Major General Archie Macdonell
Lord Strathcona’s Horse
“Batty Mac, our brigade commander, was crazy as a coot in many ways, I saw him actually get wounded one day … Somebody said ‘Be careful, sir, there’s a sniper’ and he said ‘Fuck the sniper,’ climbed up to get a look and the sniper took him through the shoulder and he went ass over applecarts into his shellhole from which he had emerged … My god, his language! You could hear him for miles around!”
(G.R. Stevens PPCLI, In Flanders Field interview, 1964)
Born on 6 October 1864 in Windsor, Canada West, Archibald Cameron Macdonell earned the nickname “Batty Mac” for his disregard of danger under fire. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1886 and joined the Canadian Militia before transferring to the North-West Mounted Police. He volunteered during the Boer War and was commanding officer of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse at the outbreak of the First World War.
Brigadier General J. A. Clark, D.S.O.
72nd (Seaforth Highlanders) Battalion
“My Brigadier, the son of a bitch, is still alive— I’ll kill him if I see him.”
(Capt. W. G. Little, P.P.C.L.I., 1964)
Born in West Flamborough, Ontario on 8 June 1886, John Arthur Clark was a Vancouver barrister and militiaman. A major in the 72nd (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) Regiment, Clark was appointed to command the 72nd Battalion, one of the few CEF units to perpetuate its militia designation. Commenting on the tremendous responsibility of a commanding officer one of his men observed that the twenty-nine year old colonel “looked forty.”
Brigadier General Hugh Dyer, D.S.O.
5th (Western Cavalry) Battalion
I thank you for the unanimity with which you have chosen me as your candidate, for without unanimity we cannot get anywhere. Let there be no mistake. I am not agreeing to run as the representative of any particular party. I am not agreeing to run as a representative of any one class or sect. I will not be tied to any hitching ropes. I will not be haltered by any party. If you elect me, you will elect Hugh Dyer. If that is satisfactory to you, I, on my part, pledge myself to do everything in my power in your interests, and will not spare myself as your representative in the house of commons.
(Dyer speech, Winnipeg Tribune, 21 Oct 1921, 2)
Nicknamed “Daddy Dyer” by his men, Hugh Marshall Dyer was the second CO of the 5th Battalion and commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade. Born in Kingstown, Ireland on 28 January 1861, he immigrated to Manitoba in 1881 and built a farm in Minnedosa where he lived for the rest of his life.