Lt. Col. Rexford

Lieutenant Colonel I.P. Rexford
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion

As a Rotarian who has held for the last 35 years the classification of “corporate executor” in the Rotary Club of Montreal, I was horrified to read in an article in THE ROTARIAN for October a recommendation by the author that a person should designate his wife as sole executrix to avoid the coast of a bond and “keep the commission in the family.”

 Surely the author must know of the many tragedies which have followed where a man has named his wife as sole executrix, a person usually entirely without experience in administrating an estate and managing investments.

 (Rexford, “Re: Making a Will”, The Rotarian, Jan 1950, 55)

Born on 14 September 1884 in Quebec, Irving Putnam Rexford was a Royal Trust Company manager and member of the Rotary Club with ten years’ experience in the Canadian Grenadier Guards. In September 1915, he joined the 87th Battalion organized by Colonel Frank Meighen.

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Lt. Col. Frost

Lieutenant Colonel R.W. Frost, D.S.O.
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion

Capt. Frost was twice blown up by shells but remained on duty.

 (14th Bn. War Diary, 3 June 1916)

 Capt. R. W. Frost, for the third time in 24 hours, was blown to the ground by a shell. Too dazed to walk, he was carried to Railway Dugouts, where he recovered and whence, on the following morning, he hastened to duty with the Battalion.

 (R. C. Fetherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment, 14th Battalion [1927], 87)

Just as the 87th Battalion prepared to deploy to France in summer 1916, Reginald William Frost replaced Lieutenant Colonel Irving Rexford in command. A native of Norfolk, England, Frost was born on 21 May 1885 and immigrated to Canada in 1906. He had served seven years with the 66th Princess Louise Fusiliers when he enlisted in the 14th Battalion under the command of Frank Meighen at the outbreak of the war.

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Lt. Col. Bickerdike

Lieutenant Colonel R. Bickerdike, D.S.O.
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalion


But I speak feelingly on this question, as I have a son, two grandsons and seven nephews at the front–that is, I had seven nephews at the front, but two have been killed and two badly wounded.

 (Robert Bickerdike, Sr., House of Commons Debates, 2 May 1917, 1015)

Robert Bickerdike Jr. was a graduate of McGill University and a Montreal civil engineer. Born on 30 September 1869, he was the son of Robert Bickerdike Sr., Liberal MP for St. Lawrence (1900—1917). The elder Bickerdike was a leading philanthropist, humanitarian and outspoken opponent of the death penalty. During the conscription debate of 1917, the elder Bickerdike broke with long-time friend Wilfrid Laurier in support of the Military Service Act.

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The Best Friend

Lieutenant Colonel J. V. P. O’Donahoe, D.S.O. †
87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) BattalionO'Donahoe

You, Officers and men of the 87th have lost a gallant leader. And I have lost a trusted and dear friend. The whole Canadian Corps has lost a tried and able soldier.

(Brig-Gen. Odlum’s eulogy, 87th Bn. War Diary, 12 May 1918, 30)

On 8 May 1917, James Vincent Patrick O’Donahoe succeeded Major H. LeR. Shaw as commander of the 87th Battalion. Born on 27 May 1881 in Brockville, Ontario, O’Donahoe had served as a major with the 60th Battalion in France. In January 1917, he assumed command of the 199th Battalion for a tour of Ireland following Harry Trihey’s controversial resignation.

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The Operagoer

Lieutenant Colonel F. S. Meighen

14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) & 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Battalions


Colonel Meighen was a very thorough and painstaking officer, very much loved by his men. Several companies of his battalion were French Canadians and they fairly worshipped him. He was a model trench commandant, never tired of strengthening the works, and always ready himself to do anything that he asked of his officers or men. He had made an excellent battalion out of his corps, and as we had alternated with them in the trenches until this turn, we knew their worth.

(Col. J. A. Currie, 15th Bn. The Red Watch, 1916, 199)

Frank Stephen Meighen was a Montreal businessman, mining director and patron of the arts. He was born on 26 December 1870 in Perth, Ontario. After inheriting the family fortune after the death of his father, Meighen pursued various business interests in Montreal. As a trained pianist, he held a particular interest for arts and culture. He founded the Montreal Opera Company, but it only ran for three seasons between 1910 and 1913.

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