Lt. Col. Willets

Lieutenant Colonel C.R.E. Willets, D.S.O.
Royal Canadian Regiment

Willets

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He went forward to the front line under very heavy fire and organized the defence of the position with great skill. He has at all times displayed the greatest courage and initiative.

(Willets, D.S.O. citation, 26 July 1917)

Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia on 21 May 1880, Charles Richard Edward Willets had left the Royal Military College early to serve in South Africa in 1901. After five years with the South African Constabulary, he was gazetted as a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Regiment.

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Lt. Col. Green

Lieutenant Colonel W.J. Green
91st (Elgin) Battalion
Green

We learned that the possibility of out going to France intact was remote. It appeared that the C.O. with the most pull with old Sir Sam Hughes had the best chance to keep his command and as our C.O., Col. Green, was never given to cringing and kow-towing to the war time brass hats, he, of course, was not one of the favored ones.

 (Harold Becker, 91st Bn., Memoirs, 161)

William James Green was a Boer War veteran and member of the 25th Regiment since 1893. He was born in St. Thomas, Ontario on 8 October 1875. In December 1915, Green was authorized to raise the 91st Battalion based in his hometown and raised from Elgin county.

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Lt. Col. Hodson

Lieutenant Colonel George C. Hodson, D.S.O.
1st (Western Ontario) Battalion
Hodson

I have perhaps foolishly put my Country and the Cause before my personal interests in the past but my patience is now absolutely exhausted and I am out to get justice, one way or the other. I have already lost all a soldier can lose and that is ‘his reputation as a fighting soldier’ … All I have asked is to be returned to the front with my rank or else given a decent appointment in England or Canada with some promotion.

(G.C. Hodson to Gen. Ashton, 20 Apr 1918)

After the death of Lieutenant Colonel Frank A. Creighton on 15 June 1916 during the battle of Mont Sorrel, the 1st Battalion was left leaderless and disorganized. Unable to find a suitable replacement from within the battalion or from another frontline unit, Major-General Arthur Currie needed to look to a surplus senior officer in England. He found George Cuthbert Bethune Hodson, former commander of the 9th CMR, which had been broken up some months earlier.

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Lt. Col. Bott

Lieutenant Colonel J. C. L. Bott
2nd Canadian Mounted RiflesBott

I was not drunk on the 3rd of Oct 1916 … I had nothing to drink since 12:30pm on that day. I had a drink in the morning with Major Laws and I had three more … I brought a bottle of whiskey on the morning in question … As a rule I take about five drinks a day. Spread out through the day. I never have a drink alone.

(Lt. Col. Bott, general court martial, 7 Nov 1916)

Born in Marden, Wiltshire, England on 24 August 1872, John Cecil Latham Bott was a professional British soldier and cavalryman. He was a member of the 20th Hussars from 1895 to 1909, and served in Egypt and South Africa. He immigrated to Vernon, British Columbia after the Boer War and helped to organize the 30th Horse.

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Lt. Col. Ussher

Lieutenant Colonel J.F.H. Ussher
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Ussher

In view of the foregoing the people who are providing the taxes for this well-deserved bonus to the soldiers should insist that all strings to the payment should be removed. Don’t let some Government appointee be the sole judge– the soldier’s record of service must decide!

(Ussher to Globe and Mail, 18 Aug 1944, 16)

During the battle of Mont Sorrel on 2 June 1916, John Frederick Holmes Ussher became trapped in a collapsed tunnel during heavy German shelling. He was wounded and captured. He spent the next two and a half years a prisoner of war. Continue reading

Lt. Col. McKinery

Lieutenant Colonel W.H. McKinery, D.S.O.
66th (Edmonton Guards) Battalion
McKinery

All rotters are eventually found out and you will be glad to hear that McKinery has been cashiered for using his Battalion funds for his own purposes and we have heard the last of him in the B.E.F.

 (Agar Adamson to Mrs. Mabel Adamson, 2nd Feb 1916, 138)

When William Herbert McKinery enlisted in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he claimed to have been born in Waterford, Ireland on 5 April 1878. He also used his father’s first name, John, when filling out the attestation papers. McKinery was actually born on April 5, 1875 in Melbourne, Australia. Believing that he would be rejected as overage, the forty-year old Australian had falsified personal information in order to fight overseas.

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The Old Man

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Palmer, D.S.O.
49th (Edmonton Regiment) Battalion
Palmer

Soldier of the old school, fearless, straightforward, a fighter and a sportsman, sincere with an independency of opinion which frequently got him into trouble with the Staff, especially if it were upon some question that had to do with the welfare of his men—such was the character of the second C.O. of our Battalion.

(The Forty-Niner, Jan 1934, 19)

 Robert Henry Palmer was chief fire ranger and Indian agent in Alberta. Born in Glamorganshire, Wales on 19 February 1868, he immigrated to western Canada as a young man. He was an original member of Lord Strathcona’s Horse and fought in the Boer War. In January 1915, he joined Lieutenant Colonel Griesbach’s 49th Battalion as a company commander. Admired for his toughness and fearlessness on the battlefield, Palmer—who had lowered his age by seven years on enlistment—was affectionately known by his men as “The Old Man.”

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The Elder

Lieutenant Colonel F. J. Clark
45th (Brandon) BattalionFJClark

In selecting Col. Clark for this purpose, a wise choice was made in Ottawa. Col. Clark has seen service In military affairs since 1885, when he fought In the 95th battalion during the Riel rebellion. In South Africa, he went through the conflict with profit to his country and honor to himself, and he wears the Long Service medal, attesting the value of his services during 31 years in his country’s duties.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 5 Feb 1915, 37)

Francis Joseph Clark had fought in the North West Rebellion and volunteered for the South African Campaign, though the war ended by the time he had reached Cape Town. He was born on 9 December 1860 in Nottingham, England, where he belonged to the Robin Hood Rifles. He immigrated to Manitoba in the 1882. Former commander of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Clark was authorized to raise the 45th Battalion from his home in Brandon in January 1915.

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The Old-Fashioned

Lieutenant Colonel F. V. Wedderburn
115th (Wedderburn’s Warriors) BattalionWedderburn

On the other hand the tactics of his enemy, Col Wedderburn, were considered by military experts at the front as decidedly clever. A less practical and inexperienced man could not have given Col. McLean the fight he did.

It was evident that Col. Wedderburn had laid his plans well, but the fact that he had burned Moncton and that if victorious he might mete out the same treatment to St. John and the other surrounding towns, field the hearts of the defending soldiers with one determination—to win or die.

(St. John Daily Sun, 8 Jul 1905)

Frederick Vernon Wedderburn was a New Brunswick barrister and militiaman born in St. John on 16 April 1861. After graduating with a law degree from the University of New York in 1882, he joined the 8th Princess Louise Hussars.

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The Bulldog

Brigadier General Edward Hilliam
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionHilliam

Colonel Hilliam who was now our commanding officer, says that the 25th battalion made his name; but the 25th boys are equally positive that he made the battalion. It was truly wonderful the confidence we placed in him and he never disappointed us. He was very strong on discipline, and when all is said and done that is most essential in the army.

(Lieut. Lewis, Over the Top with the 25th, 1918)

Born in December 1862 in Spalding, England, Edward Hilliam was a soldier, policeman, boxer and swordsman. He had belonged to the 17th Lancers in the British Army before immigrating to Canada to join the North West Mounted Police in 1893. In 1899, he volunteered to serve in the Boer War and during the campaign, earned a reputation as an excellent scout and was praised as “a bold and resolute leader.”

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