The Son-in-Law

Lieutenant Colonel Byron M. Green
164th (Halton and Dufferin) Battalion

Gen. Hughes was a fine martial figure in his uniform, and his girlish looking daughter looked even slighter than she would have done under other circumstances … “This is my girl – and she’s sent her husband to the front.”

I didn’t have to send him – he went himself,” Mrs. Green quickly retorted evidently jealous for the patriotism of her husband and the general smiled an indulgent acquiescence.

 (Toronto World, 7 Sept 1915)

Byron Malcolm Green was the son-in-law of Minister of Militia, Sir Sam Hughes. He was born in Leeds County, Ontario on 10 January 1886 and married Hughes’ daughter, Roby Mary Caroline, in October 1912. He was a banker, accountant, and stock broker with financial ties to Montreal, Toronto, and New York. In 1915, he enlisted as a lieutenant with the 36th Battalion.

In October 1916, Hughes attempted to place Green and other allies on the Acting Sub-Overseas Militia Council, which had not been approved by Cabinet. The appointment of his son-in-law brought accusations of nepotism against the militia minister in the press and greater opposition within the Borden Government. Hughes’ attempt to defy the authority of Prime Minister Robert Borden ultimately ultimately led to his removal from Cabinet when he returned from overseas in November 1916.

In order to rid himself of the troubled militia minister, Borden had inquired whether Sir Sam could receive a battlefield post but learned from one source that, “the men in Uniform look on him as a kind of Joke.” On 9 November, Borden wrote to Hughes demanding his resignation due in part to “your strong tendency to assume powers which you do not possess.”

After the political sidelining of his father-in-law, Green served on an instruction tour with the 4th Battalion from December 1916 until April 1917. He received a promotion on 19 June 1917 to succeed Percy Domville of the 164th Battalion. He relinquished the appointment in April 1918 after the 164th was absorbed by the 8th Reserve Battalion.

When Sam Hughes died on 23 August 1921, Green controlled much of the estate, which had been left to Hughes’ widow and daughter. Green remained an influential leader on the Toronto Stock Exchange and a prominent figure in high society circles.


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