Lieutenant Colonel Thomas B. Welch
99th (Essex) Battalion
We recruited more than three thousand men here, and could have gotten as many more had not the Government put an end to voluntary enlistment by throwing a political monkey wrench into the machinery.
It was for the same reason that the county battalions, one of which I took to England, were broken up into drafts for other units.
(Welch’s Speech, Toronto Globe, 7 Dec 1917, 12)
Thomas Baird Welch was a chemist and commanding officer of the 26th Middlesex Light Infantry. He was born on 10 April 1867 in Kilwinning Scotland. He went overseas with the First Contingent in October 1914 and served as a major with the 1st Battalion in France from April to May 1915. He joined the 1st Division command staff until he returned to Canada in December 1915 to raise the 99th Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel Cy Peck, D.S.O., V.C.
16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion
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.
Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence T. Martin
257th (Ottawa Railway Construction) Battalion
Ordered to Stop Recruiting
…Make your application without day’s delay. Battalion goes DIRECT to France to railroads. Physical test easier. Age limit 18 to 48. This is a hurry call. It is your last chance to join the 257th. If you don’t join immediately you will lose your chance to get in. Cooks and rockmen especially wanted. Last chance to go to France with Lt-Col. Lawrence Martin.
(Ottawa Journal, 8 Feb 1917)
Born on 11 June 1884 in Arnprior, Ontario, Lawrence Thomas Martin was a Renfrew County railway contractor. In December 1916, he was selected to recruit for the 257th Railway Construction Battalion, was one of the last numbered volunteer units. The 257th sailed for England in February 1917. It was re-designated the 7th Battalion in the Canadian Railway Troops once deployed to France.
Major George W. Andrews, D.S.O.
8th (Little Black Devils) Battalion
Until a few years ago, it was believed that to maintain peace you had to prepare for war and to have big armaments. Some people believe it to-day, but millions of people know that it is a lie; millions of women know that it is a lie; millions of soldiers know that it is a lie.
(Andrews, Debates, 2 Mar 1921, 474)
George William Andrews was born in Oxfordshire, England on 9 September 1869. He immigrated to Canada in 1890, settled in Winnipeg, worked in real estate and joined the 90th Rifles Regiment. He fought at Second Ypres with the 8th Battalion alongside his son, Captain George Frank Andrews. The elder Andrews was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in January 1916 but was soon forced from the field due to chronic asthma. One of his soldiers remembered him as “a grand old man” but regretted, “Too bad he was so old.”
Lieutenant Colonel Harry Cockshutt
215th (38th Regiment Dufferin Rifles) Battalion
War should be non-existent. But before that I would have one war–to clean up Moscow.
(Cockshutt, Toronto Globe, 21 Nov 1930, 1)
I still see Canada as the greatest country and Ontario as the greatest Province. I am optimistic of the future.
(Cockshutt, Globe and Mail, 8 July 1939, 4)
Born in Brantford, Ontario, on 8 July 1867, Henry Cockshutt was a successful merchant and manufacturer of farming implements. His older brother William Foster Cockshutt was Conservative MP for Brantford and honorary colonel of the 125th Battalion. In early 1916, Henry Cockshutt was authorized to raise the 215th from his hometown.
Brigadier General D. C. Draper, D.S.O.
5th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Crime is a destroying influence that inflicts more useless suffering than any other social evil upon many innocent, well-deserving and hard-working individuals.
(Draper, Montreal Gazette, 4 Oct 1934, 7)
At the battle of Mont Sorrel on 2 June 1916, an enemy shell struck Lieutenant Colonel Harry Baker, commander of the 5th CMR and MP for Brome. Despite being wounded and concussed himself, Major Dennis Colburn Draper carried the body of his mortally-wounded superior officer to rear and returned to the trenches. For his heroism Draper was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Lieutenant Colonel Ernest S. Wigle
18th (Western Ontario) Battalion
Mayor E. S. Wigle today had more than his 78th birthday to celebrate. He could also boost of a one-punch knockout…
Mayor Wigle, 220 pounds of brawn on a still-athletic frame, felled his former pupil with a straight right to the face as they mixed after a few minutes of exhibition sparring. When he came to the admiring Campbell declared “There isn’t a man in the house could have withstood that wallop.”
(Ottawa Citizen, 9 Dec 1937, 2)
Ernest Solomon Wigle was a prominent Ontario lawyer and former mayor of Windsor (1905—1909). He was born on 5 March 1859 in Essex County, Canada West. The six-foot Wigle was active in football and cricket but his sporting speciality was boxing. In 1884, he won the intercollegiate heavyweight championship and was undefeated as the Essex County championship.
Lieutenant Colonel W. G. Coles
Canadian Army Service Corps
…he is still suffering from nervousness, which takes the form of an indigestion and at times a depression of spirits. He has some sleeplessness, appetite poor, but is gaining slowly in weight. Condition is improving.
(Proceedings of Medical Board, London, ON, 5 Apr 1916)
Born in London, Canada West on 25 July 1865, William George Coles was a businessman and member of the city Board of Control. A long time militiaman, he deployed to France in early 1915 as part of the Canadian Army Service Corps. After several months in the field, he returned to Canada in January 1916 suffering from “nervous shock.”
Colonel Harry McLeod, M.P.
Colonel Harry McLeod has also been taken away since last we met here.
His interests were perhaps, as much in the military field as in the political field. He was a student of military tactics and military matters generally, and attended manoeuvres in this and in other countries for purposes of study—and, indeed, in the late war served in the fields of Europe.
(PM Meighen, Debates, 15 Feb 1921, 4)
Born on 17 September 1871, Harry Fulton McLeod was a New Brunswick lawyer, member of Orange Lodge No. 20 and Conservative politician. He was mayor of Fredericton (1907—1908), member of the legislature (1908—1913), and federal MP for York (1913—1917) and York—Sunbury (1917—1921). As colonel of the 71st (York) Regiment, he was appointed to take the 12th Battalion overseas when the First Contingent assembled at Valcartier in August 1914.
Lieutenant Colonel Sam Sharpe, D.S.O., M.P. †
116th (Ontario County) Battalion
But it is awful to contemplate the misery and suffering in this old world & were I to allow myself to ponder over what I have seen & what I have suffered thro the loss of the bravest & best in the world, I would soon become absolutely incapable of “Carrying on.”
(Sharpe to Muriel Hutchison, 21 Oct 1917)
Samuel Simpson Sharpe was a militia major and Conservative Member of Parliament for Ontario North (1908—1918). Born on 13 March 1873 in Zephyr, Scott Township, Ontario, he was a graduate from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall. During his university days, he was a champion tennis player and became a prominent solicitor in Uxbridge.