The Executioner

Lieutenant Colonel A.J. McCausland
74th (Peel & York) Battalion

The accused No. 1 Fuehrer Adolf Schicklegruber, alias Adolf Hitler, Elite Guard, Berlin, Germany, a soldier of the Third Reich, is charged with: Murder, rape, theft and sadistic crimes against humanity … The accused was tried before the court of public opinion on this 28th day of April, 1945. The court found the accused guilty of all charges and sentenced him to be taken out and hanged until he is dead and may God have mercy on his soul.

-Maj. A.J. McCausland

(Brantford Expositor, 1 May 1945, 5)

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, and at the outbreak of the war was a militia captain with the 36th Peel Regiment. At the age of twenty-eight, he was one of the youngest men appointed to battalion command when authorized to raise the 74th from Peel and York counties. He sailed overseas in March 1916, and his unit provided reinforcements for Ontario battalions at the front.

At the end of the Second World War, McCausland had the distinction of announcing the death sentence for an effigy of Adolf Hitler in Brantford, Ontario just days before the real Hitler killed himself. Continue reading

The Prisoner

Lieutenant Colonel J.F.H. Ussher
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Ussher

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. Born in Toronto on 27 October 1872, Ussher was a stock broker and Boer War veteran. A nine year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles and ten year member of the 9th Mississauga Horse, he enlisted as major of ‘C’ Squadron in the 4th CMR. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Rogers

Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Rogers, D.S.O., M.C.
3rd (Toronto Regiment) Battalion
JBRogers

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

Lt. Col. Price, M.P.P.

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Price, M.P.P.
204th (Beaver) Battalion WHPrice

 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.

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Lt. Col. Wright

Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Wright
169th (109th Regiment) Battalionwright

“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.

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The Clerk

Major John P. Girvan
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalion

girvan

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.

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The Cricketer

Lieutenant Colonel Billy Marshall, D.S.O.
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalionmarshall

The list of honors for the second battle of Ypres was out and my name had been omitted.

 I was pleased, however, to see that Major Marshall, my second in command whom I had recommended for “mention in dispatches,” had received a D.S.O. He was a professional soldier and this meant much more to him than it did to me. He was later to fall in the front line trenches the victim of a German sniper. A great athlete, a splendid soldier, a universal favorite, Canada and the Empire could ill spare such a man. His solicitude for his men was such that I have known him to give his clothing to some ailing private. He was one of the bravest, truest and kindest of Canadians.

(J.A. Currie, The Red Watch, 1916, )

William Renwick Marshall was an amateur athlete and Boer War veteran with over twenty years’ service in the militia. Born in Hamilton on 20 March 1875, he played cricket while a student at Upper Canada College and toured the United States and Britain with the Canadian Zingari between the 1890s to the 1910s. He fought bravely at the second battle of Ypres and shortly thereafter assumed command of the 15th Battalion.

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The Pal

Lieutenant Colonel W. C. V. Chadwick
124th (Governor General’s Body Guard) Battalion
Chadwick

Col. Vaux Chadwick, of the 124th Battalion, appealed to recruits: he pointed out that the 124th, called the Pals Battalion, was distinct from any other, as men joining who brought friends, were allowed to keep together in companies right thru training, and would eventually be able to fight side by side. The speaker appealed to the women and girls present, who he said could do a great deal for the cause by refusing to be seen out with any young man who had not donned the khaki.

 (Toronto World, 3 Jan 1916, 6)

William Craven Vaux Chadwick was the former commanding officer of the he 9th Mississauga Horse and partner in an architecture firm with fellow colonel Sam Beckett of the 75th Battalion. Chadwick was born in Toronto on 6 December 1868. He had long served in the 36th Peel Regiment and retired as the 9th Horse commander in 1913. In December 1914, he organized the 4th Mounted Rifles from the Toronto cavalry regiments, the Governor-General’s Body Guard and the 9th Horse.

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The Bespectacled

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bent
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalion
Bent

Lt.­Col. Bent’s fighting qualities, his proverbial coolness under fire and his great popularity with all ranks had inspired confidence and respect in the Battalion for three years. His guiding hand and figure at their head had come to be an accepted thing, especially in action.

(Beattie, 48th Highlanders of Canada, 1932, 333)

 Born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia on 2 January 1880, Charles Edward Bent was a customs collector with seventeen years’ experience in the militia. He enlisted with the 17th Battalion at the rank of captain and led a reinforcing draft to the front after the 15th Battalion was decimated at Second Ypres. He was soon appointed second-in-command.

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Colonel Runaway

Colonel Jack Currie, M.P.
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalion
CurrieJA

As was the case to be in many Canadian battalions, Lt.-Col. Currie was an M.P. and very much more of a politician than an officer.

 He was one of the type of civilian-soldier who is simply worshipped by the poorer element among the ranks, but to serve under whom, for an officer, is sheer misery.

(Lt. Ian Sinclair, 13th Bn. personal diary)

The conduct of John Allister Currie at the second battle of Ypres in late April 1915 was the subject of much controversy and insinuation. According to some of his men in the 15th Battalion, he had fought “like a hero” with rifle and bayonet. However, by most accounts, Currie remained in a dugout well behind the lines, shell shocked and possibly drunk during the German gas attack on his unit at St. Julien.

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