The Elder

Lieutenant Colonel F. J. Clark
45th (Brandon) BattalionFJClark

In selecting Col. Clark for this purpose, a wise choice was made in Ottawa. Col. Clark has seen service In military affairs since 1885, when he fought In the 95th battalion during the Riel rebellion. In South Africa, he went through the conflict with profit to his country and honor to himself, and he wears the Long Service medal, attesting the value of his services during 31 years in his country’s duties.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 5 Feb 1915, 37)

Francis Joseph Clark had fought in the North West Rebellion and volunteered for the South African Campaign, though the war ended by the time he had reached Cape Town. He was born on 9 December 1860 in Nottingham, England, where he belonged to the Robin Hood Rifles. He immigrated to Manitoba in the 1882. Former commander of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Clark was authorized to raise the 45th Battalion from his home in Brandon in January 1915.

The Winnipeg Tribune praised the selection of the 45th commander and his officers observing:

45th…there is an eagerness and desire and anxiety to go to the front to decide there the question of whether armed might or armed right shall emerge triumphant from the great conflict that Is being fought for the purpose of proving to posterity that small and helpless peoples were trampled on by the ruthless and conscienceless predatory outlaw among nations, from Western Canada a hand of fearless men were willing and able to go to their rescue no matter what the cost or sacrifice.

Despite this willingness to get into the fight, the 45th was broken up in England. The fifty-six year old colonel took command of the 15th Reserve Battalion until January 1917. He returned to Manitoba in 1918 to take a position with the food board office.

An early pioneer in Brandon, Clark became a municipal leader and town alderman in the 1930s and 40s. He died in August 1953.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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