Major R.B. Eaton, MPP
50th (Calgary) Battalion
An exploding shell failed to wake me from my stupor but left me unable to sit down in the morning. Be it to the everlasting credit of my Acting O.C., Major R. B. Eaton who, after listening to my story, and knowing my record as a signaller and guide, not only exonerated me of the charge of Disobedience, but sent me back to a rest camp at Bouzincourt for two unforgettable weeks.
(Victor Wheeler, The 50th Battalion in No Man’s Land, 1999, 29)
Robert Berry Eaton was born in Turo, Nova Scotia on 5 August 1871. After serving in the Boer War, he settled in the North West Territories to become a farmer. He was elected to Alberta legislature in 1913 as the Liberal representative for Hand Hills. In January 1915, he enlisted in the 50th Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel E. G. Mason.
Shortly after the 50th deployed to France, Eaton was promoted to major. He succeeded Mason in command at battle of Ancre Heights on 11 November 1916. He remained acting CO until January when he was replaced by Major C. B. Worsnop. Eaton stayed with the 50th until spring 1917 when Lieutenant Colonel L. F. Page assumed command of the 50th.
Eaton was unanimously re-elected to the Alberta legislature in July 1917 under Section 38, which stated that all MLA serving overseas would be returned by acclamation. In 1921, he became the first commanding officer of the Calgary Regiment.
Defeated for re-election by the United Farmers in 1921, Eaton attempted a comeback in the 1925 but lost to Progressive Robert Gardiner. Eaton relocated to Chiliwack, British Columbia in 1936.
He lost two sons in the Second World War. Flight Sergeant William Bligh Eaton, shot down over Germany on 9 October 1943, and Private Douglas Barry Eaton, killed in action in Italy on 31 August 1944.
Eaton died in Sidney, British Columbia on 13 June 1964.