The Pawn

Major J. H. Sills
44th (South Saskatchewan) BattalionSills

The Officer Commanding the 44th Battalion who was in England undergoing treatment for a damaged shoulder and his Second-in-command had each been adversely reported on by me, and I had placed Major Sills, a Graduate of the Royal Military College, Canada and who had 16 months experience in France and whom I knew to be a most efficient Officer and capable business man in Command of the Battalion.

(Gen. W. Hughes to Gen. Turner, 20 Mar 1917)

John Hamilton Sills was a civil engineer, militiaman and graduate of the Royal Military College. A descendant of United Empire Loyalists he was born in Frankford, Ontario on 1 May 1882. Sills enlisted with William St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in April 1915 and was promoted to July in August 1916.

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The Flax Seeder

Lieutenant Colonel E. R. Wayland
44th (Manitoba) BattalionWayland

The evening was spent in many handshakings, as old comradeships were renewed. Many an Incident of the war days was told, as the sight of the familiar faces brought back vivid memories, some joyful, others sad. A large number of members of the association turned out to see again the man who had guided their destinies in France.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 26 September 1931, 3)

Born on 23 March 1869 in London, England, Edward Robert Wayland was an Ontario grain exporter and nine-year member of the 96th Regiment. In October 1914, he led a detachment of troops from Fort William and Port Arthur to Winnipeg, where he was appointed to command the 44th Battalion. The 44th sailed for England in October 1915 and deployed to France in August 1916 as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Division.

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The Spy

Lieutenant Colonel Rhys Davies, D.S.O.
44th (New Brunswick) BattalionDavies

Women are good as spies because men will talk to women. Men under tremendous strain and responsibility want an outlet and the finest and strongest willed of them like to boast to some woman.

(Davies, “Spies in War and Peace,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 12 Dec 1938)

Perhaps fittingly for a self-described British secret agent, much of Reginald Danbury Rhys Davies’ early life is ambiguous. He was born in England on 9 July 1882. According to one account, he was a veteran of the Boer War and member of the Special Intelligence Branch in Egypt and Sudan. Another claimed he had served in India during the Chitral Expedition and gathered intelligence while stationed on the German-Dutch at the outbreak of the Great War.

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