Lieutenant Colonel R.C. Le Vesconte
Major W.G. Mitchell
166th (Queen’s Own Rifles) Battalion
Robert Cleugh Le Vesconte was born on 23 March 1861 in Seymour Township, Canada West. He joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1880 and became acting commandant in 1915. A graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall, he founded his own law practice in 1894.
Lieutenant Colonel Le Grande Reed
170th (Mississauga Horse) Battalion
During the last few months the streets of Toronto have been overrun with thousands of untrained men in uniforms accosting with such manner and expressions as have aroused constant indignation. These men perforce of circumstances untutored in their duties, have done their best. I claim that there is not one civilian man in each thousand in Toronto who has not been most strongly and continuously urged to join the colours.
(Reed to Gen. Logie, 26 June 1916)
Days after the declaration of war against Germany, Toronto insurance broker Le Grand Reed joined the 9th Mississauga Horse. He worked through the local recruiting depot until December 1915 when he was authorized to organize the 170th Battalion from the Ontario capital. A native of Toronto, Reed was born on 8 October 1876.
Lieutenant Colonel George T. Chisholm
92nd (48th Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
I might inform you that your department is getting a tremendous let of popular disfavor through not supplying your regiments with actual necessities … Now this all gives the ordinary man on the street the impression that the department is not attending to the business for which it is in existence.
(G.T. Chisholm to Militia Department, 25 Sept 1915)
While fighting at St. Julien during the second battle of Ypres in late April 1915, the 15th Battalion was decimated as hundreds were killed, gassed or taken prisoner. Most of the soldiers had belonged to the Toronto-based 48th Highlanders Regiment. In order to replace the causalities, Toronto militia leaders were authorized to raise two new highlander battalions, the 92nd and 134th. George Thomas Chisholm, a Toronto stockbroker, was appointed commander of the former in August 1915.
Lieutenant Colonel Armour Miller
134th (48th Highlanders of Toronto) Battalion
A reliable and conscientious Officer. He has always been keen and anxious to acquire new ideas. His work here, both theoretical & practical, has shown that he possesses sound military knowledge with the capacity of imparting it to others. He has a cherry disposition.
(Senior Officers School report, 15 Dec 1917)
Along with the 15th and 92nd Battalions, the 134th was the third overseas unit organized by the 48th Highlander Regiment in Toronto. Initiated by Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Donald, the battalion began recruiting in November 1915 to replace the losses suffered by the 15th at St. Julien. Born on 17 December 1869, Donald was a Toronto barrister and commanding officer of the 48th Highlanders. He had served for over twenty-three years in the militia regiment. After Donald stepped down due to illness in July 1916, Armour Adamson Miller assumed command of the 134th.
Lieutenant Colonel A.J. McCausland
… one of the best things which would result from the war would be the associations which had been formed overseas. [McCausland] could not agree with some people who took the view that the men should hustle back into civilian life and forget all.
(Toronto Globe, 27 March 1919, 6)
A Toronto native, Alan Joseph McCausland was born on 9 June 1887. He enlisted as a private in the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1903. At the outbreak of the war in 1914, he was a militia captain with the 36th Peel Regiment. At the age of twenty-eight, he was one of the youngest battalion commanders. He led the 74th overseas in March 1916, but the unit was subsequently broken up in England to provide reinforcements. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel J.F.H. Ussher
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
In view of the foregoing the people who are providing the taxes for this well-deserved bonus to the soldiers should insist that all strings to the payment should be removed. Don’t let some Government appointee be the sole judge– the soldier’s record of service must decide!
(Ussher to Globe and Mail, 18 Aug 1944, 16)
During the battle of Mont Sorrel on 2 June 1916, John Frederick Holmes Ussher became trapped in a collapsed tunnel during heavy German shelling. He was wounded and captured. He spent the next two and a half years a prisoner of war. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Rogers, D.S.O., M.C.
3rd (Toronto Regiment) Battalion
Colonel Rogers, as he then was, hazarded his life on many a field, and if he came through the war without being physically disabled none can say that his sojourn on this earth was not cut short by the sacrifices and hardships which trench warfare entailed. He was always in the front line with regiment, and it can truly be said that he was a leader of men who won a priceless heritage.
(Toronto Globe, 15 Oct 1940, 6)
Joseph Bartlett Rogers was a ten-year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles and an original officer of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rennie’s 3rd Battalion. He was born in Toronto on 3 March 1886. He rose from the rank of lieutenant to command the 3rd Battalion for 25-months on the front between October 1916 and the armistice. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Price, M.P.P.
204th (Beaver) Battalion
It seems to me to be a crying shame that having raised and trained this battalion at a cost of $2000, it should after a year need further training so men taken to reinforce units not from Toronto and its senior officers cast adrift as if they were useless.
(Price to Borden, 4 Apr 1917)
William Herbert Price was an Ontario lawyer and Conservative MPP for Parkdale (1914—1937). He was born in Owen Sound on 25 May 1877. In spring 1916, Price competed with multiple battalions in Toronto to gather volunteers for the 204th. Despite having no militia experience, the popular politician was well positioned to organize the recruitment campaign.
Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Wright
169th (109th Regiment) Battalion
“Vote for King,” shouted a man.
“There is a friend over there that says he is going to vote for Mr. King,” said Col Wright, pointing to a man in the hall. “But one King is enough for Canada. That is his majesty King George and not Mackenzie King who claims his ancestry from a man who was a blooming traitor” and Col. Wright sat down amid a storm of cheers and jeers.
(Toronto Star, 3 Dec 1921, 9)
Born on 9 July 1877 in Collingwood, Ontario, Jesse Green Wright was a Toronto druggist, member of Loyalist Orange Lodge No. 900 and militiaman. He had belonged to the Queen’s Own Rifles and the 12th York Rangers. After outbreak of the Great War, he joined the new 109th Regiment organized by William Thomas Stewart. In January 1916, Wright received authorization to raise the 169th Battalion from Toronto.
Major John P. Girvan
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalion
He personally attacked and captured an enemy machine gun, shooting the gunner and turning the gun on the enemy. He went on and assisted in capturing Chapel Corner and the village of Marquion, and then gained his final objectives. His courage and dash were a fine example to his command.
(Bar to D.S.O., 4 Oct 1919, 12218)
Born in Kingarth, Scotland on 27 November 1887, John Pollands Girvan was a champion rower and mail sorter in the Toronto general post office. He enlisted with the 15th Battalion as a private and rose through the ranks to end the war as a major and second-in-command.