Lt. Col. MacLeod

Lieutenant Colonel G.W. MacLeod
Royal Canadian Regiment

He was the only officer without previous training before the war to ever hold command of the R.C.R.’s and according to stories told by other officers of the C.E.F., the appointment of a “civilian” colonel was deeply resented by the regular officers of the regiment …

(Edmonton Journal, 18 Apr 1933, 26)

Born in Parkhill, Ontario on 2 February 1888, George Waters MacLeod was an Edmonton civil engineer with no militia experience when he enlisted as a lieutenant in the 49th Battalion in July 1915. He went to France as a captain in October and within six months had been promoted to major. By mid-1918, he had transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and then served as acting commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment for the final month of the war.

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Lt. Col. Newcomen

Lieutenant Colonel T. Newcomen
Royal Canadian Dragoons

Examination of this officer to-day brings out the facts, that he cannot sleep at nights, that he has violent fits of temper, that he has very great trouble in concentrating his mind on any problems, and that he is restless and irritable. He himself fears that if these symptoms continue and increase their results may be very serious to him.

(Neurological Report on Lt. Col. Newcomen, 22 Sept 1923)

Terence Robert Gleadowe Newcomen was a professional British Army officers born in County Longford, Ireland on 18 November 1883. He had enlisted at seventeen during the Boer War and was commissioned in the 5th Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment in 1901. Posted to Canada on an exchange program to train officers since 1912, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Dragoons in September 1914.

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Lt. Col. Scroggie

Lieutenant Colonel J.A. Scroggie, D.S.O., M.C.
16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion

Some correspondents have stated that trench warfare days were days of monotony broken by half-hours of Hell. While that is exaggerated it is in a sense true.

(Lt. Col. Scroggie speech, Kingston Standard, 7 Mar 1922, 2)

Born in Scotland on 4 August 1890, James Austin Scroggie immigrated to Canada in 1911 and took up fruit farming in British Columbia. He enlisted with the 30th Battalion as a private in November 1914, and joined the 16th Battalion in the field on a reinforcement draft six months later. Having proven himself as the NCO leader of the bombing section, he was commissioned a lieutenant on 12 May 1916. By the end of the war, he was twice-wounded, three-times mentioned in dispatches, and earned the Military Cross and two Bars.

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Lt. Col. Semmens

Lieutenant Colonel J.N. Semmens
78th (Winnipeg Grenadiers) Battalion

 it will act like a wild tornado to fan the flame of anger that burns within us now when we see the cryptic phrase, “Remember Hong Kong.” That anger is not alone aimed at the Japanese but at anything that impedes or hampers the all-out effort of this country of ours. To the Winnipeg Grenadiers it means grim preparedness.(Col. Semmens, Ottawa Citizen, 11 Mar 1942, 3)

Born in Toronto on 7 October 1879, John Nelson Semmens was a Winnipeg architect and militia captain in the Winnipeg Grenadiers. He first joined the 100th Battalion under the command of fellow architect Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Mitchell before transferring to the 78th to act as second-in-command. He assumed temporary command during Battle of Passchendaele until Lieutenant Colonel James Kirkcaldy recovered from his wound in March 1918.

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Maj. Gen. Burstall

Major General Sir Henry Burstall
2nd Canadian Division

General Sir H.E. Burstall who commanded the Canadian artillery in the late war, was reputed to have an iron nerve, and, in action, to have been one of the coolest men in the army. Nothing, it was said of him so quickly aroused his anger as to see a man give way to fear, even momentary fear, and he seldom let such action pass in silence.

 (Vancouver Daily World, 28 Oct 1922, 22)

Born on 26 August 1870 in Sillery, Quebec, Henry Edward Burstall was a graduate of the Royal Military College, Boer War veteran and Permanent Force artillery officer. He commanded the 1st Division Artillery from September 1914 until September 1915 when he was elevated to GOC of the Royal Canadian Artillery Corps. In December 1916, Burstall replaced Major General Richard Turner of the 2nd Canadian Division.

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Lt. Col. Worthington

Lieutenant Colonel E.B. Worthington
17th Reserve Battalion

I do not believe that you could have searched your entire county and selected a better man than Colonel E. B. Worthington. A Sherbrooke boy from A to Z, a man who served his (our) country with dignity and distinction; a soldier who was an honor to the (our) dear old British flag; a man that no one can point their finger of scorn at; a man who will make a politician — No, No, a thousand times No — but a man who will make a statesman, an honorable Christian man who will represent the constituency with dignity.

(Letter to Sherbrooke Daily Record, 28 Oct 1925, 12)

Born on 1 December 1860 in Sherbrooke, Canada East, Edward Bruen Worthington was a notary, municipal official, former mayor of Sherbrooke, and long serving militia officer having first joined as a bugler in 1877. He was former commanding officer of the 53rd Sherbrooke Regiment, organized the 11th Hussars, and commanded the Eastern Townships Mounted Brigade since 1911. In January 1915, he replaced Lieutenant Colonel Struan G. Robertson in command of the 17th (Reserve) Battalion in England.

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Lt. Col. Sissons

Lieutenant Colonel Frank O. Sissons
1st Mounted Rifles Brigade

Col. Sissons is a real westerner in every sense of the word.

(Edmonton Bulletin, 14 Nov 1914, 1)

Born in Burnside, Manitoba on 23 March 1868, Frank Ogletree Sissons was a militia officer, rancher, and landowner in Medicine Hat. He had created the 21st Hussars in 1908 and with the formation of the Canadian Mounted Rifles in November 1914, Sissons was initially given command of the 3rd CMR. The militia council had selected Colonel Victor Williams to command the 1st CMR Brigade, but militia minister Sam Hughes favoured Sissons to represent the West. He was appointed brigade commander in March 1915.

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Brig. Gen. Smart

Brigadier General C.A. Smart
2nd Mounted Rifles Brigade

Germany waged war with one idea, and that was world domination or disaster. Well, she had achieved the alternative—disaster—and let her pay the price.  

(Smart quoted in Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser, 16 Nov 1918)

Born in Westmount, Quebec on 1 January 1875, Charles Allen Smart was a militia officer, manufacturer, and politician. Commissioned since 1898, he commanded the Eastern Townships Cavalry Brigade and was elected to the legislative assembly as Conservative member for Westmount in 1912. With the formation of the Canadian Mounted Rifles, militia minister Sam Hughes offered Smart the command of the 2nd CMR Brigade in July 1915.

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Brig. Gen. Elmsley

Brigadier General Jim Elmsley
8th Canadian Infantry Brigade

Facial expression slightly nervous, tremulous and changeable. Has been worrying excessively over routine matters, particularly having to meet people. Has been excessively worried over the ordinary conditions arising in the Brigade under his command. Sleep is fair, but there are times when he will be awake for three or four hours.

 (Medical Board Report of Brig. Gen. Elmsley, 4 June 1918)

Born in Toronto on 13 October 1878, James Harold Elmsley was a professional soldier and Boer War veteran. During the South African campaign, he was shot through the chest but somehow survived. On the start of the Great War. he was appointed second-in-command of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, followed by a brief period commanding the Canadian Light Horse. After Brigadier General Victor Williams was captured at the Battle of Mont Sorrel, Elmsley assumed command of the 8th Infantry Brigade in June 1916.

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Col. Nelles

Colonel Charles M. Nelles
Royal Canadian Dragoons

It will thus be seen that he had enjoyed the exceedingly unique distinction of having served his Sovereign and country on three occasions, the Canadian Rebellion, the Boer War and the world hostilities, which broke out in 1914. His military honors were many. He was mentioned in dispatches, awarded the D.S.O. and became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

(Brantford Expositor, 15 Feb 1936)

Born in Brantford, Canada West on 31 August 1865, Charles Mecklan Nelles was a Permanent Force soldier and veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and the Boer War. In summer 1914, his son Norman, who had just received a commission at RMC, joined a British Army regiment while his son Percy was already serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. On 29 January 1915, Second Lieutenant Norman Nelles of the Northamptonshire Regiment was killed in France. Four months later his father went to France as commander of the Canadian Dragoons, which fought dismounted as part of the 1st Canadian Division.

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