The Blue Blood

Lieutenant Colonel A. L. Bonnycastle
200th (Bonny’s Buccaneers) Battalion Bonnycastle

I am raising a battalion of stalwarts that will make the Germans hop.

(Bonnycastle, Winnipeg Tribune, 8 March 1916, 5)

Angus Lorne Bonnycastle was a former Conservative member of the Manitoba legislature (1907—1911), a Winnipeg barrister and provincial police magistrate. Born on 3 November 1873 in Campbellford, Ontario, Bonnycastle moved to Manitoba as a school teacher in 1893. He was a member of one of Ontario’s most prominent military families. His great-grand father, Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle (1791—1847) helped to suppress the 1837 Rebellion and oversaw fortification construction in Kingston. His father Major R. H. Bonnycastle (1843—1911) had participated in the Fenian Raids and the Northwest Rebellion.

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The Boer Beater

Lieutenant Colonel P. J. Daly, D.S.O.
27th (City of Winnipeg) BattalionDaly

Mayor Davidson received a communication today from Lieut.-Col. P. J. Daly, commanding the City of Winnipeg battalion, now somewhere in France, stating that he had rounded up two more guns, making a total of six. He said he would donate them to the city, if desired. His worship promptly accepted the offer. Congratulations were sent to the officer. The guns will be placed eventually on historic spots in the city.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 9 Aug 1917, 5)

Patrick Joseph Daly took command of the 27th Battalion on 15 April 1916 following Lieutenant Colonel Irvine R. Snider’s nervous breakdown during the battle of St. Eloi. A native of Ireland, Daly had fought with the 6th Western Australian Mounted Infantry during the Boer War. He was seven times wounded in the South African campaign, nominated for a Victoria Cross and awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In one engagement, despite having both arms broken, Daly rode for a mile and captured over forty enemy prisoners.

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The Shell Shocked

Lieutenant Colonel Irvine R. Snider
27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion
IRSnider

…this officer as the result of service in France and severe nervous strain has become very emotional and is unable to sleep well except for a short time each night. He is easily exhausted and has some muscular tremor. At present he is quite unfit for any mental or physical exertion and must have prolonged rest.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, 18 May 1916)

Irvine Robinson Snider was a Manitoba farmer, long-time militiaman and veteran of the Northwest Rebellion and the Boer War. He was born on 1 January 1864 in Nobleton, Canada West. In spring 1885, the twenty-one year old Snider joined the 90th Winnipeg Rifles as a private to put down Louis Riel’s insurrection. Fifteen-years later, he served with Lord Strathcona’s Horse in South Africa.

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The Hockeyist

Lieutenant Colonel Francis J. Murray
61st (Winnipeg) Battalion
Murray

The local soldier hockeyists completely outclassed the Saskatchewan champions in the two-game series and proved themselves worthy holders of the coveted mug.

This performance of Colonel Murray’s men is certainly remarkable, as the cup-seekers are a redoubtable squad of players but they were unable to cope with the sensational close checking and speed of the Winnipeggers. Only in the first fifteen minutes of the first game were the Westerners really in the running, as after that they were outplayed and seldom looked dangerous.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 20 Mar 1916, 10)

Born on 23 June 1876 in Portsmouth, England, Francis John Murray was a professional soldier and twenty-two year veteran of the Imperial Army. Having fought in the Boer War, Murray was appointed to raise the 61st Battalion from Winnipeg in spring 1915.

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The School Builder

Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Mitchell
100th (Winnipeg Grenadiers) Battalion

Mitchell

His figure is as erect as of yore in defiance of his 88 years. He embodies the spirit of those Scarlet Riders who brought law and order to the plains, brought joy to law-abiding folk and spread dismay among the lawless. This picturesque personality is Col. J. B. Mitchell, clear-eyed, soft-spoken, alert as becomes those who are still interested in current events and “tomorrow.” His long service in military and civilian life has not drooped those massive shoulders, nor bowed the finely-posed head. Lacking but two inches of six feet, he is so well sot up that an observer would scarcely suspect his weight to be 200 pounds. That’s what athletic training and outdoor life will do for a busy man.

(Col. G. C. Porter, Winnipeg Tribune, 30 Nov 1940, 36)

James Bertram Mitchell was Architect and Commissioner of School Buildings and Supplies in Manitoba from 1892 until his retirement in 1928. Born on 14 October 1852 in Gananocque, Canada West, Mitchell was an adventurer, policeman and civic leader. At the age of fourteen, he volunteered as a bugler in the militia and participated in the Fenian Raid of 1866. During the second Fenian invasion scare in 1870, he guarded the Welland Canal at Cornwall. In 1874,  he joined the North West Mounted Police.

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The Amputee

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Webb, D.S.O., M.C.
47th (Western Ontario) BattalionWebb

A shell dropped in among the troops and twenty-two Winnipeg men and Col. Webb were wounded. Webb’s leg was completely severed near the hip. The colonel took out his pocket-knife and cut off the mangled remnants, then tied up his arteries with a shoelace. He afterwards underwent the necessary surgical operation without an anesthetic in Etaples field hospital. Recovering in England, he never used a crutch. He secured an artificial limb and left the hospital walking upon it. Within five months after his leg was blown off, he was back in France with his unit, with the artificial member.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 17 Nov 1924, 4)

Ralph Humphreys Webb succeeded Lieutenant Colonel M. J. Francis as commander of the 47th Battalion on 14 December 1917. In September 1914, the twenty-eight year old Webb had enlisted as a lieutenant with the Canadian Army Service Corps. Webb was born at sea on an ocean liner sailing from India on 30 August 1886. Raised in England, he immigrated to Canada in 1902.

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The Ice Man

Lieutenant Colonel H. Marino Hannesson
223rd (Canadian Scandinavians) BattalionHannesson

Col. Hannesson thinks we should have a Canadian flag. He sets forth the case for it in much the same way we have seen it stated with monotonous repetition over a course of several years. The agitation comes from the same small source but sustained as it has been by a clique that arrogates to Itself the shaping of Canada’s destiny, nothing comes of It. It is a babbling stream that never lengthens, never widens, never rises. The people of Canada, broadly speaking, have taken no interest in it.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 24 Jan 1928, 9)

Born in Iceland on 27 November 1884, Hannes Marino Hannesson immigrated with his family to Manitoba in 1886. A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Hannesson practiced law in Winnipeg and Selkirk at the outbreak of the First World War. A member of the 90th Winnipeg Rifles, he enlisted as an officer with Lieutenant Colonel Hans Albrechtsen’s 223rd Battalion in March 1916.

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