Lieutenant General Edwin Alderson
A great deal of my time is taken up in preventing men being appointed to command Brigades, Battalions, etc., who are not in the least fit, but who have influence. In most cases I have succeeded, and in others I have told them after they have been here a short time ‘I am very sorry, but it is my duty to tell you that you have not the experience, capacity, and above all, the personality to successful command men on active service,’ – and they have gone!
(Alderson to Robert Borden, 13 March 1916)
Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson was a professional British Army officer and first commander of the Canadian Corps. Born on 8 April 1859 in Capel St Mary, England, Alderson received his commission at seventeen and served in several African campaigns. He came out of semi-retirement after the outbreak of the First World War and was appointed to command the 1st Canadian Division in September 1914. Due to disagreements about training, discipline, and officer selection, Alderson soon found himself subject to the vitriol and opposition of Canada’s bombastic militia minister Sam Hughes. Continue reading