Lt. Col. Pagnuelo

Lieutenant Colonel Tancrède Pagnuelo
206th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Pagnuelo

I know I deserve to be punished for a breach of discipline, but all I ask from you, gentlemen, is not to be prevented from doing what I wanted to do, namely, going to the Front. If you dismiss me from the service it will be quite impossible for a commanding officer to join the ranks as a private.

(Court martial of Lt. Col. Pagnuelo, Dec 1916)

Born in 1870, Tancrède Pagnuelo was a Montreal barrister and Conservative Party activist. He had unsuccessfully contested the riding of St. James in the 1900 federal election. A reserve officer with the 85th Regiment, Pagnuelo was appointed to raise the 206th Battalion from the districts of Beauharnois, Laprairie and Terrebonne in early 1916. He would prove to be one of the more unfortunate choices.

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Lt. Col. Cantlie

Lieutenant Colonel G.S. Cantlie, D.S.O.
42nd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
Cantile

Col Cantlie, long before he died, had become a living tradition. Not only was the past in him made real; the values of life, which the past enhances for the sake of the future, found in him their gracious embodiment.

(Montreal Gazette, 31 Aug 1956, 8)

A native of Montreal, George Stephen Cantlie was born on 2 May 1867. He was gentleman militia officer with the Royal Highlanders of Canada (The Black Watch) since 1885. He was commanding officer of the regiment during the Quebec Tercentenary of 1908. He commanded the 42nd Battalion in France as part of 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division.

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Lt. Col. Bickerdike

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

Bickerdike

But I speak feelingly on this question, as I have a son, two grandsons and seven nephews at the front–that is, I had seven nephews at the front, but two have been killed and two badly wounded.

 (Robert Bickerdike, Sr., House of Commons Debates, 2 May 1917, 1015)

Robert Bickerdike Jr. was a graduate of McGill University and a Montreal civil engineer. Born on 30 September 1869, he was the son of Robert Bickerdike Sr., Liberal MP for St. Lawrence (1900—1917). The elder Bickerdike was a leading philanthropist, humanitarian and outspoken opponent of the death penalty. During the conscription debate of 1917, the elder Bickerdike broke with long-time friend Wilfrid Laurier in support of the Military Service Act.

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Lt. Col. Ewing

Lieutenant Colonel Royal Ewing, D.S.O., M.C.
42nd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) BattalionEwing

They were looked on as a necessary evil. War diaries were presumably for the benefit of historians, if you will, and were prepared as carefully as could be under the circumstances.

 (Ewing’s testimony at Currie Libel Trial, 25 Apr 1928, 1)

 Royal Lindsay Hamilton Ewing enlisted in the 42nd Battalion as a subaltern, rose from platoon leader to adjutant, and returned home as the commanding officer in 1919. Born in Montreal on 12 November 1878, he was a real estate agent and member of the Black Watch regiment. Having served with the 42nd throughout the war, Ewing was twice mentioned in dispatches, received the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, and won the Military Cross.

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Lt. Col. Gunn

Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Gunn, D.S.O.
24th (Victoria Rifles) BattalionGunn

I would like to sound this note of warning. This war has united the soldiers into the most powerful force for good or evil in this country. If we use this force to promote our own selfish purposes we will have forgotten the high ideals for which we fought.

(Gunn, Toronto Globe, 18 Mar 1919, 9)

 A native of Toronto, John Alexander Gunn was born on 5 August 1873.  He had first joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1897 but transferred to the Victoria Rifles when he moved to Montreal in 1901. In October 1914, Gunn was appointed to command the 24th Battalion. At a reception before he departed overseas with his unit, Gunn defended the war as a just cause: “It means the triumph of honor, or of dishonor; the preservation of centuries of progress or a reversion to brutal militarism with its battle cry of iron and blood– in fact the whole future of the human race is at stake.”

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Lt. Col. Perry

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Perry, D.S.O.
13th and 87th BattalionsKPerry

An engineer by profession, he took up his duties as a soldier at the front with courage and enthusiasm, with the result that as the casualties thinned out the ranks of the senior officers he gradually rose, until from a lieutenant he became major and then eventually commanding officer of the 13th…

(Montreal Gazette, 1 Apr 1919, 4)

Kenneth Meikle Perry was born McLeod, Alberta on 7 November 1884. His father, Aylesworth Bowen Perry (1860—1956) was an original graduate of RMC and Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The younger Perry graduated from McGill University, worked in Montreal as a civil engineer and belonged to the Black Watch. He was four times wounded in action and received the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars.

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Lt. Col. Rhoades

Lieutenant Colonel W. Rhoades, D.S.O., M.C.
5th Canadian Mounted Rifles

Rhoades

Up to this time the Colonel’s cheery voice had always been heard, whenever a shell or bomb burst very near, calling “Are you all right. Captain?” — and I would answer, ”Yes, Sir, are you?” I was not badly hurt and called out, “Are you all right. Sir?” Getting no answer, I felt over for the Colonel, and found him lying unconscious, but breathing faintly. I cannot attempt to tell you how we got our dearly loved Commanding Officer out of the fire trench.

(Rhoades to Lt.-Col. Baker’s sister, 4 June 1916)

William Rhoades was a twenty-one year veteran of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Born in Nottingham, England on 15 September 1874, he immigrated to western Canada in 1893. He served with the Yukon Field Force during the Klondike gold rush and fought in the Boer War. On the formation of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915, Rhoades enlisted at the rank of captain.

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Lt. Col. Blondin

Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Blondin, M.P.
258th (Canadien-Français) BattalionBlondin

Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I cannot give him a better answer than this: Mr. Blondin took off his coat—

Sir Sam Hughes: Pardon me, Colonel Blondin.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I stand corrected. There are so many colonels in this country that I had forgotten one. I am blessed with a pretty good memory, but there is a limit even to counting, and I do not know whether the ex-minister himself knows how many honorary colonels he has appointed. But let that pass.

 (Debates, 18 June 1917, 2400)

Pierre Édouard Blondin was Conservative MP for Champlain and prominent French-Canadian minister in the Borden Cabinet. He was born on 14 December 1874 in St-François du Lac, Quebec. First elected to parliament in 1908, he became Minster of Revenue in 1914 and Secretary of State in 1915 before being appointed Postmaster General.

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Lt. Col. Sinclair

Major Ian Sinclair, D.S.O., M.C.
13th (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalions

Sinclair

I thought my nerves might give if I ever ran into an affair of that sort, but something seemed to change in me and I saw without any particular sensation things happen, which in my previous state of mind would have driven me mad. One of my men actually did go crazy this morning after we got out. Every battalion in the division suffered about as much and the whole is pretty wrecked.

(Sinclair, 13th Bn., to Mother, 28 Apr 1915)

Ian MacIntosh Roe Sinclair sailed for England as a subaltern with the 13th Battalion in October 1914. Over four years later, he returned to Canada at the head of the battalion. Though wounded in the fighting at the second battle of Ypres, he was promoted to company commander. After Lieutenant Colonel Eric McCuaig was elevated to the 12th Brigade on 14 September 1918, Sinclair became temporary commanding officer.

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Lt. Col. DesRosiers

Lieutenant Colonel H. J. M. R. DesRosiers
163rd (Canadien-Français) and 22nd Battalionsdesrosiers

I do not believe a more competent O.C. than Lieutenant Colonel DesRosiers could be found in the C.E.F. The breaking up of the battalion would demoralize us. If allowed to go to the front as a unit, we will try our best to be a source of pride to our race and credit to Canada.

(Maj. Asselin to Arthur Mignault, Nov 1916)

Henri Joseph Marie Romeo DesRosiers was born in Vaudreuil, Quebec on 11 July 1880. A prewar member of the 65th Regiment, DesRosiers enlisted with the 14th Battalion in August 1914. A veteran of Second Ypres, DesRosiers was recalled to Canada in early 1916 to take command of a new French-Canadian battalion.

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