Col. Nelles

Colonel Charles M. Nelles
Royal Canadian Dragoons

It will thus be seen that he had enjoyed the exceedingly unique distinction of having served his Sovereign and country on three occasions, the Canadian Rebellion, the Boer War and the world hostilities, which broke out in 1914. His military honors were many. He was mentioned in dispatches, awarded the D.S.O. and became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

(Brantford Expositor, 15 Feb 1936)

Born in Brantford, Canada West on 31 August 1865, Charles Mecklan Nelles was a Permanent Force soldier and veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and the Boer War. In summer 1914, his son Norman, who had just received a commission at RMC, joined a British Army regiment while his son Percy was already serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. On 29 January 1915, Second Lieutenant Norman Nelles of the Northamptonshire Regiment was killed in France. Four months later his father went to France as commander of the Canadian Dragoons, which fought dismounted as part of the 1st Canadian Division.

In January 1916, Nelles was mentioned in dispatches, awarded the C.M.G., and the Dragoons were remounted as part of the reorganization of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. The R.C.D. served as part of the British Cavalry Corps until the end of the war, but in April 1917, Nelles was recalled to England to assume command of the Canadian Cavalry Depot. A few months later, he was thrown from his horse and fractured three ribs. He soon recovered and remained in command of the depot (later renamed the Cavalry Reserve Regiment) until after the armistice.

A few years later he retired from the Permanent Force, and moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where he later served as mayor. Nelles died on 19 February 1936.

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