Lieutenant Colonel C.M. Edwards, D.S.O.
38th (Ottawa) Battalion
“Where’s your uniform, Colonel?” asked a reporter as he spotted the light gray suit among the red tabs and brass of the inspection party.
“I guess it’s scattered around among these gentleman,” answered the Colonel, “you know you can’t draw the old age pension and wear a uniform too… The only thing I hated to give up was the kilt,” said Col. Edwards turning away “I really miss that.”
(Ottawa Citizen, 26 Aug 1957, 3)
Cameron MacPherson Edwards was a Ottawa wealthy lumberman with seventeen-years’ service in the 43rd Regiment. He was born in North Nation Mills, Quebec on 28 September 1881. One of the youngest colonels in France, Edwards was mentioned three times in dispatches and received two Bars to his Distinguished Service Order.
In January 1915, he succeeded Lieutenant Colonel R. Gordon Stewart as commander of the 38th Battalion. Raised from Ottawa and surrounding townships, the 38th first departed Canada in August 1915 for Bermuda. After ten months of training and garrison duty on the island, the battalion was relieved by the 163rd and sailed for England in late May 1916.
The 38th deployed to France in August 1916 with the 12th Infantry Brigade in 4th Division. Edwards remained in command until the battle of Vimy Ridge. Wounded by a gunshot to the shoulder on 9 April 1917, he was evacuated to England and replaced by Major R. F. Parkinson. Less than two months later, a recovered Edwards resumed command of the 38th.
The citation for the second D.S.O. bar read: On September 2, 1918, during the Drocourt-Queant battle, he displayed fine leadership and gallantry. He carried out several reconnaissances under very heavy fire, and the information he gained was most valuable in directing artillery into points of resistance and enemy movements. His cool courage was an example to all who came into contact with him, but particularly to his battalion…
After the war, Edwards became one of the most prominent citizens in the nation’s capital. He assumed an active role in charitable initiatives, veterans’ associations and the reorganized militia. In 1940, he was appointed honorary colonel of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regiment. During the Second World War, he served as a senior officer with the Auxiliary Services at the Canadian Military Headquarters in England. Edwards died in Ottawa on 18 June 1959.