The Nervous Officer

Lieutenant Kenneth Cameron Fellowes
84th and 25th Battalions

An illustrated story of one officer featured in my book Scandalous Conduct: Canadian Officer Courts Martial, 1914–45.

Speaking quite impersonally, it is manifest that having regard to the very trying conditions at the Front it would never do to establish the principle that an officer who by reason of his nervous condition failed to carry out an order given to him could escape the consequences by attributing the fault to his nervousness. Men at the front have to “stick it” at all costs, and the establishment of a precedent excusing the failing to do so would be very dangerous.

(Maj. Walter Gow, 17 Jan 1917)

Fellowes 1A
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Lt. Col. Winsby

Lieutenant Colonel W.N. Winsby
47th (British Columbia) Battalion
Winsby

Had long interview with Col. Winsby, 47th Bn. over charges made against his ability as C.O. by Gen. Hilliam, & I gave him until tomorrow morning to send me in, in writing, his answer to these charges.

(Gen. Watson, 4th Division, 8 Mar 1917)

The charges against Winsby are of so contrived a character and now so serious to his battalion and brigade, that I am compelled to recommend his removal from command.

(Gen. Watson, 4th Division, 20 Mar 1917)

William Norman Winsby was a Victoria teacher, principal and school inspector. He was born on 28 October 1874 in Leyburn, Yorkshire, England. He was a twenty-year member of the 5th Regiment and succeeded Arthur Currie as commanding officer in January 1914. At the end of that year, he received authorization to raise the 47th Battalion from New Westminster in November. Continue reading

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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