The Trench Raider

Lieutenant Colonel John Wise, D.S.O., M.C.
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionWise

I regret that I did not have the pleasure of meeting you during my recent visit to France.

I send my hearty congratulations to you upon the command of the splendid 25th Battalion and my best wishes to you, the Officers, non-commissioned officers and men on the great service which still lies before you.

(Prime Minister Borden to Wise, 27 Jul 1918)

Born in London, England on 11 June 1893, John W. Wise was one of the few battalion commanders to rise from the ranks. Wise had earned a reputation as an effective trench raider in the 25th Battalion and won a Military Cross for a successful nighttime attack in 1915. Following subsequent heroics and promotions, he assumed command of the 25th on 19 April 1918.

Wise remained in command for three months until the battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918 when he was struck by a sniper’s bullet. The battalion adjutant, Captain N. H. Wetmore rushed to his commander’s aid but was killed. Wise survived although seriously wounded. Command of the battalion passed to Major Frank Day.

Writing to Prime Minister Borden, who had recently toured the front and expressed his appreciation of the 25th Battalion, Wise explained, “My great regret is that owing to the nature of my wounds it will be some months before I am able to return to the Battn.”

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