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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The Nazi-Watcher

Major K. C. Bedson
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionBedson

Watched closely by gestapo agents in their midst, Nazi prisoners of war in internment camps in Canada wage a 24-hour battle of wits against the veteran Canadian soldiers who guard them, hoping to earn good marks for their credit in post-war Germany by constantly trying to escape and making life as difficult as possible for the camp staff.

(Col. Bedson’s report, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 Dec 1943, 5)

Kenneth Campbell Bedson was the son of Samuel Lawrence Bedson (1842—1891), an English-born army officer who settled in Manitoba after Wolseley’s Expedition in 1870. The elder Bedson was a prison warden, golfer, sportsman and hunter. As a boy, Kenneth Bedson helped his father herd buffalo on the family farm. Bedson was born In Stoney Mountain, Manitoba on 31 July 1881. During the Boer War, Bedson fought with the 2nd Mounted Rifles. He also belonged to the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Fort Garry Horse. In September 1914, he enlisted as a captain in Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lipsett’s 8th Battalion.

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The Irishman

Major General Louis Lipsett †
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionLipsett

General Lipsett is not only a fine soldier but a sympathetic Irishman, with the power of inspiring personal affection and devotion among those under him to a very unusual degree.

He inspires such confidence that I cannot imagine any man showing fear in his presence. To have Lipsett by your side would be enough to give a coward courage. “He never asks anyone to do a thing that he is not ready to do himself,” his men say. “He never forgets a man. He knows everybody’s name and all about us.”

(F. A. McKenzie, Through the Hindenburg Line, 1918, 9)

Born on 14 June 1874 in Ballyshannon, Ireland, Louis James Lipsett was a professional soldier with the Royal Irish Regiment. He served for five years in India on the Northwest Frontier. A veteran of the Tirah Campaign and the Boer War, he participated in an officer exchange program with the Canadian militia in 1911 and relocated to western Canada. After the outbreak of the Great War, he secured British Columbia coastal defences and assumed command of the 8th (Little Black Devils) Battalion, based in Winnipeg.

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The Northman

Lieutenant Colonel R. A. Gillespie
226th (Men of the North) BattalionGillespie

An ardent lover of outdoor life and successful participant in many manly sports, a natural leader of men, understanding thoroughly the life and character of the Western man, the Colonel with his splendid military knowledge, especially in machine gun and musketry, is eminently fitted to command any Canadian Battalion, but particularly one containing so large a percentage of Western men as the 226th.

(226th Overseas Battalion, C.E.F, 1916, 3)

A native of Winnipeg, Robert Alexander Gillespie was born on 24 January 1881. He was a trained druggist and chemist. In 1912, he had helped to organize the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry. Gillespie joined the 61st Battalion as junior major until he received authorization to raise the 226th from northern Manitoba in November 1915. Dubbed the “Men of the North,” the 226th officers considered their volunteers “physically superior” to the other battalions

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The Boulton Boys

Major Lawrence Boulton
&
Major D’Arcy Boulton
&
Lieutenant Russell Boulton †

Manitoba Depot Regiment  Boultons

If sole support of widowed mother, state what amount you have given per month prior to your enlistment, also reason she has no other support than yourself:

All earnings. Husband dead and her only other sons married and supporting their own families. She has no other income sufficient to support her & her two daughters.

(L. C. Boulton, “Particulars of Family”, 7 Jan 1917)

The Boultons were a prominent Upper Canadian family with deep political connections and a long military tradition. During the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, Colonel Charles Arkoll Boulton (1841—1899) raised a unit to help put down the uprising of Louis Riel. In 1889, he was appointed senator for Manitoba. His oldest son, D’Arcy Everard Boulton was born in Orillia, Ontario on 26 April 1876. Lawrence Charles Boulton was born in Lakefield, Ontario on 10 December 1878. The youngest son, Russell Heath Boulton, was born in Russell, Manitoba on 24 February 1884-1918.

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The Warden

Lieutenant Colonel Royal Burritt, D.S.O.
11th (Reserves) BattalionBurritt

“I do not recommend a prison as a desirable place to gain experience. It is much better to profit from the experience of others.”—Col. Burritt

(Winnipeg Tribune, 8 June 1949, 17)

Royal Burritt was born on 1 April 1876 in Stratford, Ontario. He moved to Winnipeg in 1907, becoming a real estate agent and insurance broker. A militia officer in the 100th (Winnipeg Grenadiers) Regiment when the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces organized at Valcartier in August 1914, Burritt assumed command of the 11th Battalion.

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