Lieutenant Colonel M. Docherty
Lord Strathcona’s Horse
We had 200 men, the Germans about 2,000. We had no artillery support, but the Huns had all kinds. But we stopped their counter-attack. Colonel Docherty fell a few feet from me, shot dead, clean through the head.
(LdSH soldier’s letter, Winnipeg Tribune, 29 Dec 1917)
Born in Scotland on 1 May, 1877, Malcolm Docherty was a Boer War veteran, marksman and polo player in Winnipeg. A prewar sergeant in the Lord Strathcona’s Horse, he went to France as a lieutenant in May 1915. Six months later, he received a promotion to captain and the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Beaubier
181st (Brandon) Battalion
Dave Beaubier had a genius for friendship, and a love of all classes and creeds, which bespeak that broad-minded type of charity, religion and friendship which enriches life.
(R. J. Manion, Debates, 13 Jan 1939, 7)
David Wilson Beaubier was born in St. Mary’s, Canada West on 21 May 1864. He was an early pioneer to Manitoba in the 1880s and established himself as a farmer. A captain with the 99th Manitoba Rifles, Beaubier assumed command of the 181st Battalion after the death of Lieutenant Colonel G. W. Bruce, who had succumbed to injuries from an accident in April 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel H.I. Stevenson
1st Canadian Mounted Rifles and Fort Garry Horse
When our line was temporarily pierced, he led a charge with great skill and dash, by which the enemy were driven back and a new line established. He succeeded in establishing communication with the troops on his right flank, and though heavily outnumbered maintained this line until relieved by fresh infantry units. His prompt action and cool leadership were the means of allowing two battalions of infantry, who were in danger of being cut off, to withdraw safely to our line.
(D.S.O. Citation, Gazette, 22 June 1918)
Herbert Irving Stevenson was in Richibucto, New Brunswick on 17 July 1878. After serving in the Boer War he moved west to Manitoba in 1903. He began working for the Dominion Forestry Service in 1912. He organized the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914 but was replaced a year later when the mounted rifles became infantry.
Lieutenant Colonel James Lightfoot
222nd (Manitoba Tigers) Battalion
Major Lightfoot led the front line of his battalion, the 10th.
“Come on, boys,” he said, “remember you are Canadians.” The line advanced with great spirit, less than two thousand Canadians against a hundred thousand Germans. It was the biggest bluff in history but it won. On and on went the Canadians, 10th and Highlanders, one moment with the bayonet the next moment firing. The Germans, who were busy digging in south of the wood, saw the Canadians coming in the twilight, and only waited to fire a few shots and then they started to run. Lightfoot was down, but the line went on.
(J.A. Currie, The Red Watch, 1916, 222)
Born on 12 August 1879 in Aston, Cheshire, England, James Lightfoot was a soldier and Boer War veteran. He served with the Imperial Yeomanry and the Scottish Horse during the South Africa campaign. He immigrated to Manitoba in 1905, became a prominent Winnipeg citizen and established the city’s first taxi company.
Brigadier General Ross Hayter
10th Infantry Brigade
He was a splendid example of the Royal Military College graduate, and, although all his service before the war was with the British forces, he never lost touch with Canada and never lost his Canadian spirit.
(Arthur Currie, 19 Dec 1929, 3)
Ross John Finnis Hayter was a graduate of the Royal Military College and Boer War veteran with nearly twenty years’ service in the British Army. He was born in Assam, India on 28 February 1875. He served as a brigade major with the 1st Infantry Brigade during the second battle of Ypres and later joined the staff of the 3rd Division under the command of General Louis Lipsett. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Fonseca
197th (Vikings of Canada) Battalion
War Invention by Colonel Fonseca Rips Barbed Entanglements to Pieces
Proof of the military value of the new war machine invented by Lieut.-Col. Fonseca, of the 197th Battalion, was submitted to a number of experts In the art of modern warfare at Fort Rouge Tuesday afternoon. The news that a weapon which can successfully combat barbed wire In the field had been Invented created great Interest and Col. Fonseca consented to a series of tests to substantiate his claims.
(Winnipeg Tribune, 8 Aug 1916, 5)
Despite his Latin name, Alfonso Gomez Fonseca raised a battalion of Scandinavians from Manitoba. He was born in Winnipeg on 14 June 1876. His father, William Gomez da Fonseca (1823—1905), was born in the Danish West Indies, moved to North America and became an early Winnipeg pioneer in the 1860.
Lieutenant Colonel D.R. Street
77th (Ottawa) Battalion
I merely add without comment, we hear that the men of the 77th battalion in Ottawa looted the Parliament Buildings the night of the fire. I am prepared to say this—I never thought it worth mentioning it, but my attention was brought to it yesterday–that the men of the 77th, as well as the Engineers, conducted themselves in the most orderly and becoming manner on that night…
(Sam Hughes, Debates, 16 Feb 1916, 855)
Douglas Richmond Street was a member of the Governor General’s Foot Guards and director of the Ottawa Electric & Gas Company. He was born on 19 June 1864 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In spring 1915, he was selected to raise a battalion from the Ottawa area.
Lieutenant Colonel Harry Cowan
Lieutenant Colonel C.D. McPherson
32nd (Portage la Prairie) Battalion
In view of the serious war situation I decided that I would write to you to ascertain what steps those of us located in this part of the world, and wishing to serve, should take … Just to what extent this U.S. neutrality law would restrain us, I do not know. However, I do know that there will be quite a large number who will offer to serve should hostilities break out.
(McPherson to defence minister, 24 Aug 1939)
Harry James Cowan was a Boer War veteran and commanding officer of the 18th Mounted Rifles. In November 1914, he was authorized to raise the 32nd Battalion from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He selected Major Charles Duncan McPherson, of “C” Squadron in the 18th Mounted Rifles, as his second-in-command.
Lieutenant Colonel G.W. Bruce
181st (Brandon) Battalion
Col. Bruce’s wife was not able to give definite particulars about her husband’s death, on account of suffering from the sudden shock.
(Toronto Globe, 24 Apr 1916, 8)
George William Bruce was a barrister, militia officer and former commander of the 35th Simcoe Rifles. He was born in Simcoe County, Canada West on 26 January 1862. He graduated from Victoria College in 1885 and joined the militia in 1890. He moved west to join a law practice in Manitoba after retiring to the reserve officers’ list in 1912. In January 1916, Bruce was appointed to raise the 181st Battalion from Brandon, Manitoba. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel J.Y. Reid
179th (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
He proved himself an excellent Group Commander, energetic and capable, and concerned for the comfort of the men under his command.
(Labour Commandant, Second Army, 13 Jan 1919)
John Young Reid Jr. was a department store manager and merchant in Winnipeg. Born in Toronto on 30 June 1871, he was the son of John Reid Sr., publisher of the Toronto Globe. After working as a clerk in Toronto, the younger Reid moved to Manitoba in 1907. He was one of the first officers in the 79th Cameron Highlanders and became senior major of the 179th Battalion in January 1916.