Hon. Capt. Burnham & Lt. Col. Johnston

Honorary Captain J.H. Burnham, MP

Burnham

Lieutenant Colonel T.J. Johnston
93rd (Peterborough) Battalion

I think that, as one who spent six months in England and a few days in France, I am called upon to say something on behalf of the soldiers…

 Knowing humanity as I do–and I have lived quite a few years now; and I may tell you that I was connected with the 93rd Battalion from its inception and was with it in England until it was dispersed and sent to France—a more sober, orderly, upright, and thoroughly decent lot of men I never saw, even amongst the politicians

 (J. H. Burnham, Debates 26 Apr 1917, 817)

Born on 12 January 1861 in Otonobee, Canada West, Thomas James Johnson was a militia officer with nearly forty years’ experience in the 3rd Prince of Wales’ Canadian Dragoons. In November 1915, he was authorized to raise the 93rd Battalion from Peterborough. Conservative MP John Hampden Burnham acted as honorary captain to assist with recruiting. A graduate of the University of Toronto with a Masters’ of Arts, Burnham was nicknamed “the philosopher” by colleagues in the House of Commons.

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Lt. Col. Beaubier

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Beaubier
181st (Brandon) Battalion
Beaubier

Dave Beaubier had a genius for friendship, and a love of all classes and creeds, which bespeak that broad-minded type of charity, religion and friendship which enriches life.

 (R. J. Manion, Debates, 13 Jan 1939, 7)

David Wilson Beaubier was born in St. Mary’s, Canada West on 21 May 1864. He was an early pioneer to Manitoba in the 1880s and established himself as a farmer. A captain with the 99th Manitoba Rifles, Beaubier assumed command of the 181st Battalion after the death of Lieutenant Colonel G. W. Bruce, who had succumbed to injuries from an accident in April 1916.

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Lt. Col. Fowler, MP

Lieutenant Colonel G.W. Fowler, MP
104th (New Brunswick) Battalion
Fowler

There is often a vast difference between the stories they tell in Canada, as to their achievements in France, and the stories that are told of them here. There have been cases where such Officers have, in consequence of the skillful manner in which they have trumpeted their own achievements (which were really of a very minor character) obtained advancement, much to the annoyance and disgust of men whose services have been far more valuable, but who have remained steadily on the job.

(Fowler to Robert Borden, 6 Sept 1916)

Born on 24 February 1859, George William Fowler was Conservative MP for King’s and Albert (1900—1908, 1911—1917) and senator for New Brunswick (1917—1924). A graduate of Dalhousie University and Boston College, he was a lawyer and Grand Master in the provincial Orange Order.

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Lt. Col. McLelan

Lieutenant Colonel A. W. McLelan
121st (Western Irish) Battalion

Col. McLelan’s plan is this: All officers enter his regiment as lieutenants. They are given fullest opportunities for displaying their ability, and according to merit the senior appointments, such as those of field officers and captains of companies, are granted… Men who have captains and field officers’ certificates are placed on the same basin as the other officers and must qualify in this competitive sense for the senior rankings.

 “I think this is the only way in which real efficiency can be arrived at,” said Lieut.-Col. McLelan this morning. “My officers will know that they must make good, and it keys everyone of them up to do his best.”

 (Vancouver World, 19 Jan 1916, 15)

Archibald Woodbury McLelan was a fifth-generation Canadian of Irish ancestry. He was born on 26 August 1884 in Londonderry, Nova Scotia. McLelan’s namesake was his grandfather (1824—1890), the Lieutenant Governor of the province between 1888 and 1890. In the first Canadian parliament, the elder McLelan had sat as an anti-confederation member until an appointment to the Senate in 1869.

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Lt. Col. W.R. Smyth, MP

Lieutenant Colonel W.R. Smyth, MP
238th (Canadian Forestry) Battalion
Smyth

Am extremely sorry that certain cables crossed and I inadvertently accepted nomination. I wired Robb withdrawing my acceptance … Please convey this to electorate at first opportunity. I depend on all loyal Canadians to support the Union Government and thereby help win the war. We need men and must have them.

(Smyth to G.B. Nicholson, Nov 1917)

William Ross Smyth was a lumber tycoon, Conservative MPP in the Ontario legislature (1902—1908 and federal MP for Algoma East (1908—1917). He was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on 3 January 1857. He was one of several sitting MP selected to recruit an overseas battalion.

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Lt. Col. White, MP

Lieutenant Colonel G.V. White, MP
224th (Lumbermen) Battalion
GWhite

We cannot be too generous in our treatment of our sailors, soldiers and airmen. I take it that this measure will recompense fairly generously the men and women who have served their country well. I believe the people of Canada will wholeheartedly endorse this very important legislation.

(Senator White, Debates, 11 Aug 1944, 452)

Gerald Verner White was Conservative Member of Parliament for Renfrew North. Born on 6 July 1879 in Pembroke, Ontario, he was the son of Peter White (1838—1906), a lumber tycoon and former Speaker of the House of Commons. After his father’s death, the younger White won a by-election for Renfrew North in 1906. A militia officer with the 42nd Regiment, White enlisted as senior major with J. F. De Hertel’s 130th Battalion in November 1915. By February 1916, he transferred to the 224th Foresters as second-in-command to Alexander McDougall. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Sharpe, MP

Lieutenant Colonel W.H. Sharpe, MP
184th (Manitou) Battalion
WHharpe

The man who is not prepared to serve his country at the present time should have no place in the affairs of Canada.

(W.H. Sharpe, Debates, 23 Jan 1917, 9)

William Henry Sharpe was a homesteader, merchant and politician. Born in Scott Township, Ontario on 19 April 1868, he moved to Manitoba and was elected Conservative MP for Lisgar in 1908. After a failed bid in the 1915 provincial election and an appointment to the Senate, Sharpe was authorized to raise the 184th Battalion. His younger brother Sam Sharpe, fellow Conservative MP, commanded the 116th Battalion.

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Lt. Col. Tremain, MP

Lieutenant Colonel H.B. Tremain, MP
112th (Nova Scotia) Battalion
Tremain

I would appeal for a greater measure of co-operation between the two great parties during the grave crisis through which our Empire is passing. When victory of democratic communities is achieved over the forces of autocratic despotism, represented by Kaiserism, then and not till then, let our political warfare again be waged…

 (Tremain, Debates, 8 Mar 1915, 827)

Hadley Brown Tremain was a barrister and Conservative MP for Hants (1911—1921). He was born in Port Hood, Nova Scotia on 23 October 1874. He attended Windsor Collegiate and Kings College before receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1899. He defeated Liberal MP Judson Burpee Black in the 1911 election. After the outbreak of the Great War, Tremain endorsed a party truce, arguing that after the crisis there would “be time enough to re-engage in part recrimination and strife in this country.”

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Lt. Col. Spencer

Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Spencer
175th (Medicine Hat) and 31st Battalions

What happened to Colonel Spencer will happen, more or less decisively, to Government candidates throughout the prairie Provinces…

 And Colonel Spencer stands quite as high in the estimation of the voters in his district as Government candidates generally can stand in the opinions of their respective communities. If he could not save his deposit, it is a bad look out for them if the conditions of the contest are the same.

 (Edmonton Bulletin, 2 Jul 1921, 7)

Born in New Brunswick on 7 December 1876, Nelson Spencer was a Conservative politician in Alberta and member of the provincial legislature (1913—1921). He belonged to the 21st Alberta Hussars and raised the 175th Battalion from his riding in early 1916. In response to questions about Spencer’s competency, Sir Sam Hughes replied, “He as all the necessary qualities to become a most efficient officer, and is rapidly acquiring the necessary military training.”

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Lt. Col. Pratt

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur C. Pratt, MPP
133rd (Norfolk’s Own) Battalion
Pratt

One of my sergeants put it cleverly when he said that, while the Canadians make the best fighting men in the world, they are not soldiers, and he was right when he said it. The Canadian fighters are citizens. The war was merely an interlude in their citizenry. During the fighting they bore all manner of hardship because they were part of the fighting but when the fighting had ended they unconsciously became citizens again and not amendable to the strict discipline of military life. They wanted to get back to the life to which they belonged.

(Pratt, Toronto Star, 19 March 1919)

Arthur Clarence Pratt was a Conservative member of the Ontario legislature for Norfolk South from 1905 to 1919. He was born 6 February 1871 in Lynedoch, Ontario. In November 1915, he joined with Hal B. Donly, his Liberal opponent from the June 1914 provincial election, to raise the 133rd Battalion from Norfolk County.

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