The Labour Man

Major George W. Andrews, D.S.O.
8th (Little Black Devils) BattalionAndrews

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.”

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The Bug

Lieutenant Colonel A. L. Saunders, D.S.O., M.C.
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionSaunders

At 1 PM on January 20th 1915, we fell in to march to Tidworth. Pte. Bug Saunders (afterwards Lt. Col. Saunders, D.S.O. and bar, M.C. and bar) distinguished himself by getting into a fight and appearing on parade with one eye closed.

(A. H. J. Andrews, Diary, Jan 1915)

Alec Laurence Saunders was born on 28 September 1888 in Kingston, Ontario. In September 1914, the five-foot-three and a half Winnipeg clerk enlisted as a private with the 6th Battalion. Four years later, he was commanding officer of the 8th Battalion for the final Hundred Days of the war. Although initially viewed skeptical for his short stature, Saunders, nicknamed Bug, quickly distinguished himself in battle.

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The Father

Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Raddall, D.S.O. †
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionRaddall

He was smiling as he kissed us all goodbye, but his eyes were full of tears, like ours.

I can still see the trap trotting away, the driver flicking his whip and the man in khaki dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief. Three years later, almost to the day, he was lying dead on the battlefield of Amiens.

(T. H. Raddall Jr., In My Time: A Memoir, 1976, 26)

Born on 9 December 1876, Thomas Head Raddall was a professional British soldier and an instructor at the Hythe Musketry School. In 1913, Raddall and his family transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In September 1914, he joined the 8th Battalion at Valcartier with the rank of lieutenant. He was the father of Thomas Head Raddall Jr. (1903—1994), Canadian author of historical fiction who was made member of the Order of Canada in 1971.

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The Cemetery Keeper

Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Prower, D.S.O.
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionPrower

I am pretty well all right but am scared of my nerves going, as I seem to be getting confoundedly jumpy. I suppose my “blow up” at Festubert and having been buried by Johnsons five times since, is what is worrying me, though why I cannot say, as it happens to most people.

(Prower to Aunt, July 1915)

John Mervyn Prower was born on 8 March 1885 in Quebec but grew up in England. After serving for seven years in the British Army, Prower returned to Canada and settled in British Columbia, where he joined the 31st Horse. In September 1914, he was selected captain of “H” Company in the 8th Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lipsett. He quickly gained a promotion to major in summer 1915 and later assumed command of the 8th on 3 August 1916.

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The Nazi-Watcher

Major K. C. Bedson
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionBedson

Watched closely by gestapo agents in their midst, Nazi prisoners of war in internment camps in Canada wage a 24-hour battle of wits against the veteran Canadian soldiers who guard them, hoping to earn good marks for their credit in post-war Germany by constantly trying to escape and making life as difficult as possible for the camp staff.

(Col. Bedson’s report, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 Dec 1943, 5)

Kenneth Campbell Bedson was the son of Samuel Lawrence Bedson (1842—1891), an English-born army officer who settled in Manitoba after Wolseley’s Expedition in 1870. The elder Bedson was a prison warden, golfer, sportsman and hunter. As a boy, Kenneth Bedson helped his father herd buffalo on the family farm. Bedson was born In Stoney Mountain, Manitoba on 31 July 1881. During the Boer War, Bedson fought with the 2nd Mounted Rifles. He also belonged to the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Fort Garry Horse. In September 1914, he enlisted as a captain in Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lipsett’s 8th Battalion.

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The Adjutant General

Lieutenant Colonel H. H. Matthews, D.S.O.
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionMatthews

General Matthews had been one of ray closest friends since the First Great War. We are going to greatly miss his advice and help at National Defence Headquarters. He was a man with a most lovable character, who was friendly with people and in turn inspired their friendship. In France and Belgium he was a first class fighting man and in peace-time he was also a first-rate officer. Few officers in either peace or war were more efficient.

(Gen. T. V. Anderson’s statement, Ottawa Journal, 13 May 1940, 15)

Born on 22 May 1877 in Lower Harford, England, Harold Hallord Matthews immigrated to Vancouver in 1894. He became a cattle rancher and joined the British Columbia Horse. He fought in France with Louis Lipsett’s 8th Battalion until he was wounded at Second Ypres in April 1915. He rejoined his unit five months later and was appointed commanding officer on 28 September 1915 following the elevation of Lipsett to the 2nd Brigade.

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The Irishman

Major General Louis Lipsett †
8th (90th Winnipeg Rifles) BattalionLipsett

General Lipsett is not only a fine soldier but a sympathetic Irishman, with the power of inspiring personal affection and devotion among those under him to a very unusual degree.

He inspires such confidence that I cannot imagine any man showing fear in his presence. To have Lipsett by your side would be enough to give a coward courage. “He never asks anyone to do a thing that he is not ready to do himself,” his men say. “He never forgets a man. He knows everybody’s name and all about us.”

(F. A. McKenzie, Through the Hindenburg Line, 1918, 9)

Born on 14 June 1874 in Ballyshannon, Ireland, Louis James Lipsett was a professional soldier with the Royal Irish Regiment. He served for five years in India on the Northwest Frontier. A veteran of the Tirah Campaign and the Boer War, he participated in an officer exchange program with the Canadian militia in 1911 and relocated to western Canada. After the outbreak of the Great War, he secured British Columbia coastal defences and assumed command of the 8th (Little Black Devils) Battalion, based in Winnipeg.

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