The Athlete

Lieutenant Colonel C. W. MacLean
207th (MacLean’s Athletes) Battalion

We are about to enter into that phase of our career for which we were organized. Our next step takes us overseas where we shall await the call that sends us to the front. When the call comes—it will find us ready and eager, and fit—due to the hard work and enthusiasm of every member of the Battalion.

(MacLean, The Whiz Bang, 18 Nov 1916, No. 20, 1)

Born in Lachine, Quebec on 18 November 1876, Charles Wesley MacLean was a farmer in Pointe Claire and mayor of Brockville. A member of the 13th Scottish Light Dragoons, he first raised the 2nd Reserve Park, C.A.S.C., which he took to England in May 1915. After returning back to Canada, in February 1916 he was authorized to organize the 207th Battalion from Ottawa-Carleton. A noted athlete, football player, swimmer and champion oarsman before the war, MacLean encouraged sports and competition for the 207th.

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The Flax Seeder

Lieutenant Colonel E. R. Wayland
44th (Manitoba) BattalionWayland

The evening was spent in many handshakings, as old comradeships were renewed. Many an Incident of the war days was told, as the sight of the familiar faces brought back vivid memories, some joyful, others sad. A large number of members of the association turned out to see again the man who had guided their destinies in France.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 26 September 1931, 3)

Born on 23 March 1869 in London, England, Edward Robert Wayland was an Ontario grain exporter and nine-year member of the 96th Regiment. In October 1914, he led a detachment of troops from Fort William and Port Arthur to Winnipeg, where he was appointed to command the 44th Battalion. The 44th sailed for England in October 1915 and deployed to France in August 1916 as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division.

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The Brother

Brigadier General W. St. P. Hughes, D.S.O.
21st (Eastern Ontario) BattalionWSHughes

It was such fighting ability that enabled my 21st Battalion to come home with the record of never having been given a black eye in over four years of active participation in the war. They never went after anything they did not take, and they never gave up anything they captured. Of the original 1058, less than 150 are now alive, most of them buried in Flanders’s Fields and in the Somme.

(W. Hughes, “An Appreciation,” in H. W. McBride, A Rifleman Went to War, 1935)

William St. Pierre Hughes was Inspector of Penitentiaries and commanding officer of 14th The Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles. Born on 2 June 1864 in Darlington Township, Canada West, he was also the younger brother of Sir Sam, MP for Victoria and Minister of Militia. In November 1914, Hughes, a veteran of the Northwest Rebellion with over thirty years’ experience in the militia, took command of the 21st Battalion, based in Kingston.

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The Sure Shot

Lieutenant Colonel Archie Hay †
52nd (New Ontario) BattalionHay

It is with the deepest regret that the Battalion chronicles the disappearance of its Colonel, Lieut. Col. Hay, on this date.

(52nd Bn. War Diary, 3 June 1916, 7)

Born on 8 November 1873 in Quebec City, Archibald Walter Hay was a militia officer with the 8th Royal Rifles and noted marksman. During the 1912 Governor General’s prize shooting match organized by the Dominion Rifle association, Hay scored twenty-one consecutive bullseyes.

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The Kiltie

Lieutenant Colonel W. L. McGregor
241st (Canadian Scottish Borderers) BattalionMcGregor

Your colonel is peculiarly fitted by temperament, training and tradition
to lead a “kilted” battalion to victory. In his veins there flows the blood of that ancient clan whose proud boast it was “that despite their enemies, the McGregors should flourish forever.” In him we have combined the indomitable spirit of the Scottish Highlander, the bulldog tenacity of the English, and the resourcefulness and initiative of the Canadian. He will lead you to victory. Stand by him like a “stone wall” in the days to come.

(W. T. Gregory, “Farewell to the Kilties,” 1917, 10)

The son of Liberal MP and prominent businessman William McGregor (1836—1903), Walter Leishman McGregor was born 30 April 1875 in Windsor, Ontario. In 1904, Walter had supported his older brother Gordon (1873—1922) in forming a partnership with Henry Ford and creating the Ford Motor Company of Canada.

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The Unsinkable

Major Charles A. Low
146th (Frontenac County) BattalionLow

Everybody aboard was preparing to leave the ship and glad that the journey was over, as the constant rumors of submarines and the nervous strain which is associated with same is not conductive to comfortable feelings.

At exactly 10.51, while in my cabin, the ship was hit on the starboard side, at the after well deck, close to the engine rooms. I was thrown across the cabin; there was no mistaking what had happened…

(Low to Kemp, 27 Mar 1918)

A native of Kingston, Ontario, Charles Adamson Low was born on 26 November 1874. A fourteen-year member of the 14th Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles, Low enlisted as junior major in Lieutenant Colonel W. G. Ketcheson’s 80th Battalion. In November 1915, he was authorized to raise the 146th Battalion from Frontenac County.

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The Husband

Lieutenant Colonel L. H. Millen, D.S.O.
19th (Central Ontario) BattalionMillen

There are a good many returned soldiers going about with a notion that because they have been at the war, Canada therefore owes them a living. I want to tell everyone of you that has come back here well and sound, that Canada does not owe you any living.

(Millen, Farewell address, Toronto Star, 26 May 1919, 4)

Lionel Herbert Millen replaced Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Turnbull in command of the 19th Battalion on 30 December 1916. He was born in London, England on 10 March 1876. A resident of Hamilton, he was a senior officer with the 91st Highlander Regiment, commanded by John Inglis McLaren. In November 1914, Millen enlisted as junior major with McLaren’s 19th Battalion. He married Edith Morgan Hubbell several weeks later on 7 January 1915.

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The Benefactor

Lieutenant Colonel W. E. S. Knowles
129th (Wentworth) BattalionKnowles

I am afraid there are some of your letters unanswered, but we are having some of the longest days that the militia have ever been called on to perform. The old time camp of instruction was like a Sunday school picnic by comparison.

(Maj. Kemmis to Knowles, 12 Sept 1914)

William Edward Sheridan Knowles was a barrister, former mayor of Dundas (1894—1895) and commanding officer of the 77th Regiment. He was born in Wentworth County, Canada West on 3 October 1862. In December 1915, he was authorized to raise the 129th Battalion from his home region. Continue reading

The Brockvillian

Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Buell
3rd and 36th Battalions Buell

This officer was wounded on April 23rd near Ypres as described in A.F.A.45 of the 27th Aug’15. He now has very free movement at the shoulder, and has no pain and has considerable strength in the arm. His nervous condition, however, is not yet normal and this board recommends another month’s leave from this date.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, London, 11 Jan 1916)

Born on 11 October 1868 in Brockville, Ontario, William Senkler Buell descended from one of the oldest Loyalist families in Ontario. His ancestors had fought for the British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. He followed his grandfather and father in politics and military affairs, becoming mayor of Brockville in 1900, president of the Liberal Association and commanding officer of the 41st Regiment in 1910. In August 1914, he helped to organize the 4th Battalion and was appointed second-in-command.

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The Gardener

Lieutenant Colonel R. T. Pritchard
153rd (Wellington) BattalionPritchard

Colonel Pritchard was one of Canada’s unwanted senior officers. He had given up his business, left his home in Ontario, raised a battalion of friends and neighbours, trained them to the best of his ability and knowledge, and taken them to where they could smell gunpowder. Then he was told he could go home, he was no longer wanted. What would they call him at home?

(Col. J. M. Hughes, The Unwanted, 1956)

Born on 9 February 1868 in Nichol Township, Ontario, Robert Thomas Pritchard was a farmer in Wellington County and member of the 30th Regiment since 1893. In March 1916, he transferred from the 111th Battalion to take command of the newly authorized 153rd. After arriving in England in May 1917, the battalion was broken up and Pritchard was deemed surplus to requirements.

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