Maj. Coote

Major A. Leslie Coote
47th (British Columbia) BattalionCoote

Objecting to being relegated to duty in a safety zone while men he had recruited were “in the line”, Col. Coote entered a strenuous protest but militia trained senior officers were a drug on the market in England just then while juniors and men for the ranks were badly needed. This being the case, while hundreds of other Majors returned to Canada, Col. Coote resigned his commission, enlisted in the King Edward Horse as a trooper…

 (Chilliwack Progress, 29 Apr 1920, 1)

Born in Tynemouth, England on 9 February 1868, Andrew Leslie Coote was a farmer and senior officer in the 104th Regiment. As second-in-command to Lieutenant Colonel W. N. Winsby in the 47th Battalion, Coote often assumed responsibility for the unit on the front when his superior was away at brigade conferences and headquarters meetings.

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The Piano Salesman

Lieutenant Colonel Milton Francis, D.S.O
47th (British Columbia) BattalionFrancis

This officer appears before the Board after one month’s extension of leave. He feels very much better and fit to return to duty. Former hospital papers and medical Board puts his disability as V.D.H. [Valvular Disease of the Heart] which is an old lesion & in the opinion of the Board was not the cause of his present breakdown, which was due to nervous overstain,

(Medical Board Report on a Disabled Officer, 1 Mar 1918)

Born in London, Ontario on 26 March 1884, Milton John Francis was manager of a Fort William music store selling pianos and gramophones. He first enlisted with the 44th (Manitoba) Battalion and transferred to the 46th as second-in-command before assuming command of the 47th just before the Vimy offensive in April 1917 .

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The Amputee

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Webb, D.S.O., M.C.
47th (Western Ontario) BattalionWebb

A shell dropped in among the troops and twenty-two Winnipeg men and Col. Webb were wounded. Webb’s leg was completely severed near the hip. The colonel took out his pocket-knife and cut off the mangled remnants, then tied up his arteries with a shoelace. He afterwards underwent the necessary surgical operation without an anesthetic in Etaples field hospital. Recovering in England, he never used a crutch. He secured an artificial limb and left the hospital walking upon it. Within five months after his leg was blown off, he was back in France with his unit, with the artificial member.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 17 Nov 1924, 4)

Ralph Humphreys Webb succeeded Lieutenant Colonel M. J. Francis as commander of the 47th Battalion on 14 December 1917. In September 1914, the twenty-eight year old Webb had enlisted as a lieutenant with the Canadian Army Service Corps. Webb was born at sea on an ocean liner sailing from India on 30 August 1886. Raised in England, he immigrated to Canada in 1902.

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