The Ruthless

Brigadier General John M. Ross
29th (Vancouver) Battalion JMRoss

At the end of September 1916, twenty German prisoners were transferred from the 28th Battalion to the 29th under the command of John Munro Ross. After only eleven prisoners arrived to the “Corps Cage,” the 6th Brigade command staff began to make inquiries. Ross clarified the situation:

“The enemy party mentioned ran into bad luck and after a misunderstanding with one of my L.G. [Lewis Gun] crews they were too dead to be used as prisoners.”

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The Nobleman

Brigadier General Lord Brooke
4th and 12th Infantry BrigadesLordBrooke

All day long I had witnessed the tragedy of men “made in the image of God” bringing their utmost skill and science to the hateful task of mutual murder.

As an exhibition of scientific slaughter the firing was lacking in nothing. The range of the guns was exact, the shooting perfect. The shrapnel burst over the heads of the retreating troops, as it were in large patterns. There was no cover, no escape for the unhappy Russians. Under this awful hail of bullets the men dropped like wheat beneath the sickle of the reaper. Death most truly was gathering a rich harvest.

(Lord Brooke, An Eye-Witness in Manchuria, 1905 131)

Born on 10 September 1882, Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville was the son of British Conservative MP Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick (styled Lord Brooke) and Daisy Greville, Lady Warwick, a socialist socialite who had been mistress to King Edward VII. While a student at Eton, Lord Brooke ran away to fight in the Boer War. He was a press correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War and recounted his experiences in An Eye-Witness in Manchuria (1905).

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The Victoria Cross

Lieutenant Colonel Clark-Kennedy, V.C., D.S.O.
24th (Victoria Rifles) BattalionClark-Kennedy

Though severely wounded soon after the start he refused aid, and dragged himself to a shell-hole, from which he could observe. Realising that his exhausted troops could advance no further he established a strong line of defence and thereby prevented the loss of most important ground. Despite intense pain and serious loss of blood he refused to be evacuated for over five hours, by which time he had established the line in a position from which it was possible for the relieving troops to continue the advance.

It is impossible to overestimate the results achieved by the valour and leadership of this officer.

(Clark-Kennedy, V.C. Citation. 14 Dec 1918)

For heroically charging a German machine nest during the battle of Arras on 28 August 1918, William Hew Clark-Kennedy received the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Empire. Born in Scotland on 3 March 1879, he had fought in the Boer War before immigrating to Canada, where he joined the 5th Royal Highlanders.

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The Lawyer

Lieutenant Colonel Henry S. Tobin, D.S.O.
29th (Tobin’s Tigers) BattalionTobin

Colonel Tobin bore testimony to his appreciation of what all those connected with the 29th had done. They had, he said, received splendid support in looking after the sick and wounded and the prisoners of war, and I know he was looking carefully—being a lawyer—after the money that has been so generously sent out to.

(Rev. C. O. Owen, 29th Bn., The Gold Stripe, 1919, 65)

Henry Seymour Tobin was a graduate of the Royal Military College and served with Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the Boer War. He was born in Ottawa on 12 January 1877. After the South Africa campaign, he became a lawyer in the Yukon, Alberta and British Columbia. A major with the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, Tobin organized the 29th Battalion from Vancouver in early 1915.

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Another Horseman

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

In Feb. 1916, he began to cough and felt pain in the left chest; he coughed badly until Nov. 27, 1916, when he was sent to Hospital for treatment.

Present Condition: Still suffering from bronchitis, cannot walk any distance without exertion.

(“Proceedings of Medical Board,” Seaford, 21 Mar 1917)

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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The Veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Dr. W. W. Nasmyth
89th (Alberta) BattalionNasmyth

Another Calgary battalion has departed on its way to do its ‘bit’ for the Empire under the command of Lieut.-Col. W. W. Nasmyth, veteran of South Africa and hero of St. Julien. And amid the cheers of thousands who crowded the depot to see them off, the 89th battalion pulled away from Calgary, en route to the battle front in Flanders.

(Strathmore Standard, 31 May 1916, 8)

Born on 5 January 1866 in Mount Forest, Canada West, William Wylie Nasmyth was a Youngstown, Alberta physician and veteran of the Boer War. In September 1914, Nasmyth and his younger brother James volunteered as officers with the 10th Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Russ Boyle. Fighting together at St. Julien during the second battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915, the brothers found themselves surrounded by the German attackers. Dr. Nasmyth suffered a gunshot wound in the lung while his brother was killed.

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The Anti-Prohibitionist

Lieutenant Colonel H. A. C. Machin, M.P.P
94th (New Ontario) BattalionManchin

My position in this war has been very small, but I have had the privilege of serving some six months on the front… during the period I spent in France amid the horrors of war and human suffering and misery and the war’s leveling effects, I felt that if I survived and returned I could never again view affairs through the same coloured glasses as I did in 1914–before the war.

(Machin, Address in Ontario Legislature, 4 Mar 1919, 2)

Harold Arthur Clement Machin was a veteran of the Boer War and Conservative MPP for Kenora in the Ontario legislature between 1908 and 1919. Born on 9 May 1875 in Rochester, New York, Machin grew up in Newfoundland and Port Arthur, Ontario. In December 1915, he was authorized to raise the 94th Battalion from the region around Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora and Rainy River.

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The Giant

Lieutenant Colonel F. Pawlett, D.S.O.
128th (Moose Jaw) BattalionPawlett

The commanding officer, whose name I have never mentioned, may be an honorable officer. He said in a public address in the city of Moosejaw that he had been stabbed from behind… It was not an utterance an officer should have made. I have my duty to perform, and he has his. So far as I have had any personal relations with him, they have been of unalloyed friendship. I know him very slightly, because he is a stranger in our city.

(W. E. Knowles, Debates, 6 May 1916, 3541)

Born in Leicester, England on 8 September 1879, Francis Pawlett served with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa from 1899 to 1903. He settled in Yorktown. Saskatchewan after the Boer War and joined the 16th Light Horse in 1910. In September 1914, the six-foot-four militia officer volunteered with the 5th Battalion. Pawlett was wounded on the front, invalided to England and returned to Canada in late 1915 to raise the 128th Battalion from Moosejaw.

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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 Bermudan

Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Carpenter
Royal Canadian RegimentCarpenter

Colonel Carpenter, who had resided in Bermuda since the early days of the war, was deservedly popular in the community. He had a great charm of manner and his splendid courtesy and generous disposition won for him a great circle of friends. Until quite recently he was in the best of health and could daily be seen taking his vigorous early morning walk to the South Shore where he loved to bathe.

(Royal Gazette, 27 Oct 1933)

Albert Edward Carpenter was born on 2 September 1866 in Hamilton, Canada West. He joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1889 and served in the Boer War. He commanded the regiment from January until August 1915 while on garrison duty in Bermuda. When the R.C.R. departed for Halifax to sail on to England, Carpenter was unable to join his men in the field due to ill health and overage.

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