The Marksman

Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Forbes
145th (Kent—Westmorland) Battalion
Forbes

Shooting constituted one department in which the 145th Infantry Battalion excelled. Its subsequent success in sniping derived largely from the painstaking effort of Lt. Col. Forbes, who was—as has been noted earlier—a notable marksman, and twice a member of Canada’s Bisley Rifle Team.

So Lt. Col. Forbes offered his Battalion the benefit of more experience in musketry than the average Officer Commanding possessed.

(Pte. V.E. Goodwin , Memories of the Forgotten War, 1988, 34)

Born on 8 August 1868 in Richibucto, New Brunswick, William Ellis Forbes was a merchant and farmer with seventeen years’ experience in the 73rd Regiment. In national and international rifle contests he demonstrated excellent marksmanship abilities and competed at the Bisley shooting ranges in England.

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The Accountant

Lieutenant Colonel Walter R. Brown, D.S.O.
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionWRBrown

I see in my mind many bright, cheery figures, some of the best of our county’s stock, soldiers every inch of them—how sorry I am they are not returning with us today, and how I feel for their people. But though they are sleeping in some military graveyard in France or Belgium, I know they are not forgotten…

(Brown to People of N.B., St. John Telegraph, 1919)

A member of the 62nd Fusiliers and Boer War veteran, Walter Richard Brown enlisted with the 26th Battalion in February 1915. He was born on 3 June 1872 in London, England. After the removal of Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity in May 1916 and the departure of Lieutenant Colonel A. E. G. McKenzie to an officer’s course in summer 1917, Brown assumed command of the battalion.

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The Diarist

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis H. Beer
140th (St. John’s Tigers) Battalion

I forgot to mention that Gen. Seeley [sic] comes back on Tuesday the 10th. Well I have made up my mind to not stay when he returns. I am quite sure I would only get into trouble and would never feel easy under his command knowing he is not to be trusted. He is the kind of man who pats you on the back and at the same time knifes you. I want nothing to do with him. I have discovered him now in several lies not only about me but about other people. I have applied to return to England at the same time if humanly possible. I am going to make every effort to secure another place in France.

(L. H. Beer, Diary, 8 July 1917)

Lewis Herbert Beer was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on 12 December 1873. He was a member of Loyal Orange Lodge No. 614, worked in insurance and belonged to the 36th P.E.I. Light Horse. In October 1914, Beer joined Lord Strathcona’s Horse as a lieutenant. He served in England and France until 29 December 1915 when he returned to Canada in order to raise the 140th Battalion from New Brunswick.

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The Ringleader

Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionMcAvity

“Actual demonstration of the wonderful ability of the Overland cars in the rear of the trenches of the allied nations caused me to buy an Overland.” said Colonel McAvity, 26th Battalion, St. John, N.B., Just after one of the new Overland models was delivered to him by J. A. Pugnley, Overland dealer at St. John. Colonel McAvity recently returned home on a short furlough, and in order to get the most out of his, brief leave of absence purchased a motor car.

(Ottawa Journal, 26 August 1916, 13)

James Lupton McAvity was born on 8 October 1867 in Saint John, New Brunswick. He began his career with the family manufacturing business, T. McAvity & Sons Ltd. in the mid-1880s. His position as a company manager and representative took him to western Canada, Chicago and New York. During the gold rush of 1897, he traveled to Alaska and the Yukon in search of his fortune.

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