The Flax Seeder

Lieutenant Colonel E. R. Wayland
44th (Manitoba) BattalionWayland

The evening was spent in many handshakings, as old comradeships were renewed. Many an Incident of the war days was told, as the sight of the familiar faces brought back vivid memories, some joyful, others sad. A large number of members of the association turned out to see again the man who had guided their destinies in France.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 26 September 1931, 3)

Born on 23 March 1869 in London, England, Edward Robert Wayland was an Ontario grain exporter and nine-year member of the 96th Regiment. In October 1914, he led a detachment of troops from Fort William and Port Arthur to Winnipeg, where he was appointed to command the 44th Battalion. The 44th sailed for England in October 1915 and deployed to France in August 1916 as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division.

In December 1916, Wayland relinquished command to Major J. H. Sills until Lieutenant Colonel Rhys Davies took over in January 1917. Wayland returned to Canada in order to put his agriculture experience to use of the war effort. One of his responsibilities was to secure acreage for flax, an essential component in aeroplane manufacturing.

Wayland returned to his native England after the war but remained connected to the 44th veteran’s association.

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