Lt. Col. Street

Lieutenant Colonel D.R. Street
77th (Ottawa) Battalion

I merely add without comment, we hear that the men of the 77th battalion in Ottawa looted the Parliament Buildings the night of the fire. I am prepared to say this—I never thought it worth mentioning it, but my attention was brought to it yesterday–that the men of the 77th, as well as the Engineers, conducted themselves in the most orderly and becoming manner on that night…

 (Sam Hughes, Debates, 16 Feb 1916, 855)

Douglas Richmond Street was a member of the Governor General’s Foot Guards and director of the Ottawa Electric & Gas Company. He was born on 19 June 1864 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In spring 1915, he was selected to raise a battalion from the Ottawa area.

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Lt. Col. Paquet

Lieutenant Colonel E.T. Paquet
57th (Canadien-Français) Battalion

I wish every young man in Montreal would follow the example of the Highland Cadets, and occasionally, at the close of their day’s work put on uniforms, as you boys do and come down to train for work as real soldiers of the King instead of idling away their time on the streets as I see so many doing.

 (Paquet speech to Cadets, Montreal Gazette, 20 May 1915, 5)

Born on 2 January 1883 in Quebec City, Etienne Theodore Paquet was a member of an old, influential Quebec family and the son of a prominent Conservative politician of the same name. The younger Paquet was an official in the federal postmaster general’s office, a barrister and Inspector of Cadets for the province of Quebec. He was also a member of 17th Regiment for fifteen years before the Great War.

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Lt. Col. Smart

Lieutenant Colonel R.W. Smart
136th (Durham) Battalion

In a recent letter to this office from an old Durhamite, now living in Western Ontario, this reference is made to Col. Smart: “Tell the young men what a privilege it will be to serve under him and say that for the honor of the old loyal country every man much do his duty.

(Canadian Statesman, 2 Dec 1915, 1)

Robert Wallace Smart was a third generation military officer and thirty-three year member of the 46th Regiment. Robert Smart was born on 3 December 1864 in Port Hope, Canada West. During the 1885 Rebellion, the twenty-year-old Smart volunteered with Colonel A. T. H. Williams’ Midland Battalion. His grandfather, David Smart had raised a cavalry troop to help put down the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Laurie

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

Lt. Col. Dubuc

Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Dubuc, D.S.O.
22nd (French Canadian) Battalion


Let me start with the bad news: Major Dubuc was wounded again today by the explosion of a rifle grenade … The major bled profusely, which I think is a very good sign but did not lose consciousness. In fact he even retained his usual good humour … The Major has had wonderful luck in each of his misfortunes. To be wounded twice in the head and to come through is simply marvelous.

(Georges Vanier to mother, 15 Jan 1916)

Born on 18 May 1880, in Sherbrooke, Quebec Arthur Édouard Dubuc was a civil engineer in the Department of Public Works. A member of the Corps of Guides since 1908, he enlisted as a captain with the 22nd Battalion in November 1914.

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Lt. Col. Combe

Lieutenant Colonel Barry Combe
161st (Huron) Battalion

Had an attack of acute gastritis Aug 1917. Began to feel somewhat run down then and to lose weight.

He is slightly pale and his muscles show wasting—weight 160 lbs. He states that this is a loss of 20 lbs. He complains of being very easily tired, then he feels slightly dizzy.

(Medical Board, 11 Oct 1918)

Hugh Barry Combe was born on 23 September 1864 in Clinton, Canada West. He enlisted as a bugler in the 33rd Huron Regiment as a boy and rose to become the commanding militia officer. In December 1915, he offered to raise a battalion from his home county. The farmer families of the rural area were unreceptive to patriotic pleas, however, and largely unwilling to allow their sons to enlist.

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Lt. Col. Thompson

Lieutenant Colonel John Thompson
124th (Governor General’s Body Guard) Battalion

All who know him must regard Colonel Thompson as a man of the highest probity and integrity. His honesty and ability cannot be question. I for one am prepared to believe that the qualities of character which h have made him somewhat rigid in the work of administration of the particular commission over which he presides are characteristics of a strict impartiality…

 (W.L.M. King, Debates, 30 June 1934, 4556)

John Thomas Connolly Thompson was the eldest son of Canada’s fourth Prime Minister, John Sparrow David Thompson (1845-1894). He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 21 October 1872. A barrister in Toronto, Thompson enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel W. C. V. Chadwick’s 124th Battalion in March 1916 at the rank of major.

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Lt. Col. Piuze

Lieutenant Colonel P.A. Piuze
189th (Canadien-Français) Battalion

Don’t you think, Sir, that the fact of leaving my family (I am the father of five children) and position is one sacrifice that should count for something? Furthermore, the sudden disbanding of my Battalion will certainly seriously hurt my reputation not only in the military life but also in the civil.

 (Piuze to George Perley, 16 Nov 1916)

Born on 28 October 1888 in Fraserville, Quebec, Philippe-Auguste Piuze was a militia captain in the 89th Regiment. Commanding officer of 189th Battalion, the twenty-eight year old lieutenant colonel was one of the more successful recruiters in Quebec. “I was anticipating my Battalion to go to the front as a draft, although I was promised it would go as a Unit,” he wrote on arrival in England. Instead, his battalion was taken from him almost immediately after disembarking.

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Lt. Col. J.D. Clarke

Lieutenant Colonel J.D. Clarke
111th (South Waterloo) Battalion

A very good officer who gave me an excellent impression, well qualified, has a good command, is apparently tactful and altogether fitted to command.

(111th Inspection report, 7 Aug 1916)

“After having raised the 111th South Waterloo Battalion, taking it overseas and spending four weeks on the firing line in France, Lieut.-Col. J.D. Clarke slipped quietly into town today.”

(Toronto World, 9 Feb 1917)

James Drury Clarke was a newspaper publisher and the son of a prominent Liberal politician. His father, Charles Clarke (1826—1909) had been a member of the Ontario legislature and speaker. He was on born on 1 March 1884 in Elora, Ontario. He was appointed to organize the 111th Battalion from the Galt and Waterloo region. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Cornwall

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Cornwall
218th (Irish Guards) Battalion

He certainly knows his constituency better than most representatives do. There is scarcely a mile of these unmapped ways that he has not tramped alone; not an Indian guide in the North can last with “Jim for a week, in summer or on snowshoes.

 (A.D. Cameron, The New North, 1910,)

On 3 March 1916, James Kennedy Cornwall enlisted as a private in Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Whittaker’s 218th Battalion. Within two months, Cornwall, a former Liberal Alberta MPP (1909—1913), was commanding the unit. Nicknamed “Peace River Jim,” he was a pioneer, prospector, trapper, adventurer and entrepreneur. Born on 29 October 1869 in Brantford, Ontario, he became a world traveler before settling in Peace River, Alberta in 1902.

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