Lieutenant Colonel S.P. McMordie
13th Canadian Railway Troops
His real desire I am sure would be to land in the frontline trenches; however, his age and loss of an eye undoubtedly bars him from that objective. On learning from the press that there were many escapes from internment camps, and that two officers in charge of these camps had been suspended, it occurred to me you needed a tough guy and the Colonel was your man.
(G.W. Nickerson to secretary, Minister of National Defence, 19 May 1941)
Stewart Percival McMordie was born on 15 November 1877 and worked in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as a contractor. He enlisted in the 48th Battalion in August 1915 and went overseas as a major. Following an instructional tour of the front, he re-joined the 48th which was re-designated 3rd Canadian Pioneers. On 13 June 1916, McMordie was badly wounded by a high explosive shell. A steel splinter resulted in the loss of his right eye.
After recovering from his wounds and being fitted with an artificial eye, McMordie returned to duty in England. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel with General Jack Stewart’s Canadian Railway Troops (C.R.T.) depot and received the Distinguished Service Order. On 13 March 1918, he appointed to command the 13th Battalion, C.R.T. and returned to France.
He served as Prince Rupert mayor for two terms from 1928 to 1929. During the Second World War, he unsuccessfully sought an appointment as commandant of an internment camp. A friend noted, “The only thing I ever heard against him during the last war was that he took the ‘S” out of sentiment.”
McMordie died on 12 December 1945.