Lt. Col. Rowland

Lieutenant Colonel T.P.T. Rowland
119th (Algoma) Battalion

After the war is over you will be only two or three years older than you are today. The Boys will know that You will be surrounded by those who enlisted, and fought, and returned. They will want to know what you did. What will be your answer? And what, your answer in the long years to come? And to your children, and their children?

(Rowland, Recruiting Letter, 24 Feb 1916)

Thomas Percival Turton Rowland was born on 10 April 1875 in Niagara-on-the-lake. He was a lawyer in Sault Ste.  Marie with seven years in the Queen’s Own Rifles and two years in the 51st Soo Regiment. Beginning in November 1915, he organized the 119th Battalion from Algoma and Manitoulin Island. The unit provided reinforcement drafts in England from August 1916 until it was absorbed by the 8th Reserve Battalion in April 1918.

Rowland reverted to the rank of major and joined the 58th Battalion on the front. He returned to Canada in July 1919 after demobilization.

He died on 30 December 1952.

Maj. Hatch

Major Harry Hatch, D.S.O.
19th (Central Ontario) Battalion

Major Hatch has never once been known to show the slightest concern for shells or bullets. He seems almost to have possessed a charmed life, for he would spend hours walking around the front line in any sector…

(Toronto Star, 22 May 1919, 8)

A native of Toronto, Harry Cecil Hatch was born on 5 September 1891. His father, Colonel Arthur Hatch was a leading industrialist in Hamilton and president of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association. The younger Hatch was graduate from Queen’s University and enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel 19th Battalion.

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Maj. Elmitt

Major Thomas Elmitt, D.S.O.
21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion


From the “jumping-off” place to the refinery was one thousand yards and as it was known to be strongly held, this together with the distance of the advance, severe casualties were expected and although the battalion suffered heavily they were quite successful in attaining their objective.

(Elmitt to Ottawa Citizen, 2 Jan 1917, 2)

Born in Ottawa on 24 January 1871, Thomas Francis Elmitt was a lumber merchant with fifteen years’ experience in the 43rd Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles Regiment. He enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel W. St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in November 1914 and was promoted to major in February 1915. Elmitt assumed temporary command of the battalion from 7 May until 6 July 1917.

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Lt. Col. Pense

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Pense, D.S.O., M.C.
21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion


For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his company in the attack with great courage and determination, and although wounded, by personal coolness and example assisted in the success of the operation.

(Pense, Military Cross, Citation, 14 Nov 1916)

Henry Edward Pense was born in Kingston, Ontario on 2 August 1889. An eight-year member of the 14th Princess of Wales’s Own Rifles Regiment, he enlisted as a subaltern with Lieutenant Colonel W. St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in November 1914. He was promoted to command “A” company after the battle of St. Eloi Craters in April 1916.

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Lt. Col. Green

Lieutenant Colonel W.J. Green
91st (Elgin) Battalion

We learned that the possibility of out going to France intact was remote. It appeared that the C.O. with the most pull with old Sir Sam Hughes had the best chance to keep his command and as our C.O., Col. Green, was never given to cringing and kow-towing to the war time brass hats, he, of course, was not one of the favored ones.

 (Harold Becker, 91st Bn., Memoirs, 161)

William James Green was a Boer War veteran and member of the 25th Regiment since 1893. He was born in St. Thomas, Ontario on 8 October 1875. In December 1915, Green was authorized to raise the 91st Battalion based in his hometown and raised from Elgin county.

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Lt. Col. Moodie

Lieutenant Colonel R.R. Moodie
205th (Hamilton Tigers) Battalion

He is suffering from neurasthenia with insomnia, loss of appetite, general debility, severe headaches, nervous chills and constant pain in temporal region and back of neck. Mental concentration is impossible, and he is easily worried over trifles.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, 3 Sept 1916)

Born in Hamilton, Ontario on 6 August 1884, Robert Roy Moodie was a knitting manufacturer, prominent sportsman and president of the city’s Tiger Football club. A member of the 91st militia and the Canadian Field Artillery, Moodie first joined Lt. Col. W.W. Stewart’s 86th Machine Gun Battalion at the rank of major in October 1915. By early 1916, he had received authorization to raise a sportsmen’s battalion from Hamilton, the 205th Tigers, which took its nickname from the city’s sports team.

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Lt. Col. Ketcheson

Lieutenant Colonel W.G. Ketcheson
80th (Hastings) Battalion

While not possessed of a very high academic education, Lieut. Col. Ketcheson has the qualities most essential in a Commanding Officer, i.e. – the ability to handle men and a strong personality.

 (80th Bn. inspection report, 1916)

Born on 29 March 1862 in Hastings County, Canada West, William Gilbert Ketcheson was a member of an old United Empire Loyalist family. His ancestor, Colonel William Ketcheson (1759—1848) had immigrated to Hastings County after the American Revolution and later served in the War of 1812. With 8 children, 71 grandchildren and 59 great-grandchildren, many of his descendants assumed prominent positions in the county.

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Lt. Col. Pelly

Lieutenant Colonel Raymond T. Pelly
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

Pelly always was a nervous temperament and the trenches came harder on him than on some others but you are quite wrong in imagining he is not full of courage for I know him to be. And at Frise when H.Q. was shelled he absolutely refused to go into the cellars until the last servant had taken to his hiding place.

(Agar Adamson to wife, 2 Jan 1916)

Raymond Theodore Pelly was born on 30 July 1881 in Woodford England. He served with the Royal North Lancashire Regiment from 1900 to 1914. As a member of the Governor General of Canada’s staff, in August 1914, he enlisted as a major with PPCLI under Colonel Farquhar.

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Lt. Col. Smart

Lieutenant Colonel R.W. Smart
136th (Durham) Battalion

In a recent letter to this office from an old Durhamite, now living in Western Ontario, this reference is made to Col. Smart: “Tell the young men what a privilege it will be to serve under him and say that for the honor of the old loyal country every man much do his duty.

(Canadian Statesman, 2 Dec 1915, 1)

Robert Wallace Smart was a third generation military officer and thirty-three year member of the 46th Regiment. Robert Smart was born on 3 December 1864 in Port Hope, Canada West. During the 1885 Rebellion, the twenty-year-old Smart volunteered with Colonel A. T. H. Williams’ Midland Battalion. His grandfather, David Smart had raised a cavalry troop to help put down the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Combe

Lieutenant Colonel Barry Combe
161st (Huron) Battalion

Had an attack of acute gastritis Aug 1917. Began to feel somewhat run down then and to lose weight.

He is slightly pale and his muscles show wasting—weight 160 lbs. He states that this is a loss of 20 lbs. He complains of being very easily tired, then he feels slightly dizzy.

(Medical Board, 11 Oct 1918)

Hugh Barry Combe was born on 23 September 1864 in Clinton, Canada West. He enlisted as a bugler in the 33rd Huron Regiment as a boy and rose to become the commanding militia officer. In December 1915, he offered to raise a battalion from his home county. The farmer families of the rural area were unreceptive to patriotic pleas, however, and largely unwilling to allow their sons to enlist.

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