The Other Ranker

Lieutenant Colonel Dick Worrall, D.S.O., M.C.
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion


He advanced his line half a mile and under heavy fire maintained his position all day. The following day, though his left was exposed to withering machine gun and artillery fire, he captured a village, taking prisoners a whole battalion. Still pushing on, he took the final objective, and established his position, having advanced some 5,000 yards from the jumping off line. He displayed fine courage and leadership.

(Worrall D.S.O. Citation, London Gazette, 11 Jan 1919, 1605)

Richard Worrall was born in Woolwich, England on 8 July 1890. He served for eight years in the Dorsetshire Regiment before emigrating to the United States. He seemed to have joined the US Army but evidently deserted to fight for Canada at the outbreak of the Great War. He was one of the very few men to enlist as a private and rise through the ranks to command an infantry battalion.

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Lt. Col. McCombe

Lieutenant Colonel Gault McCombe, D.S.O.
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion


On page 439 of the last Militia List you have shown Captain G. McCombe in list of deaths as killed in action. I am glad to advise you that Captain McCombe is very much alive. He was slightly wounded, returned to England on sick leave, but he is now, and has been for some time, back in France with his regiment the 14th Battalion.

 (Col. John Carson to Militia Council, 27 Sept 1915)

A native of Ireland, Gault McCombe was born on 16 March 1885. He immigrated with his family to Canada in 1890.  A fourteen-year militia officer with the Victoria Rifles of Canada, he joined the 14th Battalion as captain in September 1914. In late 1915, his name was mistakenly included in a casualty list of deaths at the front, causing much confusion for his family when newspapers requested a photograph for the obituary. McCombe’s brother wrote to the militia records office, explaining, “I have just received a Christmas card from my brother, and he was then in London on a holiday, so he is still in the land of the living as far as we know.”

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Lt. Col. Fisher

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Fisher
23rd (Westmount Rifles) & 14th (Royal Montreal Regiment)


[Fisher] was not a success when he previously commanded this Battalion and also, that having been to the front in command of a service Battalion and having been returned, that he will not command respect and that the Battalion will suffer.

 (Report of Gen. E.C. Ashton, 21 Apr 1916)

Frank William Fisher was born in Yorkshire, England on 7 July 1868 and emigrated to Canada as a teenager. With twenty-five years in the militia, he had been the commanding officer of the 3rd Victoria Rifles until retirement in 1912. In late 1914, Fisher organized the 23rd Battalion from Quebec City. After it was designated a reserve battalion on arrival in England, Fisher proceeded to France as second-in-command with the 14th Battalion.

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Lt. Col. Burland

Lieutenant Colonel Watty Burland
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion


A cablegram was yesterday received by Mr. B. S. Burland from his brother, Lt. Col. “Watty” Burland senior major and second in command of the 14th Battalion, stating that he had come through the fighting at Langemarcke without injury. Lt. Col. Burland’s cable was brief, but to the point, simply saying, “Pulled through all right.”

 (Montreal Gazette, 4 May 1915, 4)

William Watt Burland was born on 9 September 1877 in Montreal. He had joined the Victoria Rifles of Canada in 1894 and become commanding officer in 1912. He joined the 14th Battalion as second-in-command with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Although he made it through the second battle of Ypres uninjured, he was wounded less than a month later on 10 May 1915.

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Victoria Cross at Ypres

Captain Francis Scrimger
Canadian Army Medical Corps

On the afternoon of 25th April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of Ypres, when in charge of an advanced dressing station in some farm buildings, which were being heavily shelled by the enemy, he directed under heavy fire the removal of the wounded, and he himself carried a severely wounded Officer out of a stable in search of a place of greater safety. When he was unable alone to carry this Officer further, he remained with him under fire till help could be obtained.

(Scrimger, VC citation, 22 June 1915)

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The Capitalist

Brigadier General Robert P. Clark, D.S.O. M.C.
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) & 2nd BattalionsRPClark

This Christmas, I believe, will be your last in France. That the next may find you Home again, safe and happy, and with your loved ones, is my most earnest wish. The war is drawing to a close. Your many trials and privations will soon be forgotten. The horrors of this war will soon become to you a memory, dimmed by happier things to come. But the glory of this war, though some day a memory too, can never fade.

(Gen. Clark to The Listening Post, 2 Nov 1918)

Robert Percy Clark was a Vancouver businessman, investor, real estate agent and capitalist. He was born in London, England on 17 April 1874. He worked on the London Stock Exchange and volunteered to fight in the Boer War. He later immigrated to British Columbia, where he pursued various gold mining enterprises. He served in the 5th and 50th Regiments under Arthur Currie. As part of the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Clark became staff-officer to Currie with the 2nd Brigade.

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The Operagoer

Lieutenant Colonel F. S. Meighen

14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) & 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalions


Colonel Meighen was a very thorough and painstaking officer, very much loved by his men. Several companies of his battalion were French Canadians and they fairly worshipped him. He was a model trench commandant, never tired of strengthening the works, and always ready himself to do anything that he asked of his officers or men. He had made an excellent battalion out of his corps, and as we had alternated with them in the trenches until this turn, we knew their worth.

(Col. J. A. Currie, 15th Bn. The Red Watch, 1916, 199)

Frank Stephen Meighen was a Montreal businessman, mining director and patron of the arts. He was born on 26 December 1870 in Perth, Ontario. After inheriting the family fortune after the death of his father, Meighen pursued various business interests in Montreal. As a trained pianist, he held a particular interest for arts and culture. He founded the Montreal Opera Company, but it only ran for three seasons between 1910 and 1913.

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