Maj. Pearson

Major A.G. Pearson
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

After practically all the garrison at the front trenches had been killed or wounded by enemy shell fire, L/Cpl Pearson with a few men still held on and fortunately although wounded himself managed to bring out the survivors in safety after a new position had been taken up.

(Pearson, DCM citation, 14 Jan 1916)

Born in Endon, Staffordshire, England on 16 August 1880, Alfred Glynn Pearson was shipping agent who enlisted as a private in Winnipeg in December 1914. He was one of the few non-commissioned volunteers to rise through the ranks and command a battle by the end of the war. While serving as a corporal with the PPCLI, he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and a promotion to lieutenant. After recovering from shrapnel wounds, Pearson rejoined the PPCLI in spring 1916.

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The Scout Master

Lieutenant Colonel J.A. Hesketh
Lord Strathcona’s Horse

Among the citizens of Winnipeg, such men as Col. Hesketh is deserving of special praise and honor for his interest in our boys. His objective was not to teach them war, nor turn their thoughts in enmity towards any people. But he was one of the men who taught them the national need of rigid adherence to paths of duty.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 3 May 1921, 4)

Born in Aldershot, England on 20 November 1863, James Arthur Hesketh was a graduate of the Royal Military College and a Canadian Pacific Railway engineer in Winnipeg. He was a early leader of the Boy Scout movement and helped to organize the first scout council in Manitoba. With over thirty years in the Canadian militia and as commander of the Corps of Guides, Major Hesketh went to overseas with Lord Strathcona’s Horse in October 1914.

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Maj. Gen. Steele

Major General Sir Sam Steele
2nd Canadian Division

Climbed the high hill to where the 19th, 20th [Bns.] and engineers were busy digging trenches and completing them. They are doing very well indeed, all hands working with a will, but I thought what an awful thing it is to be obliged to do this for the sake of our freedom, and to enable us to kill other men.

(Gen. Steele diary, 1 July 1915)

Born on 5 January 1848 in Medonte Township, Upper Canada, Samuel Benfield Steele was among the first officers of the North-West Mounted Police and the first commanding officer of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the Boer War. His leadership during the Klondike Gold Rush and his memoirs contributed to linking his name with the iconic image of the Mountie. As Canada’s most famous policeman and soldier, Steele received an appointment to command the 2nd Canadian Division in May 1915.

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Lt. Col. MacLeod

Lieutenant Colonel G.W. MacLeod
Royal Canadian Regiment

He was the only officer without previous training before the war to ever hold command of the R.C.R.’s and according to stories told by other officers of the C.E.F., the appointment of a “civilian” colonel was deeply resented by the regular officers of the regiment …

(Edmonton Journal, 18 Apr 1933, 26)

Born in Parkhill, Ontario on 2 February 1888, George Waters MacLeod was an Edmonton civil engineer with no militia experience when he enlisted as a lieutenant in the 49th Battalion in July 1915. He went to France as a captain in October and within six months had been promoted to major. By mid-1918, he had transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and then served as acting commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment for the final month of the war.

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Lt. Col. Sissons

Lieutenant Colonel Frank O. Sissons
1st Mounted Rifles Brigade

Col. Sissons is a real westerner in every sense of the word.

(Edmonton Bulletin, 14 Nov 1914, 1)

Born in Burnside, Manitoba on 23 March 1868, Frank Ogletree Sissons was a militia officer, rancher, and landowner in Medicine Hat. He had created the 21st Hussars in 1908 and with the formation of the Canadian Mounted Rifles in November 1914, Sissons was initially given command of the 3rd CMR. The militia council had selected Colonel Victor Williams to command the 1st CMR Brigade, but militia minister Sam Hughes favoured Sissons to represent the West. He was appointed brigade commander in March 1915.

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Lt. Col. W.A. Munro

Lieutenant Colonel W.A. Munro
90th (Little Black Devils) Battalion


Heart disease, which originated in the first gas attack at Ypres in 1915, resulted in the death last night of Lieut.-Col. W.A. Munro, D.S.O., a prominent figure in the active militia in Western Canada.

 (Winnipeg Tribune, 2 Feb 1927, 2)

A native of Toronto, William Aird Munro was born on 12 June 1872. He joined the newly formed 48th Highlanders in 1891 before moving to Winnipeg three years later. At the outbreak of the Great War, he had twenty-years’ service with the 90th Winnipeg Rifles (The Little Black Devils). The regiment’s nickname dated back to the Métis resistance of 1885. A captured rebel remarked, “The red coats we know, but who are those little black devils?” referring to the 90th soldiers’ rifle green uniforms.

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Lt. Col. Docherty

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.

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Lt. Col. Beaubier

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.

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Lt. Col. Stevenson

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.

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Lt. Col. Lightfoot

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.

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