Maj. Dupuis

Major G.E.A. Dupuis
22nd (French Canadian) Battalion

Dupuis

All our senior officers have been hit with the exception of Major Dupuis who seems to stick on through everything. The old battalion will no longer be recognizable.

(Maj. Georges Vanier, 8 Sept)

George Elzer Alexandre Dupuis was a bank clerk born in Quebec City on 31 October 1888. He enlisted with the 57th Battalion on 18 August 1915 before transferring to the 41st in October when he departed for England. As a reinforcement lieutenant he joined the 22nd Battalion in France on 1 July 1916.

Continue reading

Col. Landry

Colonel Joseph Philippe Landry
2nd Training Brigade

Landry

Hon. Mr. W.H. SHARPE: May I ask the honourable gentleman a question?

Hon. Mr. LANDRY: Certainly.

Hon. Mr. SHARPE: At the present time the honourable gentleman’s own son is at the front fighting the battles of Canada and the Empire. I would like to ask him how he is going to meet that son when he returns to Canada?

Hon. Mr. LANDRY: That is a question of sentiment, not one of reason. My son has his ideas and I have mine.

(Senate Debates, 3 Aug 1917, 424)

Joseph Philippe Landry was son of Conservative Senator Auguste Charles Philippe Robert Landry (1846—1919), a strong francophone advocate and opponent of conscription. The younger Landry was born on 27 June 1870 in St. Pierre, Quebec. At the age of thirteen, he joined his father’s 61st (Montmagny) Rifles as a bugler. He became commanding officer of the 61st in 1901. In May 1915, Landry took command of the 5th Infantry Brigade in the CEF, but was replaced before it deployment to the field.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Lavergne

Lieutenant Colonel Armand Lavergne
61st (Montmagny) Rifles
Lavergne

As you already know, I am and have always been opposed to Canada taking part in the wars of the empire. I cannot assume the responsibility of asking Canadians to take part in a war that is not for the defense of Canada…

 Let me repeat that I consider it unwise and more than criminal to place Canada in danger from a war in which we have not had, have not and will have any control…

 (Lavergne to Sam Hughes, 6 November 1915)

Armand Lavergne had been Liberal MP for Montmagny (1904—1908) and, early in his political career, was a follower of Wilfrid Laurier. Born on 21 February 1880 in Arthabaska, Quebec, he was also rumored to be Laurier’s illegitimate son. In 1907, Lavergne broke with the Liberal Prime Minister and was expelled from the party caucus. A passionate defender of French language rights, he became lieutenant to Nationalist leader Henri Bourassa. From 1908 to 1916, Lavergne sat as a Ligue nationaliste canadienne member for Montmagny in the Quebec legislature.

Despite his Nationalist ties, Lavergne was active in the militia and a strong advocate of home defence. When the First World War broke out, he was the commanding officer of 61st  (Montmagny) Rifles. In 1915, Militia Minister Sam Hughes offered a commission in the CEF to command a French Canadian battalion but Lavergne steadfastly refused out of principle. He nevertheless conceded that as a solider he would obey his superior’s orders if compelled to fight. However, Hughes respected his friend’s conviction and even defended him in parliament.

Continue reading

Col. J.B. White

Colonel J.B. White
242nd (Foresters) Battalion
JBWhite

He came to me and told me he would guarantee to raise me a French Canadian battalion inside of two weeks. I said “God bless you my boy, go ahead, I will give you every help I can.” But I never dreamt he would get them.

 Inside of two weeks Colonel White came to me and said: “The jig is up; we cannot raise the men.”

 (Hughes, Debates, 5 Apr 1918, 411)

John Burton White was a lumberman and sawmill manager in the Ottawa Valley. He was born on 1 January 1874 in Aylmer Road, Quebec. A senior officer with the 17th Hussars, he enlisted as a major with Alexander McDougall’s 224th Battalion in April 1916. He left with the forestry unit for England but was recalled home two months later to raise a new lumber battalion from Quebec.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Rexford

Lieutenant Colonel I.P. Rexford
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion
Rexford

As a Rotarian who has held for the last 35 years the classification of “corporate executor” in the Rotary Club of Montreal, I was horrified to read in an article in THE ROTARIAN for October a recommendation by the author that a person should designate his wife as sole executrix to avoid the coast of a bond and “keep the commission in the family.”

 Surely the author must know of the many tragedies which have followed where a man has named his wife as sole executrix, a person usually entirely without experience in administrating an estate and managing investments.

 (Rexford, “Re: Making a Will”, The Rotarian, Jan 1950, 55)

Born on 14 September 1884 in Quebec, Irving Putnam Rexford was a Royal Trust Company manager and member of the Rotary Club with ten years’ experience in the Canadian Grenadier Guards. In September 1915, he joined the 87th Battalion organized by Colonel Frank Meighen.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Paquet

Lieutenant Colonel E.T. Paquet
57th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Paquet

I wish every young man in Montreal would follow the example of the Highland Cadets, and occasionally, at the close of their day’s work put on uniforms, as you boys do and come down to train for work as real soldiers of the King instead of idling away their time on the streets as I see so many doing.

 (Paquet speech to Cadets, Montreal Gazette, 20 May 1915, 5)

Born on 2 January 1883 in Quebec City, Etienne Theodore Paquet was a member of an old, influential Quebec family and the son of a prominent Conservative politician of the same name. The younger Paquet was an official in the federal postmaster general’s office, a barrister and Inspector of Cadets for the province of Quebec. He was also a member of 17th Regiment for fifteen years before the Great War.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Dubuc

Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Dubuc, D.S.O.
22nd (French Canadian) Battalion

Dubuc

Let me start with the bad news: Major Dubuc was wounded again today by the explosion of a rifle grenade … The major bled profusely, which I think is a very good sign but did not lose consciousness. In fact he even retained his usual good humour … The Major has had wonderful luck in each of his misfortunes. To be wounded twice in the head and to come through is simply marvelous.

(Georges Vanier to mother, 15 Jan 1916)

Born on 18 May 1880, in Sherbrooke, Quebec Arthur Édouard Dubuc was a civil engineer in the Department of Public Works. A member of the Corps of Guides since 1908, he enlisted as a captain with the 22nd Battalion in November 1914.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Piuze

Lieutenant Colonel P.A. Piuze
189th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Puize

Don’t you think, Sir, that the fact of leaving my family (I am the father of five children) and position is one sacrifice that should count for something? Furthermore, the sudden disbanding of my Battalion will certainly seriously hurt my reputation not only in the military life but also in the civil.

 (Piuze to George Perley, 16 Nov 1916)

Born on 28 October 1888 in Fraserville, Quebec, Philippe-Auguste Piuze was a militia captain in the 89th Regiment. Commanding officer of 189th Battalion, the twenty-eight year old lieutenant colonel was one of the more successful recruiters in Quebec. “I was anticipating my Battalion to go to the front as a draft, although I was promised it would go as a Unit,” he wrote on arrival in England. Instead, his battalion was taken from him almost immediately after disembarking.

Continue reading

Maj. Gen. Loomis

Major General F.O.W. Loomis
13th (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
Loomis

We have laid the bodies of many of our best under rows of little wooden crosses. We love those comrades who have fallen; we remember their deeds, and recall their deaths with pride and joy, and we know that their souls go marching with us. We know that the spirit of devotion that animated them remains with us, and we feel that the enemy has no battalions, no gas, guns, shells, nor bombs which will dampen or deter this spirit of determination — the Canadian Spirit.

 (Loomis to W. F. Gibson, The Listening Post, 1 Dec 1917, 3)

Frederick Oscar Warren Loomis was a Montreal manufacturer and member of the militia since 1886. He was born in Sherbrook, Quebec on 1 February 1870. As commander of the Royal Highlanders, Loomis led the 13th Battalion to France in February 1915. He guided the Highlanders through the first major action at Second Ypres and was promoted to command the 2nd Brigade in January 1916.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Ritchie

Lieutenant Colonel C.F. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C.
24th (Victoria Rifles) Battalion
Ritchie

His battalion held the front line for nine days under very trying conditions prior to our attack . Several counterattacks were completely repulsed, the enemy suffering heavy casualties, and prisoners were made.

(Ritchie, D.S.O. Citation, 8 Cot 1919, 3203)

Charles Frederick Ritchie was three-time commanding officer of the 24th Battalion during some of the heaviest fighting on the front including Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Hill 70 and the final Hundred Days. Born in Three Rivers, Quebec on 12 October 1888, he was a bank manager and member of the 3rd Victoria Rifles since 1909. He led the 24th from 7 December 1916 to 14 April 1917, 4 August 1917 to 22 January 1918, and 5 September 1918 to demobilization.

Continue reading