Lieutenant Colonel Robert Palmer, D.S.O.
49th (Edmonton Regiment) Battalion
Soldier of the old school, fearless, straightforward, a fighter and a sportsman, sincere with an independency of opinion which frequently got him into trouble with the Staff, especially if it were upon some question that had to do with the welfare of his men—such was the character of the second C.O. of our Battalion.
(The Forty-Niner, Jan 1934, 19)
Robert Henry Palmer was chief fire ranger and Indian agent in Alberta. Born in Glamorganshire, Wales on 19 February 1868, he immigrated to western Canada as a young man. He was an original member of Lord Strathcona’s Horse and fought in the Boer War. In January 1915, he joined Lieutenant Colonel Griesbach’s 49th Battalion as a company commander. Admired for his toughness and fearlessness on the battlefield, Palmer—who had lowered his age by seven years on enlistment—was affectionately known by his men as “The Old Man.”
Major General Garnet Hughes
1st Infantry Brigade
I was importuned, threatened and bullied. I was told that Garnet Hughes would get the 1st Division, that there was a combination in England and Canada for him, that neither I, nor any man could beat; that his father wanted him to get the position and that God help the man who fell out with his father.
(Currie to E.O. McGillicuddy, c. 1925)
Garnet Burk Hughes was the son of Militia Minister Sir Sam Hughes. Born in Toronto on 22 April 1880, he was a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and a railway engineer. In 1913, he formed the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders) with Arthur Currie. Although Hughes and Currie volunteered together in August 1914 on good terms, their friendship would not survive the war.
Lieutenant Colonel Byron James McCormick
213th (Toronto Americans) Battalion
I have only one son, but I thank God that this is his war too. While I was in Flanders I heard that the boy had enlisted because his dad had enlisted. When I was given command of the 213th Battalion I hoped that he might be able to fight under me, but I learned that we have passed each on the seas. The boy was going over to do his bit. I hope to get back to help the kid, as he started out to help me.
(McCormick speech, Toronto World, 19 May 1916, 4)
Born on 17 May 1872 in Port Huron, Michigan, Byron James McCormick became a successful entrepreneur and Industrial Commissioner in Welland after immigrating to Ontario in 1905. He enlisted as a captain with the 35th Battalion and transferred to the British Army. One observer described McCormick: “Tall and alert, he looks every inch a soldier, and he is one, with sixteen years’ service in the Michigan National Guard behind him. His motto, ‘Never let a fault go unchecked,’ explains his rapid rise in the army.”