Lieutenant Colonel R.P. Laurie
232nd (Saskatchewan Tigers) Battalion
Nothing except physical misfortune could prevent Mr. Laurie from taking a foremost place among the journalist of the west, for his ability is undoubted and he possess that indomitable courage which has characterized so many of the journalists of the west, and has played such a large part in the upbuilding of this boundless country.
(Treherne Times, 1 Feb 1907, 7)
Born on 3 June 1873, in Barrie, Ontario, Reginald Peter Laurie was a Saskatchewan newspaper publisher and postmaster for Prince Albert. As a boy, Laurie had been an apprentice printer and made a career in journalism. He became editor of the Fort Frances Times and Virden Advance before moving west to be part-owner of the Prince Albert Times in 1905. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel George C. Hodson, D.S.O.
1st (Western Ontario) Battalion
I have perhaps foolishly put my Country and the Cause before my personal interests in the past but my patience is now absolutely exhausted and I am out to get justice, one way or the other. I have already lost all a soldier can lose and that is ‘his reputation as a fighting soldier’ … All I have asked is to be returned to the front with my rank or else given a decent appointment in England or Canada with some promotion.
(G.C. Hodson to Gen. Ashton, 20 Apr 1918)
After the death of Lieutenant Colonel Frank A. Creighton on 15 June 1916 during the battle of Mont Sorrel, the 1st Battalion was left leaderless and disorganized. Unable to find a suitable replacement from within the battalion or from another frontline unit, Major-General Arthur Currie needed to look to a surplus senior officer in England. He found George Cuthbert Bethune Hodson, former commander of the 9th CMR, which had been broken up some months earlier.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilton Yates
2nd (Iron Second) Battalion
When he was badly wounded in World War I, he was the first to have successful plastic surgery on his face. It was very noticeable of course when he returned to Swift Current. At one time, as he himself relates, he was consigned to an insane asylum “but never reached it owing to my own machinations.” When wounded he was put in the morgue as dead; was saved by a nurse’s aide and given six months to live.
(Jim Greenblat, Those Were the Days in Swift Current, 1971, 32)
A native of England, Wilton Milwarde Yates was born on 17 October 1879. After being wounded in the Boer War, he immigrated to Canada and became a rancher at Swift Current. He enlisted in Lieutenant Colonel Harry Cowan’s 32nd Battalion in December 1914 and was attached to the 2nd Battalion once overseas.
Lieutenant Colonel W.O. Smyth
209th (Swift Current) Battalion
His Honor Judge Smyth, is, and apparently has been for some time, absent from his judicial duties without leave, and it would appear from the correspondence before me that he is acting as Commanding Officer of the 209th Overseas Battalion.
(Deputy Minister of Justice, 17 Nov 1916)
William Oswald Smyth was a district court judge based in Swift Current and major in the 27th Light Horse Regiment. He was born in Toronto on 4 October 1873 and practiced law in Montreal before moving west. Although “anxious to go to the war,” Smyth was initially denied the opportunity to enlist. Justice Minister Doherty explained, “it did not appear necessary that the judges should be permitted to abandon their judicial duties for the purpose of undertaking military service.” Undeterred, Judge Smyth took command of the 209th Battalion and went overseas anyway.
Major George Bond, D.S.O., M.C.
28th (Northwest) Battalion
… he went forward under heavy fire to his most forward troops and made a personal reconnaissance of the situation, afterwards establishing a line from which the village was captured next day. Throughout the operations his work was excellent. (Bond, D.S.O. Citation, 19 Oct 1919, 3202)
Born on 14 November 1889 in Wappella, Saskatchewan, George Frederick Daniels Bond moved to Winnipeg in 1905 and later attended the University of Manitoba Law School. He interrupted his studies to volunteered with Lieutenant Colonel F. J. Clarke’s 45th Battalion in August 1915.
Lieutenant Colonel H. J. Dawson, D.S.O.
59th (Eastern Ontario) & 46th (South Saskatchewan) Battalions
He was a Soldier! During its fighting history, he was in command of the 46th Bn., and no battalion ever went into action more confident that everything that could be foreseen had been provided for. Consequently, he was respected, trusted and obeyed and the proud record of the fighting battalion which he commanded stands as evidence of the sterling qualities of our CO.
It was not given to many who served under Col. Dawson to know the kindly, shy heart of the man, who concealed his sympathy under the mask of a stern discipline.
(46th Battalion CEF – Year Book, 1926, 3)
Herbert John Dawson was an associate professor at the Royal Military College with fourteen-years of service in the 14th (The Princess of Wales’ Own Rifles) Regiment. He was born in Birkenhead, England on 21 November 1876. In April 1915, Dawson began to organize the 59th Battalion from Eastern Ontario and Hull, Quebec.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Glenn
96th (Canadian Highlanders) Battalion
Lieut. Col. Glenn, the Officer Commanding, is an officer of some years experience in Mounted Infy. He is not an efficient officer but has done good service in recruiting the Battalion, and desires the honour of taking his Battalion across seas.
(Gen. John Hughes, 19 Sept 1916)
Joseph Glenn was the Conservative member for South Qu’Appelle in the Saskatchewan legislature from 1912 to 1921. Born on 29 August 1860 in Owen Sound, Canada West, he moved to the North West Territories during the early 1880s. Settling in Indian Head, he built a farm, imported horses, worked in the lumber trade, acted as the local mail carrier and operated a grain elevator. During the 1885 Rebellion, he volunteered as a dispatch rider for General Middleton and Major Sam Steele.
Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Seaborn
210th (Frontiersmen) Battalion
While from the nature of the case the fact is difficult to prove, this man Seaborn is also by common reputation at Camp Hughes, and even among the Headquarters Staff at Camp Hughes, known to be a sexual pervert (Sadist), which in itself constitutes every reason why he should not be permitted to retain an important military appointment and remain in command of men.
(Maj. Erskine-Tulloch to Borden 26 Dec 1916)
Born on 25 January 1880 in London, Ontario, Walter Ernest Seaborn was a Saskatchewan barrister and insurance broker. He also had the distinction of owning the first automobile in Moose Jaw in 1906. He originally enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel Francis Pawlett’s 128th Battalion before transferring to command the 210th in March 1916.
Major J. H. Sills
44th (South Saskatchewan) Battalion
The Officer Commanding the 44th Battalion who was in England undergoing treatment for a damaged shoulder and his Second-in-command had each been adversely reported on by me, and I had placed Major Sills, a Graduate of the Royal Military College, Canada and who had 16 months experience in France and whom I knew to be a most efficient Officer and capable business man in Command of the Battalion.
(Gen. W. Hughes to Gen. Turner, 20 Mar 1917)
John Hamilton Sills was a civil engineer, militiaman and graduate of the Royal Military College. A descendant of United Empire Loyalists he was born in Frankford, Ontario on 1 May 1882. Sills enlisted with William St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in April 1915 and was promoted to July in August 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davidson Pickett
229th (South Saskatchewan) Battalion
I had our farewell address from Col. Pickett and our lecture from our new Colonel Colonel McKay. He seems a pretty good head too. There was no love lost on Colonel Pickett.
(W. M. Dennis, 229th Bn. to fiancé, 20 May 1917)
A descendant of a United Empire Loyalist family, Henry Davidson Pickett was born on 6 December 1876 in Kingston, New Brunswick. In 1903, shortly after graduating with a law degree from the University of King’s College, Pickett moved in the Northwest Territories, where he established a legal practice at Moose Jaw.