Lt. Col. Riley

Lieutenant Colonel Harold J. Riley
27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion

For conspicuous gallantry and able leadership. During four days’ hard fighting, when his battalion was continuously making attacks at short intervals, his gallantry and indomitable energy inspired his men to their utmost efforts.

(Riley, D.S.O. Bar Citation, 11 Jan 1919)

Harold James Riley was the third commanding officer of the 27th Battalion. The son of prominent Winnipeg civic leader, Robert Thomas Riley, he was born on 29 November 1887. Riley was a graduate of University of Manitoba, a lawyer and amateur football and hockey player.

Distinguishing himself in France, Riley rose from the rank of lieutenant to major. He succeeded Lieutenant Colonel P. J. Daly in command of the 27th in early April 1918. By the end of the war, he was four times mentioned in the dispatches and received the Distinguished Service Order and two bars.

During the Second World War, Brigadier General Riley commanded No. 10 Military District. He was promoted to major general in 1942 to become Director of National Selective Service in the nation’s capital.

He died in Winnipeg on 7 July 1975.

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