The Exonerated

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Morley, M.C.
144th (3rd Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionMorley

The trenches, too, have their lighter side. There are no more cheerful people connected with this war than the boys in the trenches. They make jokes about everything, especially the German shells. The officers are not excluded from their jokes. I recall one day in the trenches, when the word was passed among some of my own Tommies that some staff officers were coming down the trenches.

“Staff officers in the trenches!” exclaimed one of the boys, “Peace must have been declared!”

(Col. Morley, Canadian Club of Winnipeg, 8 Oct 1915, 86)

Arthur William Morley was a Manitoba lawyer and legislative clerk born on 9 August 1880 in Huntsville, Ontario. He moved west to study law in 1901 and set up a practice in Winnipeg after graduation in 1904. A member of the 90th Rifles since relocating to Manitoba, he volunteered with the 8th Battalion September 1914.

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The Bankrupt

Lieutenant Colonel R. McD. Thomson †
43rd (Cameron Highlanders) BattalionsThomson_RM

Robert McDonnell Thomson, officer commanding the 43rd Battalion, who died at Albert. France, Oct. 8 1916, as a result of wounds, and who was believed to be one of the wealthiest men in Winnipeg, died insolvent.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 28 August 1918, 1)

Born on 4 July 1869 in Hamilton, Ontario, Robert McDonnell Thomson was a veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and founder of the 78th Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Although on the reserve list at the outbreak of the Great War, Thomson raised the 43rd Battalion from Winnipeg and sailed for England in June 1915. The Cameron Highlanders deployed to France with 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division in February 1916.

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The Indian Fighter

Lieutenant Colonel Glen Campbell, D.S.O.
107th (Timber Wolves) BattalionCampbell_G

I had hoped that I would not have to rise and address the House to-night, because I have been, with other western members, attending hockey matches the last few days, and my voice is not as good as I would like it to be.

(Campbell, Debates, 21 Jan 1910, 2259)

Glenlyon Archibald Campbell was a frontiersman, pioneer, rancher, soldier and politician. He was born in Fort Pelly, North West Territories on 23 October 1863. He fought with the Boulton’s Scouts at the battle of Batoche during Louis Riel’s 1885 Rebellion. Fluent in Cree and other Native languages, he raised the 107th Battalion largely from western First Nations.

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The Man Among Boys

Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Daniel MacKay
196th (Western Universities) BattalionMackay_DS

The student, then, is working at high pressure and has no time for consideration of the subjects he is taught in the day. As a matter of fact he has no time to think for himself, and the consequence is that he must come out of the university more or less as a sort of stuffed fowl rather than a human being who can tackle a question and analyse it. We have found this not only with our own students but with students from elsewhere.

(MacKay, Medical Conference, 20 Dec 1924, 133)

Daniel Sayre MacKay was a Manitoba physician, graduate of McGill University, officer in the Cameron Highlanders and second-in-command of Lieutenant Colonel Snider’s 27th Battalion. The son of Conservative Senator William MacKay (1847—1915), Major MacKay was born in Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia on 20 January 1878. While serving overseas with the 6th Brigade headquarters, MacKay was selected to command the 196th raised from university students in western Canada.

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The Labour Man

Major George W. Andrews, D.S.O.
8th (Little Black Devils) BattalionAndrews

Until a few years ago, it was believed that to maintain peace you had to prepare for war and to have big armaments. Some people believe it to-day, but millions of people know that it is a lie; millions of women know that it is a lie; millions of soldiers know that it is a lie.

(Andrews, Debates, 2 Mar 1921, 474)

George William Andrews was born in Oxfordshire, England on 9 September 1869. He immigrated to Canada in 1890, settled in Winnipeg, worked in real estate and joined the 90th Rifles Regiment. He fought at Second Ypres with the 8th Battalion alongside his son, Captain George Frank Andrews. The elder Andrews was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in January 1916 but was soon forced from the field due to chronic asthma. One of his soldiers remembered him as “a grand old man” but regretted, “Too bad he was so old.”

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The Subaltern

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Creighton †
1st (Western Ontario) BattalionCreighton

On arrival of the H.Q. Staff of the 8th Battalion at Lt. Col. Creighton’s dugout, a very large calibre shell completely demolished the H.Q. Dugout burying Staffs of both regiments. Lt. Col. Creighton received wounds from which he never recovered consciousness. In this the Division lost a good Officer who had done valuable work that day.

(Gen. Lipsett, 2nd Brig. War Diary, 15 June 1916, 24)

Frank Albro Legion Creighton was born on 6 February 1875 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was a civil engineer living in Winnipeg. He enlisted in the 1st Battalion as a lieutenant and was promoted to second-in-command in the field. After Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Hill took over the 9th Infantry Brigade, Creighton assumed command of the Western Ontario battalion on 24 January 1916.

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The Hotelman

Lieutenant Colonel “Big Nick” Nicholson
Nicholson  &
Lieutenant M. Stewart NicholsonNicholson_MS251st (Goodfellows) Battalion

Col. Nicholson said he had believed he could raise a battalion, and had offered to try to do so. He felt confident, from the results that had attended his effort, that he would succeed.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 16 Jan 1917, 7)

Popularly known as Big Nick, George Henry Nicholson was manager of the Clarington Hotel in Winnipeg. He was born in Woodburn, Canada West on 25 April 1863. He had belonged to the 13th Regiment in Hamilton before moving to Manitoba in 1909. In September 1916, Nicholson received authorization to raise the 251st Battalion.

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The Independent

Brigadier General Hugh Dyer, D.S.O.
5th (Western Cavalry) BattalionDyer

I thank you for the unanimity with which you have chosen me as your candidate, for without unanimity we cannot get anywhere. Let there be no mistake. I am not agreeing to run as the representative of any particular party. I am not agreeing to run as a representative of any one class or sect. I will not be tied to any hitching ropes. I will not be haltered by any party. If you elect me, you will elect Hugh Dyer. If that is satisfactory to you, I, on my part, pledge myself to do everything in my power in your interests, and will not spare myself as your representative in the house of commons.

(Dyer speech, Winnipeg Tribune, 21 Oct 1921, 2)

Nicknamed “Daddy Dyer” by his men, Hugh Marshall Dyer was the second CO of the 5th Battalion and commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade. Born in Kingstown, Ireland on 28 January 1861, he immigrated to Manitoba in 1881 and built a farm in Minnedosa where he lived for the rest of his life.

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The Police Chief

Lieutenant Colonel James Kirkcaldy, D.S.O.
78th (Winnipeg Grenadiers) BattalionKirkcaldy

For conspicuous gallantry and resourceful leadership. When one of his companies was held up by machine-gun fire, he took charge and overcame the opposition. Later, by aggressive fighting, he got his battalion forward, and formed a defensive flank, using a rifle himself and directing machine–gun and trench-mortar fire, and drove the enemy from their positions. His courage and fighting spirit were an inspiration to all.

(Kirkcaldy D.S.O. Citation, London Gazette, July 1918, 133)

James Kirkcaldy was born in Abdie, Scotland on 18 May 1866. After serving for over seven years in the Imperial Forces, he immigrated to Canada in 1891 and settled in Brandon, Manitoba. Shortly thereafter, the six-foot Scotsman was appointed the town’s chief of police, a post he held for the next thirteen years (1892—1905). A former member of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons and serving major with the 99th Rangers, in August 1914, Kirkcaldy enlisted in Louis Lipsett’s 8th Battalion at the rank of major.

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The Bug

Lieutenant Colonel A. L. Saunders, D.S.O., M.C.
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionSaunders

At 1 PM on January 20th 1915, we fell in to march to Tidworth. Pte. Bug Saunders (afterwards Lt. Col. Saunders, D.S.O. and bar, M.C. and bar) distinguished himself by getting into a fight and appearing on parade with one eye closed.

(A. H. J. Andrews, Diary, Jan 1915)

Alec Laurence Saunders was born on 28 September 1888 in Kingston, Ontario. In September 1914, the five-foot-three and a half Winnipeg clerk enlisted as a private with the 6th Battalion. Four years later, he was commanding officer of the 8th Battalion for the final Hundred Days of the war. Although initially viewed skeptical for his short stature, Saunders, nicknamed Bug, quickly distinguished himself in battle.

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