Lt. Col. Urquhart

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Urquhart, D.S.O.
43rd (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) BattalionUrquhart

There remains but to refer lightly to the characteristics typical of the Canadian soldier in that crisis which probed into the innermost recesses of character. This is not to claim that the Canadian possessed merits not shared by his comrades in arms everywhere; the soldierly virtues is the birthright of the true fighting man in all lands. But the soldiers of the Dominion exhibited those instincts in their own way. They were hidden under an exterior of independence, which sometimes misled the casual observer as to the soldierly spirit, potent in its strength, lying beneath this mask.

 (Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 332)

A native of Scotland, Hugh McIntyre Urquhart was born on 13 August 1880 and immigrated to Canada in 1909. He originally enlisted with the 16th Battalion at Valcartier in August 1914. In recognition for his courage in the field, he was awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order.

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The War Hero

Lieutenant Colonel Cy Peck, D.S.O., V.C.
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionPeck

We commanders in the field have to be very careful; if you make a success of a venture you are a great hero, but if you happen to lose a few men, no matter how well your attack might be planned, your position, your reputation, and, perhaps, your head may be the price.

(Peck, Debates, 14 Mar 1919, 466.)

On 2 September 1918, Cyrus Wesley Peck led the 16th Battalion against the Drocourt-Queant Line. Under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, Peck completed a dangerous reconnaissance mission, captured crucial objectives and directed tanks to support of his battalion’s advance. For “magnificent display of courage and fine qualities of leadership,” Peck was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Empire.

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The Soldier o’ Fortune

Colonel Jack Leckie, D.S.O.
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionLeckie_J

Colonel “Jack” was dashing, impulsive, with the stocky build which indicated great reserves of physical strength, and the temperament of the man of action ready for any adventure. And of adventures he had more than the considerable share which generally is met with by members of his calling. He passed along the most beaten paths of land, sea and air, and ventured on others, of which the majority of humankind know nothing outside of story books.

(Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 97)

Born in Acton-Vale, Quebec on 19 February 1872, John Edwards Leckie was a soldier, mining engineer, adventurer, world traveler and treasure hunter. In August 1914, he joined the 16th Battalion and served as second-in-command to his brother, Lieutenant Colonel R. G. E. Leckie. Both had graduated from the Royal Military College and served in the Boer War. Jack had won the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in the South African campaign.

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The Quiet Man

Brigadier General R. G. E. Leckie
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionLeckie_R

Spare of figure, short of stature, with an almost ascetic type of face, a trait which was accentuated rather than disturbed by the scar on the cheek received when he was mauled by a leopard in a big game hunt in Somaliland, the original Commanding Officer of the 16th was of a reserved disposition, even shy. In action he was cool and observant; he talked, and gave his orders, in a conversational tone. He showed not the slightest sign of irritation; and what such a temperament means in battle only the soldiers who have been through the turmoil of it can truly estimate.

(Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 97)

Born in Halifax on 4 June 1869 Robert Gilmour Edwards Leckie was a soldier and mining engineer in British Columbia. He graduated from the Royal Military College, served in South Africa and Somaliland, and organized the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in 1910. During a safari on the Somaliland frontier in 1904, a wild leopard attacked him. Of the incident Leckie explained, “I brought the skull and skin home with me.”

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