Lt. Col. Jamieson

Lieutenant Colonel Fred Jamieson
260th Battalion, Siberian Expeditionary Force

I do not think that the war will end in any way but as the Allies wish. It is impossible for it to end otherwise but to accomplish this end it will require the assistance of all available men between the ages of eighteen and forty. With the magnificent army of men that have gone to the front there are needed the additional half million …

It isn’t really boasting when I say that nearly every good idea since 1925 has come from the Conservatives.

(Northern Tribune, 20 June 1935, 1)

Born on 18 May 1875 in North Gower Township, Ontario, Frederick Charles Jamieson was commanding officer of the 19th Alberta Dragoons and veteran of the Boer War. He moved to Edmonton in 1895 and started a law firm with Alexander Rutherford, who became the first premier of Alberta. In August 1914, Jamieson led the 19th Dragoons to Valcartier and took command of the 1st Divisional Calvary Squadron.

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Col. MacDonald

Colonel George MacDonald
12th Canadian Mounted Rifles

A quiet, soldierly old gentleman, caring little or nothing about the limelight of public life, he numbered many friends in his personal circle, and probably more among the pensioners and the war-wrecked wounded with whom his postwar medical duties brought him in close touch.

 (Calgary Albertan, 6 Nov 1933, 4)

George MacDonald was an Alberta physician born in Aberdeen, Scotland on 22 September 1863. He immigrated to Canada as a child and graduated with a medical degree from McGill in 1889. He then travelled west and attempted prospecting during the Klondike Gold Rush. He settled down into a medical practice in Calgary in 1900. As commanding officer of 15th Light Horse he was appointed to raise the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles in November 1914.

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Lt. Col. Harstone

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Harstone
4th Canadian Railway Troops

There is no transcontinental railway in operations today on the North American continent which he has not had some part in building.

(The Forty-Niner, Jan 1932, 18)

John Brunton Harstone was born in Port Arthur, Ontario on 15 September 1879. He enlisted as a lieutenant with the 49th Battalion in January 1915. Earning the nickname, “Fighting Jack,” he served in France from October 1915 until he was wounded a year later. While recovering he received the Distinguished Service Order.

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Maj. Eaton

Major R.B. Eaton, M.P.P.
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 signaler 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, 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.

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The Adventurer

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Cornwall
218th (Irish Guards) Battalion

He certainly knows his constituency better than most representatives do. There is scarcely a mile of these unmapped ways that he has not tramped alone; not an Indian guide in the North can last with Jim for a week, in summer or on snowshoes.

(A.D. Cameron, The New North, 1910,)

On 3 March 1916, James Kennedy Cornwall enlisted as a private in Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Whittaker’s 218th Battalion. Within two months, Cornwall, a former Liberal Alberta MPP (1909—1913), was commanding the unit. Nicknamed “Peace River Jim,” he was a pioneer, prospector, trapper, adventurer and entrepreneur. Born on 29 October 1869 in Brantford, Ontario, he became a world traveler before settling in Peace River, Alberta in 1902.

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Lt. Col. Robinson

Lieutenant Colonel C.W. Robinson
187th (Veterans) Battalion

I have offered to take up the story where I left off two years ago, and go over in command of a Company as a Major. There seems to be lots of Colonels in England.

 (Col. Robinson letter, Red Deer News, 21 Mar 1917, 3)

Charles Wilson Robinson was a veteran of the Boer War and original officer with Lieutenant Colonel Boyle’s 10th Battalion at Second Ypres. Born in Loftus, England on 2 February 1877, Robinson was a central Alberta farmer and member of the 15th Light Horse. During the heavy fighting at the battle of St. Julien in late April 1915, Robinson suffered a broken arm and shattered ribs. During the same action, his commanding officer, Russell Boyle was killed in action. Robinson returned to Canada in fall 1915 to join the 89th Battalion before receiving a command appointment to the 187th. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Spencer

Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Spencer
175th (Medicine Hat) and 31st Battalions

What happened to Colonel Spencer will happen, more or less decisively, to Government candidates throughout the prairie Provinces…

 And Colonel Spencer stands quite as high in the estimation of the voters in his district as Government candidates generally can stand in the opinions of their respective communities. If he could not save his deposit, it is a bad look out for them if the conditions of the contest are the same.

 (Edmonton Bulletin, 2 Jul 1921, 7)

Born in New Brunswick on 7 December 1876, Nelson Spencer was a Conservative politician in Alberta and member of the provincial legislature (1913—1921). He belonged to the 21st Alberta Hussars and raised the 175th Battalion from his riding in early 1916. In response to questions about Spencer’s competency, Sir Sam Hughes replied, “He as all the necessary qualities to become a most efficient officer, and is rapidly acquiring the necessary military training.”

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Lt. Col. Page

Lieutenant Colonel L.F. Page, D.S.O.
50th (Calgary) Battalion


Col. Page was essentially a line officer. Wherever the storm was thickest there he was sure to be found. No officer that was ever with the battalion was better known to the men generally, because he toured his front religiously. He never shirked a duty or danger, and never spared himself, and he expected those under him to live up to the same brand of soldiership and manhood.

 (Red Deer News, 11 Jun 1919, 1)

A native of England, Lionel Frank Page was born on 17 December 1884. He was a Red Deer, Alberta rancher and member of the 15th Light Horse. He enlisted as a subaltern with the 5th western Cavalry in September 1915, rose to become second-in-command and went on to command the 50th Battalion.

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Lt. Col. Harwood

Lieutenant Colonel Dr. R. deL. Harwood
51st (Edmonton) Battalion

Colonel Harwood, who had hoped, I say, to add some credit to the family to which he belonged by rendering military service to Canada and the Empire, and who was no doubt competent in every way to render that service, was relieved of the command of his battalion; it was broken up into drafts, and Colonel Harwood has been given employment as a medical officer in England.

 The cruelty of that is, that so long as Colonel Harwood lives or his children after him, instead of his service to the country brining credit or glory to his name, there is a stain against him from which he can never relieve himself.

(Frank Oliver, House of Commons Debates, 13 July 1917)

Born on 27 March 1872 in Vaudreuil, Quebec, Reginald deLotbinière Harwood was a member of a distinguished and influential Lower Canadian family. He was the descendant of the Marquis de Lotbinière (1723–1798), a French-Canadian seigneur, military engineer and general in the Seven Years’ War.  After completing his medical education in Montreal, Paris and London, Harwood became a surgeon in Edmonton.

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Brig. Gen. Ormond

Brigadier General Dan Ormond
10th (Fighting Tenth) Battalion

I have no great hope, however, that he will prove a success in the position to which he has been appointed; my information is that he has not been successful in any of the other ventures over which he has had command.

 I consider that the remarks made by Brigadier-General Ormond are an example of red tape snobbishness and brass hat unctuousness. Fortunately there were not many men of this calibre holding high commands…

(R. Gray, Debates, 3 Apr 1933, 3649)

Daniel Mowat Ormond assumed command of the 10th Battalion at Second Ypres following the death of Lieutenant Colonel Russ Boyle. He became second-in-command when John Grant Rattray returned from England to take over the 10th. On relinquishing command in September 1916, Rattray endorsed Ormond as his successor. Currie replied, “You have a higher opinion of Ormond than I have, but I will take your word for it.” Rattray reassured Currie, “Ormond will not disappoint you.”

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