Maj. Elmitt

Major Thomas Elmitt, D.S.O.
21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion


From the “jumping-off” place to the refinery was one thousand yards and as it was known to be strongly held, this together with the distance of the advance, severe casualties were expected and although the battalion suffered heavily they were quite successful in attaining their objective.

(Elmitt to Ottawa Citizen, 2 Jan 1917, 2)

Born in Ottawa on 24 January 1871, Thomas Francis Elmitt was a lumber merchant with fifteen years’ experience in the 43rd Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles Regiment. He enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel W. St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in November 1914 and was promoted to major in February 1915. Elmitt assumed temporary command of the battalion from 7 May until 6 July 1917.

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Lt. Col. Pense

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Pense, D.S.O., M.C.
21st (Eastern Ontario) Battalion


For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his company in the attack with great courage and determination, and although wounded, by personal coolness and example assisted in the success of the operation.

(Pense, Military Cross, Citation, 14 Nov 1916)

Henry Edward Pense was born in Kingston, Ontario on 2 August 1889. An eight-year member of the 14th Princess of Wales’s Own Rifles Regiment, he enlisted as a subaltern with Lieutenant Colonel W. St. Pierre Hughes’ 21st Battalion in November 1914. He was promoted to command “A” company after the battle of St. Eloi Craters in April 1916.

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Lt. Col. N. Smith

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Smith
186th (Kent) Battalion

The man at the head of that battalion is Lt. Colonel Neil Smith, a Liberal. The Minister of Militia appointed him because he knew that he was the best man that could be found for the position, not only in the county of Kent, but possibly in the whole Ontario.

 (McCoig, Debates, 28 Jan 1916, 390)

Born on 2 November 1880 in Tilbury, Ontario, Neil Smith was a dentist and prize marksman. He graduated from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario in 1905 and served in the 21st Essex Fusiliers and the 24th (Kent) Regiment. An expert target shooter, Smith represented Canada on the national Bisley Team in England. At the 1909 event, Smith scored the first perfect score of 50 at 900 yards. He helped the Canadian team to win the tournament and tied for the highest individual score to date, 140.

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The Druggist

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Wilson
33rd (London) Battalion

A sordid story of graft was told by witness after witness at the inquiry into the affairs of the 33rd Battalion at the Armories to-day. One after another admitted trafficking in the stores of the battalion, and on top of these confessions… there came revelations of what one of the court characterized as a “liquor supply depot.”

(Toronto Globe, 17 Nov 1915, 3)

Born on 17 November 1855 in Seaforth, Canada West, Alexander Wilson was a pharmacist with thirty-five years’ experience with 33rd Huron Regiment. A noted marksman, Wilson was a five-time member of Canada’s Bisley team and won several Dominion Rifle Association awards.

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The Marksman

Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Forbes
145th (Kent—Westmorland) Battalion

Shooting constituted one department in which the 145th Infantry Battalion excelled. Its subsequent success in sniping derived largely from the painstaking effort of Lt. Col. Forbes, who was—as has been noted earlier—a notable marksman, and twice a member of Canada’s Bisley Rifle Team.

So Lt. Col. Forbes offered his Battalion the benefit of more experience in musketry than the average Officer Commanding possessed.

(Pte. V.E. Goodwin , Memories of the Forgotten War, 1988, 34)

Born on 8 August 1868 in Richibucto, New Brunswick, William Ellis Forbes was a merchant and farmer with seventeen years’ experience in the 73rd Regiment. In national and international rifle contests he demonstrated excellent marksmanship abilities and competed at the Bisley shooting ranges in England.

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