Lieutenant Colonel James Arthurs, M.P.
162nd (Timber Wolves) Battalion
But they wanted to go. One member of this House, Col. Arthurs—I read the most touching letter I have seen for many a day—is in the trenches. He had reduced his rank and gone over in spite of his son’s remonstrance from the trenches ordering his dad to get out.
(Sam Hughes, Debates, 6 Feb 1917, 574)
James Arthurs was a hardware merchant, self-styled gentleman and Conservative MP for Parry Sound (1908—1935). He was born on 3 October 1866 in Toronto. He raised the 162nd Battalion from his home county and proceeded to England in November 1916. Despite age restrictions on senior officers, the fifty-year old Arthurs reverted to captain and joined the 1st Battalion on the front in February 1917.
Lieutenant Colonel James D. Taylor, M.P.
131st (New Westminster) Battalion
Mr. Chairman, there is poison gas disseminated in connection with this war from other quarters than the trenches in the German line, and there is sniping equally disastrous to the cause of the war as that of the German sharpshooters. I am one of those colonels, commanding officers, of which the hon. gentlemen who act the part of political snipers in Canada speak so contemptuously in this House and through their press.
(J. D. Taylor, Debates, 6 Feb 1917, 565)
James Davis Taylor was a journalist and publisher in Ottawa and British Columbia and Conservative MP for New Westminster (1908—1917). He was born on 2 September 1863 in Abenaqui Mills, Canada East. During the Northwest campaign, he fought as a private with the Ottawa Sharpshooters at the battle of Cut Knife on 2 May 1885. After the Rebellion, he bought the Canadian Militia Gazette and later organized the 104th Militia Regiment in 1904. He led the 131st Battalion to England before returning to Canada in early January 1917.
Lieutenant Colonel George H. Bradbury
108th (Selkirk) Battalion
I confess frankly that at the moment when I was informed that my battalion was to be broken up and that my men were to be taken from me to go to the front, I felt hurt; I felt it was an injustice to myself and to my battalion.
Slurs have been thrown across the floor by more than one hon. gentleman opposite regarding the colonels how have gone overseas. I should like to say to some of these gentleman that they would occupy a much higher position in this country than they occupy if they had done what some of these returned colonel have done.
(Bradbury, Debates, 13 July 1917, 3384)
George Henry Bradbury was a Manitoba manufacturer and veteran of the Northwest Rebellion. Born on 25 June 1859 in Hamilton, Canada West, he had belonged to the Ottawa Dragoons as a young man and enlisted with the Boulton’s Scouts during the 1885 Rebellion. In 1908, he was elected MP for Selkirk. In November 1915, he became a growing number of Conservative MP authorized to raise a battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel John Stanfield, M.P.
193rd (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Colonel Stanfield has gone back to Canada and I guess that is the best place for him. He is no good anyway and after the boys get home again he won’t have so much to say.
(Clarence Reginald Gass to Lillian Gass, 29 Nov 1916)
John Stanfield was Conservative MP for Colchester (1907—1917) and chief government whip during the Borden Government. He was born on 18 May 1868 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was a member of the 76th Colchester and Hants Rifle Corps Reserve. In February 1916, he was authorized to raise the 193rd Battalion as a unit in Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Borden’s Highland Brigade. On his attestation form, Stanfield cited annual militia “camp drill” as prior military service.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Price, M.P.P.
204th (Beaver) Battalion
It seems to me to be a crying shame that having raised and trained this battalion at a cost of $2000, it should after a year need further training so men taken to reinforce units not from Toronto and its senior officers cast adrift as if they were useless.
(Price to Borden, 4 Apr 1917)
William Herbert Price was an Ontario lawyer and Conservative MPP for Parkdale (1914—1937). He was born in Owen Sound on 25 May 1877. In spring 1916, Price competed with multiple battalions in Toronto to gather volunteers for the 204th. Despite having no militia experience, the popular politician was well positioned to organize the recruitment campaign.
Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Blondin, M.P.
258th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I cannot give him a better answer than this: Mr. Blondin took off his coat—
Sir Sam Hughes: Pardon me, Colonel Blondin.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I stand corrected. There are so many colonels in this country that I had forgotten one. I am blessed with a pretty good memory, but there is a limit even to counting, and I do not know whether the ex-minister himself knows how many honorary colonels he has appointed. But let that pass.
(Debates, 18 June 1917, 2400)
Pierre Édouard Blondin was Conservative MP for Champlain and prominent French-Canadian minister in the Borden Cabinet. He was born on 14 December 1874 in St-François du Lac, Quebec. First elected to parliament in 1908, he became Minster of Revenue in 1914 and Secretary of State in 1915 before being appointed Postmaster General.
Brigadier General W. A. Griesbach, D.S.O.
49th (Edmonton Regiment) Battalion
I had an idea at one time, that after the war over half of the Canadian parliament would be men who had served in the war. I had an idea that it would be hardly possible for a man to be elected to parliament who had not served his country in the war on active service. Yet in the present parliament we have in the commons some nine men out of 235—no I beg pardon, 234, for one is a woman—who have served overseas.
(Griesbach speech, Ottawa Citizen, 3 May 1923, 3)
William Antrobus Griesbach was an Edmonton barrister, Conservative political figure and member of the 19th Alberta Dragoons. He was born in Fort Qu’Appelle, North-West Territories on 3 January 1878. A veteran of the Boer War, he was authorized to raise the 49th Battalion In January 1915. By October 1915, Griesbach and his Edmonton volunteers had deployed to France as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Canadian Division.
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Urquhart, D.S.O.
43rd (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
There remains but to refer lightly to the characteristics typical of the Canadian soldier in that crisis which probed into the innermost recesses of character. This is not to claim that the Canadian possessed merits not shared by his comrades in arms everywhere; the soldierly virtues is the birthright of the true fighting man in all lands. But the soldiers of the Dominion exhibited those instincts in their own way. They were hidden under an exterior of independence, which sometimes misled the casual observer as to the soldierly spirit, potent in its strength, lying beneath this mask.
(Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 332)
A native of Scotland, Hugh McIntyre Urquhart was born on 13 August 1880 and immigrated to Canada in 1909. He originally enlisted with the 16th Battalion at Valcartier in August 1914. In recognition for his courage in the field, he was awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order.
Major Ian Sinclair, D.S.O., M.C.
13th (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalions
I thought my nerves might give if I ever ran into an affair of that sort, but something seemed to change in me and I saw without any particular sensation things happen, which in my previous state of mind would have driven me mad. One of my men actually did go crazy this morning after we got out. Every battalion in the division suffered about as much and the whole is pretty wrecked.
(Sinclair, 13th Bn., to Mother, 28 Apr 1915)
Ian MacIntosh Roe Sinclair sailed for England as a subaltern with the 13th Battalion in October 1914. Over four years later, he returned to Canada at the head of the battalion. Though wounded in the fighting at the second battle of Ypres, he was promoted to company commander. After Lieutenant Colonel Eric McCuaig was elevated to the 12th Brigade on 14 September 1918, Sinclair became temporary commanding officer.
Brigadier General Huntly Ketchen
6th Infantry Brigade
Gather round, boys, I want to have a little talk with you. You’ve been under my command about nine months now, and I’ve always been proud of you, and now you are going up the line, and I want to say this to you: Don’t go up with any idea that you are going to be killed—we want you all to take care of yourselves and not expose yourselves recklessly.
And remember a dead man is no use to us, we want you alive, and when we want you to put your heads up, we’ll tell you! And I’ve no doubt that you will only be too eager.
(Ketchen’s Speech, quoted in Pte. Jack O’Brien, Into the Jaws of Death, 1919, 54)
The son of an Indian Army officer, Huntly Douglas Brodie Ketchen was born in Sholopore, India on 22 May 1872. After graduating from the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, England, Ketchen moved to Canada, joined the North West Mounted Police in 1894 and fought in the Boer War. He was appointed to lead the 6th Infantry Brigade in May 1915.