Lt. Col. Ritchie

Lieutenant Colonel C.F. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C.
24th (Victoria Rifles) Battalion

His battalion held the front line for nine days under very trying conditions prior to our attack . Several counterattacks were completely repulsed, the enemy suffering heavy casualties, and prisoners were made.

(Ritchie, D.S.O. Citation, 8 Cot 1919, 3203)

Charles Frederick Ritchie was three-time commanding officer of the 24th Battalion during some of the heaviest fighting on the front including Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Hill 70 and the final Hundred Days. Born in Three Rivers, Quebec on 12 October 1888, he was a bank manager and member of the 3rd Victoria Rifles since 1909. He led the 24th from 7 December 1916 to 14 April 1917, 4 August 1917 to 22 January 1918, and 5 September 1918 to demobilization.

His brother, Lieutenant Hubert Sydney Ritchie, joined the 24th Battalion in spring 1917. “It doesn’t look as tho’ the war will end just yet does it?” Hubert wrote to their sister. “Out here we’ve all made up our minds to another winter of it.” One month later, he went missing during the Battle of Hill 70 on 15 August 1917. Although Colonel Ritchie hoped he had only been wounded, five days later he learned his brother’s body had been recovered.

Having already earned the Military Cross at the Somme, Ritchie received the D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry at the Battle of Cambrai on 12 October 1918. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he became director of war services for the Canadian Legion. In 1940, he was appointed commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, Victoria Rifles and helped to organize recruitment.

He died in Knowlton, Quebec on 9 April 1959.

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