Brig. Gen. Ormond

Brigadier General Dan Ormond
10th (Fighting Tenth) Battalion

I have no great hope, however, that he will prove a success in the position to which he has been appointed; my information is that he has not been successful in any of the other ventures over which he has had command.

 I consider that the remarks made by Brigadier-General Ormond are an example of red tape snobbishness and brass hat unctuousness. Fortunately there were not many men of this calibre holding high commands…

(R. Gray, Debates, 3 Apr 1933, 3649)

Daniel Mowat Ormond assumed command of the 10th Battalion at Second Ypres following the death of Lieutenant Colonel Russ Boyle. He became second-in-command when John Grant Rattray returned from England to take over the 10th. On relinquishing command in September 1916, Rattray endorsed Ormond as his successor. Currie replied, “You have a higher opinion of Ormond than I have, but I will take your word for it.” Rattray reassured Currie, “Ormond will not disappoint you.”

Born on 14 August 1885 in Pembroke, Ontario, Ormond was a barrister in Portage la Prarie, Manitoba. Following his appointment to command the 10th on 25 September 1916, he distinguished himself in the battle of the Somme and earned the nickname “Dangerous Dan.” In recognition for his leadership through engagements such as Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passchendaele, he was promoted to brigadier general in command of the 9th Brigade on 24 May 1918. By the end of the war, Ormond had been three-times mentioned in dispatches and won the D.S.O. and Bar.

Ormond remained active in the militia after the war and became commanding officer of No. 13 Military District. In 1932, he began a controversial term as Dominion superintendent of penitentiaries. Following a riot at the Kingston jail, Ormond criticized the guards, noting many were low-rank veterans. According to Ormond, the fact most had served as privates through the war “would indicate that they had reached their limit in military advancement and could not be expected to show a higher standard in civil life.”

The Canadian Legion branch in Kingston denounced the comment. Although a Liberal supporter himself, Ormond became the target for Liberal opposition attacks and calls for his dismissal. War veterans, Quebec South MP Chubby Power and Lambton West MP Ross Gray took the strongest possible exception to the remark. Vancouver MP Ian Alistair Mackenzie fumed, “I do not think the English language contains words sufficiently strong to condemn the attitude and language of General Ormond.” Lieutenant Colonel J. L. Ralston of the 85th Battalion, admitted Ormond “was a gallant soldier” but observed, “I think there must be something wrong with his mentality.”

In July 1938, the new Liberal Government fired the embattled general, abolished the position superintendent of penitentiaries and brought the “Ormond regime” to an end.

Ormond died on 19 November 1974.

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