Lt. Col. Rose

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh A. Rose
98th (Lincoln & Welland) Battalion

This is a great and inspiring cause, that of fostering peace and goodwill between two great nations, and will serve as an example to all the countries of the world. No better time could have been chosen for the launching of such a movement. The Kellogg Peace Pact has lately been ratified and confirmed by the leading powers of the world.

 (Rose’s speech on International Peace, Gardener’s Chronicle of America, 1929, 363)

Hugh Alexander Rose was born on 12 April 1881 in Welland, Ontario. He joined the 44th Regiment in 1897, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the outbreak of the Great War, Rose and his militiamen were tasked with guarding the Welland Canal. In November 1915, he was authorized to organize the 98th Battalion.

Objecting to the replacement of the Ross Rifle with the British Lee-Enfield, ex-Minister of Militia Sam Hughes cited Colonel Rose’s support for the controversial Canadian design. According to Hughes, Ross stated that in training his battalion at scored 75% with the Ross compared to 29% with the Lee-Enfield. Rose reportedly “declared that it meant murder to change the rifles; one man with a Ross rifle was equal to two men with the Lee-Enfield.” While the Ross may have been a good target rifle, it proved unreliable and prone to jam in battlefield conditions.

The 98th sailed for England in July 1916 and was absorbed into the 12th Reserve Battalion. Rose performed various duties in England, joined a labour unit and remained overseas until demobilization.

In civilian life, Rose was a prizewinning gardener and horticulturalist. Fittingly, he was president of the Ontario Rose Society. In 1929, he endorsed the creation of the International Peace Garden between Canada and the United States. The garden was established in July 1932 on the North Dakota/Manitoba border, as a sign of the two countries’ long peaceable relationship.

Rose died in Welland in 1956.

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