One night, too, the officers staged a concert in the local theatre, all the talent being drawn from their own roster. By sacrificing his moustache, Lieut-Col. McCuaig scored a tremendous hit in a charming female role…
(The 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1925, 203)
George Eric McCuaig assumed command of the 13th Battalion after an explosion killed Lieutenant Colonel Victor Buchanan and many of his senior officers. A native of Toronto, McCuaig was born on 2 September 1885. He graduated from McGill University, worked in Montreal as a stockbroker and belonged to the Black Watch.
Wounded multiple times at Second Ypres in April 1915 and Mount Sorrel in June 1916, McCuaig was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar. The citation for his D.S.O. Bar read:
…through heavy mist he led his battalion nearly three miles to the final objective. He showed great courage and ability, personally leading and directing the assault and capturing a large number of prisoners and guns. He did splendid work.
He commanded the 13th Battalion from 26 September 1916 to 6 December 1917 when he returned to Canada on three months leave. Having left the front after the “big show” at Passchendaele, the colonel disputed reports that the soldiers had been forced to vote under fire. As for the federal election result, McCuaig explained, “no questions were asked, but so far as one could judge the men all seemed to be in favour of conscription and a Government that proposed to send over the reinforcements they needed.”
After returning from his extended leave to Canada, McCuaig resumed command of the 13th on 1 April 1918. By September, he was promoted to take over the 4th Infantry Brigade from Major General Robert Rennie.
After the war, he remained involved in the military and devoted his civilian efforts to business and charity work. He also acted as chief Conservative Party fundraiser and organizer in Montreal. During the Second World War, McCuaig was commandant at Camp Borden.
He retired from the army in April 1945 and died in 1958.