Lt. Col. W.H. Bell

Lieutenant Colonel Walker Bell, D.S.O.
3rd (Light) Tank Battalion

Bvt. Lt.-Colonel W.H. Bell is an able officer of sound judgement with decided personality and character. His knowledge of the application of tactical principles is sound as also are his views on matters connected with the training and administration of a Cavalry Regiment. In my opinion he is up to the standard of officers attending this school.

(Senior Officer School confidential report, 16 Aug 1924)

Walker Hardenbrook Bell was a Boer War veteran and Permanent Force member since 1906 when he was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Dragoons. He was born in St. John, New Brunswick on 28 December 1881. He served as second-in-command of the R.C.D. from July 1916 until January 1918, when he transferred to the British Army Tank Corps. His war service anticipated the eventual replacement of traditional cavalry with modern armour.

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The Blue Bomber

Lieutenant Colonel R.L. Denison
1st Canadian Tank Battalion

He is very weak & debilitated. He suffers from insomnia & shock. The Board is of opinion that he will not be fit for any Service at home or even light-duty for nine months, & as he is a native of Canada he should be permitted to proceed home. He has also six bullet wounds in the left leg and four in the right

(Proceedings of Medical Board, 22 May 1915)

Born on 23 March 1889 in Minnedosa, Manitoba, Richard Lippincott Denison was a Winnipeg insurance manager and sportsman when commissioned as a lieutenant with the 8th Battalion in August 1914. He was put out of action when badly shot up and concussed in France in May 1915. Suffering from multiple bullet and shrapnel wounds as well as likely shell shock, he was found unfit for any duty and returned home. Six months later he enlisted as a major with the 90th Battalion.

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Lt. Col. Mills

Lieutenant Colonel J.E. Mills, D.S.O.
1st Canadian Tank Battalion

It was while on this reorganization work that our O.C. conceived the idea of the Canadian Tank Corps. He is the father of the First Canadian Tank Battalion, and had it not been for the sudden cessation of hostilities, his claim that Canada could distinguish itself in the tank-field would have been justified.

(The Tank Tatler, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1919, 4)

By the end of the Great War, John Edgar Mills had been an artilleryman, staff officer, air force observer, gunnery school commandant, and tank battalion commander. He was born in Brantford, Ontario on 3 November 1878. Commissioned with the Permanent Force since 1903, he was an expert in artillery and chief gunnery instructor with the First Contingent. He served on the staff of the 1st Division and was attached to the Royal Flying Corps before transferring to the Royal Field Artillery as part of the Gallipoli campaign.

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Lt. Gen. Turner

Lieutenant General Richard Turner, V.C.
2nd Canadian Division

We are all very tired from days and nights of endless strain – with no sleep. I had men killed by enemy fire actually at the door of the house where my H.Q.’s was-to get to the Signal Dug Out-we knocked a hole in one side of the house, as it was too dangerous to pass outside.

  (Gen. Turner diary, 3 May 1915)

On 7 November 1900, Richard Ernest William Turner drove off an attack by Boer fighters near the Komati River. For his gallantry that day he was one of three Canadians to earn the Victoria Cross. Born in Quebec on 25 July 1871, Turner was the son of a Quebec politician and businessman. After his return from South Africa, Turner remained active in the Canadian militia until moving to the reserve list in 1912. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was recalled to service and appointed brigadier general.

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The Swede

Lieutenant Colonel Harry F. Meurling, M.C.
2nd Motor Machine Gun Brigade

I was in command of the 2nd M.M.G. Bge. at the time, and I had as 2ic a man by the name of Mureling [sic], he was not a Canadian, and spoke very broken English, which was very hard to understand, and he was a most objectionable fellow indeed, how ever he got where he was is more than I can tell.

(Col. W.J.A. Lalor to Col Snelgrove, 18 Dec 1936)

Harry Frederick Victor Meurling was a Swedish civil engineer born on 23 April 1875. When he enlisted with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles in May 1915 he cited military experience in the Swedish Royal Navy and the Belgian Congo. Of his time serving the notorious central African regime of King Leopold, Meurling stated in 1922: “Many mistakes were made, the blame for which were more rightly laid to human nature than on him in particular, and history, I am sure will only remember him as a man with a great vision and the courage to carry it out.” Continue reading

Lt. Col. Newcomen

Lieutenant Colonel T. Newcomen
Royal Canadian Dragoons

Examination of this officer to-day brings out the facts, that he cannot sleep at nights, that he has violent fits of temper, that he has very great trouble in concentrating his mind on any problems, and that he is restless and irritable. He himself fears that if these symptoms continue and increase their results may be very serious to him.

(Neurological Report on Lt. Col. Newcomen, 22 Sept 1923)

Terence Robert Gleadowe Newcomen was a professional British Army officers born in County Longford, Ireland on 18 November 1883. He had enlisted at seventeen during the Boer War and was commissioned in the 5th Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment in 1901. Posted to Canada on an exchange program to train officers since 1912, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Dragoons in September 1914.

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Maj. Gen. Burstall

Major General Sir Henry Burstall
2nd Canadian Division

General Sir H.E. Burstall who commanded the Canadian artillery in the late war, was reputed to have an iron nerve, and, in action, to have been one of the coolest men in the army. Nothing, it was said of him so quickly aroused his anger as to see a man give way to fear, even momentary fear, and he seldom let such action pass in silence.

 (Vancouver Daily World, 28 Oct 1922, 22)

Born on 26 August 1870 in Sillery, Quebec, Henry Edward Burstall was a graduate of the Royal Military College, Boer War veteran and Permanent Force artillery officer. He commanded the 1st Division Artillery from September 1914 until September 1915 when he was elevated to GOC of the Royal Canadian Artillery Corps. In December 1916, Burstall replaced Major General Richard Turner of the 2nd Canadian Division.

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Lt. Col. Worthington

Lieutenant Colonel E.B. Worthington
17th Reserve Battalion

I do not believe that you could have searched your entire county and selected a better man than Colonel E. B. Worthington. A Sherbrooke boy from A to Z, a man who served his (our) country with dignity and distinction; a soldier who was an honor to the (our) dear old British flag; a man that no one can point their finger of scorn at; a man who will make a politician — No, No, a thousand times No — but a man who will make a statesman, an honorable Christian man who will represent the constituency with dignity.

(Letter to Sherbrooke Daily Record, 28 Oct 1925, 12)

Born on 1 December 1860 in Sherbrooke, Canada East, Edward Bruen Worthington was a notary, municipal official, former mayor of Sherbrooke, and long serving militia officer having first joined as a bugler in 1877. He was former commanding officer of the 53rd Sherbrooke Regiment, organized the 11th Hussars, and commanded the Eastern Townships Mounted Brigade since 1911. In January 1915, he replaced Lieutenant Colonel Struan G. Robertson in command of the 17th (Reserve) Battalion in England.

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Brig. Gen. Smart

Brigadier General C.A. Smart
2nd Mounted Rifles Brigade

Germany waged war with one idea, and that was world domination or disaster. Well, she had achieved the alternative—disaster—and let her pay the price.  

(Smart quoted in Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser, 16 Nov 1918)

Born in Westmount, Quebec on 1 January 1875, Charles Allen Smart was a militia officer, manufacturer, and politician. Commissioned since 1898, he commanded the Eastern Townships Cavalry Brigade and was elected to the legislative assembly as Conservative member for Westmount in 1912. With the formation of the Canadian Mounted Rifles, militia minister Sam Hughes offered Smart the command of the 2nd CMR Brigade in July 1915.

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Lt. Col. Walkem

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh C. Walkem
107th (Timber Wolves) Battalion

He was created a chief of the tribe by the name La-de-see, or Great Warrior. The ceremony took place in the Montreal Curling rink and was largely attended by the Indians as well as by pale faces. A war bonnet was placed on the head of the new chief by Chief Clear Sky. Clear Sky was overseas with about 200 other Indians in the 107th Battalion commanded by Colonel Walkem.

(Kingston Whig-Standard, 17 Jan 1934, 2)

Hugh Crawford Walkem was an insurance broker born in Kingston, Ontario on 19 August 1874. A member of the 5th Highlanders of Canada in Montreal, he enlisted as a captain with Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie’s 42nd Battalion in May 1915. Having distinguishing himself in France, he was attached to the Canadian Training School as an instructor in October 1916.

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