the Great War, Craig enlisted as a captain in the 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles. After he was wounded in the foot during a battle at Dicksbusche, Craig was invalided to Canada in December 1915.

194thShortly thereafter, Craig succeeded Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert McKinery in command of the 194th raised from Edmonton. An old acquaintance, Militia Minister Sam Hughes, regarded the thirty-one year old Craig as a “fine boy.” The Edmonton Bulletin also approved of the selection, noting, “This has proven to be a young man’s war and Colonel Craig qualifies in this respect, and it is said he is the youngest colonel in western Canada.” As a native of Quebec, Craig promised to recruit a company of French-Canadians for his unit.

The 194th Highlanders departed Canada in October 1916. Upon arrival in England, it was broken up and absorbed into the 9th Reserve Battalion. Craig reverted to the rank of major to serve in the field once again with the 78th and 48th Battalions. He was attached to No. 12 Military District until demobilization.

In 1921, Craig ran unsuccessfully for the Conservative nomination in the riding of Battle River. During the party convention, he and other contenders withdrew in favour of Vermilion Mayor John William Geddie Morrison, who went on to receive just 11% of the vote against the Progressive candidate.

Craig died on 17 January 1959.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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