Lieutenant Colonel Fred Hamilton
126th (Peel) Battalion
I am quite sure that the officer commanding the Peel battalion, Colonel Hamilton, who has returned home, never thought that the breaking up of his battalion was any stain upon his military record. It was a policy adopted for military reasons, and a great many battalions had to come under the rule.
(Blain, Debates, 13 Jul 1917, 3377)
Frederick John Hamilton was a municipal politician, member of Orange Lodge No. 163 and militia major. Born on 14 July 1869 in Port Credit, Ontario, he was a six-term town alderman with twenty years’ experience in the 36th Regiment. In early 1916, he was authorized to raise the 126th Battalion from Peel County.
Honorary Colonel W. F. Cockshutt, M.P.&
Lieutenant Colonel M. E. B. Cutcliffe
125th (38th Regiment Dufferin Rifles) Battalion
The voluntary system as carried out, I think, has been a great credit to our people.
If it failed in any place, it failed because it was not pushed with sufficient vigour by the natural leaders of the people. And who are those leaders? The members of this House. The man who represents a constituency in this House is the first citizen in his riding, and he is the man who should have taken responsibility for recruiting in that riding.
(Cockshutt, Debates, 22 Jun 1917, 2601)
Authorized in November 1915, the 125th Battalion was initially to be raised by William Foster Cockshutt, Conservative MP for Brantford (1904—1908, 1911—1921). Recognizing his own limitations and lack of military experience, the sixty year-old parliamentarian turned over leadership to Captain Mostyn Elton Bluett Cutcliffe, senior officer of Dufferin Rifles.
Lieutenant Colonel A. Bruce Powley
143rd (B. C. Bantams) Battalion
…it has never appeared that the Commanding Officer was capable of a full and practical appreciation of the value of any branch of training.
Has shown little professional knowledge, energy or executive. Is inclined to say much of what he has done and what he intends to do, but to fall short in practice.
(OC No. 11 Military District to Militia Council, 9 Feb 1917)
Wounded at Festubert in May 1915, Alan Bruce Powley returned to recover and raise a new overseas battalion. Inspired by the 35th Bantam Division in the British Army, a number of British Columbia men below the minimum height requirement had petitioned Ottawa to create a similar unit. In November 1915, Powley was authorized to raise the 143rd Bantam Battalion consisting of volunteers under 5’4.
Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Wright
169th (109th Regiment) Battalion
“Vote for King,” shouted a man.
“There is a friend over there that says he is going to vote for Mr. King,” said Col Wright, pointing to a man in the hall. “But one King is enough for Canada. That is his majesty King George and not Mackenzie King who claims his ancestry from a man who was a blooming traitor” and Col. Wright sat down amid a storm of cheers and jeers.
(Toronto Star, 3 Dec 1921, 9)
Born on 9 July 1877 in Collingwood, Ontario, Jesse Green Wright was a Toronto druggist, member of Loyalist Orange Lodge No. 900 and militiaman. He had belonged to the Queen’s Own Rifles and the 12th York Rangers. After outbreak of the Great War, he joined the new 109th Regiment organized by William Thomas Stewart. In January 1916, Wright received authorization to raise the 169th Battalion from Toronto.
Lieutenant Colonel H. J. M. R. DesRosiers
163rd (Canadien-Français) and 22nd Battalions
I do not believe a more competent O.C. than Lieutenant Colonel DesRosiers could be found in the C.E.F. The breaking up of the battalion would demoralize us. If allowed to go to the front as a unit, we will try our best to be a source of pride to our race and credit to Canada.
(Maj. Asselin to Arthur Mignault, Nov 1916)
Henri Joseph Marie Romeo DesRosiers was born in Vaudreuil, Quebec on 11 July 1880. A prewar member of the 65th Regiment, DesRosiers enlisted with the 14th Battalion in August 1914. A veteran of Second Ypres, DesRosiers was recalled to Canada in early 1916 to take command of a new French-Canadian battalion.