Lieutenant Colonel G.S. Cantlie, D.S.O.
42nd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
Col Cantlie, long before he died, had become a living tradition. Not only was the past in him made real; the values of life, which the past enhances for the sake of the future, found in him their gracious embodiment.
(Montreal Gazette, 31 Aug 1956, 8)
A native of Montreal, George Stephen Cantlie was born on 2 May 1867. He was gentleman militia officer with the Royal Highlanders of Canada (The Black Watch) since 1885. He was commanding officer of the regiment during the Quebec Tercentenary of 1908. He commanded the 42nd Battalion in France as part of 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division.
He served on the front for thirteen months between October 1915 and 14 December 1916. Major R. L. H. Ewing assumed temporary command of the 42nd in the field until Major Stanley Norsworthy took over in January 1917. Cantlie took charge the 20th Reserve Battalion in England from May 1917 to demobilization.
During the Second World War, his nephew, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Cantlie, commanded the Black Watch during the Normandy Campaign. He was killed at the Battle of Verrières Ridge on 25 July 1944.
Regarded as the “Grand Old Man of the Black Watch,” the elder Cantlie remained closed associated with the Royal Highlanders until his death in August 1956.