Lt. Col. Rexford

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

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.

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Lt. Col. Paquet

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

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.

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Lt. Col. Dubuc

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


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.

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Lt. Col. Piuze

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

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.

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Maj. Gen. Loomis

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

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.

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Lt. Col. Ritchie

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

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.

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Lt. Col. Frost

Lieutenant Colonel R.W. Frost, D.S.O.
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion

Capt. Frost was twice blown up by shells but remained on duty.

 (14th Bn. War Diary, 3 June 1916)

 Capt. R. W. Frost, for the third time in 24 hours, was blown to the ground by a shell. Too dazed to walk, he was carried to Railway Dugouts, where he recovered and whence, on the following morning, he hastened to duty with the Battalion.

 (R. C. Fetherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment, 14th Battalion, 1927, 87)

Just as the 87th Battalion prepared to deploy to France in summer 1916, Reginald William Frost replaced Lieutenant Colonel I. P. Rexford in command. A native of Norfolk, England, Frost was born on 21 May 1885. He had served seven years with the 66th Princess Louise Fusiliers when he enlisted in the 14th Battalion under the command of Frank Meighen at the outbreak of the war.

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Lt. Col. Alexander

Lieutenant Colonel R.O. Alexander, D.S.O.
24th (Victoria Rifles) Battalion

Born on the island of Ceylon on 7 August 1888, Ronald O’Keden Alexander was a soldier with the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles and the Royal Canadian Regiment. He served with the 24th Battalion and succeeded Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Gunn in command on 1 November 1916.

After one month, Alexander was evacuated from the field with influenza and appendicitis in December 1916. Doctors determined that Alexander “Had long service at Front and requires rest.” He did not resume command of the 24th until after the battle of Vimy Ridge on 14 April 1917. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and three times mentioned in the dispatches. From October 1917 to demobilization, he was attached as a staff officer to the 2nd Canadian Division.

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Lt. Col. Swift

Lieutenant Colonel “Dolly” Swift, D.S.O.
2nd and 259th (Canadian Rifles) Battalions


The Vics took the first three games and looked like certain winners, but Stocking and Watson kept their team together and are mainly responsible for enabling Swift and Scott to tie the score and then get one ahead. Swift rallied his home and made a steady forward rush, when Grant lifted the puck, which struck “Dolly” Swift under the ear and knocked him out. This involved another fifteen minute delay.

(Toronto Globe, 31 Jan 1898, 8)

Albert Edward “Dolly” Swift was a Boer War veteran and professional soldier with twenty-years’ experience in the permanent militia. Born in Quebec City on 30 January 1866, Swift had also been an amateur hockey player in his youth. He played one season with the Montreal Victorias and thirteen with the Quebec Hockey Club during the 1880s and 90s.

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Lt. Col. Bowen

Lieutenant Colonel F.C. Bowen
23rd (Westmount Rifles) Battalion

This officer as a result of damp and exposure in the trenches developed Lumbago. Continued at duty but had to go sick on 6 Nov. 1916. He has still a deal of pain, is sleepless, debilitated and has lost weight.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, 86 Strand, 30 Nov 1916)

Frederick Chamberlain Bowen was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec on 8 July 1876. He had been commanding officer of the 53rd Sherbrooke Rifles and served as second-in-command with Frank William Fisher’s 23rd Battalion. After Fisher joined the 14th Royal Montreal Regiment on the front, Bowen assumed command of the 23rd, which became a reinforcement unit in England.

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