Lieutenant Colonel E.T. Paquet
57th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
I wish every young man in Montreal would follow the example of the Highland Cadets, and occasionally, at the close of their day’s work put on uniforms, as you boys do and come down to train for work as real soldiers of the King instead of idling away their time on the streets as I see so many doing.
(Paquet speech to Cadets, Montreal Gazette, 20 May 1915, 5)
Born on 2 January 1883 in Quebec City, Etienne Theodore Paquet was a member of an old, influential Quebec family and the son of a prominent Conservative politician of the same name. The younger Paquet was an official in the federal postmaster general’s office, a barrister and Inspector of Cadets for the province of Quebec. He was also a member of 17th Regiment for fifteen years before the Great War.
Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Dubuc, D.S.O.
22nd (French Canadian) Battalion
Let me start with the bad news: Major Dubuc was wounded again today by the explosion of a rifle grenade … The major bled profusely, which I think is a very good sign but did not lose consciousness. In fact he even retained his usual good humour … The Major has had wonderful luck in each of his misfortunes. To be wounded twice in the head and to come through is simply marvelous.
(Georges Vanier to mother, 15 Jan 1916)
Born on 18 May 1880, in Sherbrooke, Quebec Arthur Édouard Dubuc was a civil engineer in the Department of Public Works. A member of the Corps of Guides since 1908, he enlisted as a captain with the 22nd Battalion in November 1914.
Lieutenant Colonel P.A. Piuze
189th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Don’t you think, Sir, that the fact of leaving my family (I am the father of five children) and position is one sacrifice that should count for something? Furthermore, the sudden disbanding of my Battalion will certainly seriously hurt my reputation not only in the military life but also in the civil.
(Piuze to George Perley, 16 Nov 1916)
Born on 28 October 1888 in Fraserville, Quebec, Philippe-Auguste Piuze was a militia captain in the 89th Regiment. Commanding officer of 189th Battalion, the twenty-eight year old lieutenant colonel was one of the more successful recruiters in Quebec. “I was anticipating my Battalion to go to the front as a draft, although I was promised it would go as a Unit,” he wrote on arrival in England. Instead, his battalion was taken from him almost immediately after disembarking.
Lieutenant Colonel L.C. D’Aigle
165th (French Arcadian) Battalion
De son côté il a promis de former un bataillon acadien sous le commandement d’officers acadiens et francais. Nous avons la certitude qu’il s’en tiendra à côte promesse. De l’autre côté les Acadiens influents de toute l’acadie ont approuve et votés la formation du 165e. Chacun devrait maintenant faire sa part pour assurer le succes du battalion. Nous constations mieux plus tard la valeur d’un succes complet.
(L’Acadien, 14 juil 1916, 1)
Born on 15 December 1869 in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick, Louis-Cyriaque D’Aigle was an agronomist and dairy farming magnate. Although he did not have any military or militia experience, D’Aigle was appointed commander of the 165th Battalion based in Moncton.
Lieutenant Colonel Tancrède Pagnuelo
206th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
I know I deserve to be punished for a breach of discipline, but all I ask from you, gentlemen, is not to be prevented from doing what I wanted to do, namely, going to the Front. If you dismiss me from the service it will be quite impossible for a commanding officer to join the ranks as a private.
(Court martial of Lt. Col. Pagnuelo, Dec 1916)
Born in 1870, Tancrède Pagnuelo was a Montreal barrister and Conservative Party activist. He had unsuccessfully contested the riding of St. James in the 1900 federal election. A reserve officer with the 85th Regiment, Pagnuelo was appointed to raise the 206th Battalion from the districts of Beauharnois, Laprairie and Terrebonne in early 1916. He would prove to be one of the more unfortunate choices.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. R. deL. Harwood
51st (Edmonton) Battalion
Colonel Harwood, who had hoped, I say, to add some credit to the family to which he belonged by rendering military service to Canada and the Empire, and who was no doubt competent in every way to render that service, was relieved of the command of his battalion; it was broken up into drafts, and Colonel Harwood has been given employment as a medical officer in England.
The cruelty of that is, that so long as Colonel Harwood lives or his children after him, instead of his service to the country brining credit or glory to his name, there is a stain against him from which he can never relieve himself.
(Frank Oliver, House of Commons Debates, 13 July 1917)
Born on 27 March 1872 in Vaudreuil, Quebec, Reginald deLotbinière Harwood was a member of a distinguished and influential Lower Canadian family. He was the descendant of the Marquis de Lotbinière (1723–1798), a French-Canadian seigneur, military engineer and general in the Seven Years’ War. After completing his medical education in Montreal, Paris and London, Harwood became a surgeon in Edmonton.
Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Blondin, M.P.
258th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I cannot give him a better answer than this: Mr. Blondin took off his coat—
Sir Sam Hughes: Pardon me, Colonel Blondin.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I stand corrected. There are so many colonels in this country that I had forgotten one. I am blessed with a pretty good memory, but there is a limit even to counting, and I do not know whether the ex-minister himself knows how many honorary colonels he has appointed. But let that pass.
(Debates, 18 June 1917, 2400)
Pierre Édouard Blondin was Conservative MP for Champlain and prominent French-Canadian minister in the Borden Cabinet. He was born on 14 December 1874 in St-François du Lac, Quebec. First elected to parliament in 1908, he became Minster of Revenue in 1914 and Secretary of State in 1915 before being appointed Postmaster General.
Lieutenant Colonel H. J. M. R. DesRosiers
163rd (Canadien-Français) and 22nd Battalions
I do not believe a more competent O.C. than Lieutenant Colonel DesRosiers could be found in the C.E.F. The breaking up of the battalion would demoralize us. If allowed to go to the front as a unit, we will try our best to be a source of pride to our race and credit to Canada.
(Maj. Asselin to Arthur Mignault, Nov 1916)
Henri Joseph Marie Romeo DesRosiers was born in Vaudreuil, Quebec on 11 July 1880. A prewar member of the 65th Regiment, DesRosiers enlisted with the 14th Battalion in August 1914. A veteran of Second Ypres, DesRosiers was recalled to Canada in early 1916 to take command of a new French-Canadian battalion.
Major Georges Vanier, D.S.O., M.C.
22nd (Royal French Canadians) Battalion
I need not tell you that after the shock of losing a leg and the consequent inaction I am not in good condition.
I am happy at the thought that I had the courage to return to my boys in 1916 and that God gave me the strength of body and mind to do my duty under fire. It is a tremendous consolation that will comfort me until my dying day.
(Vanier to Mother, 13 May 1919)
Georges-Philéas Vanier was one of Canada’s most well-known veterans of the First World War. He became a high-ranking military officer, diplomat and 19th Governor General of Canada. Born in Montreal on 23 April 1888, Vanier was a graduate of Université Laval and a lawyer. In early 1915, he helped organize the 22nd Battalion under the command of F. M. Gaudet. After four years in the trenches, he had been shell shocked, multiple times wounded and lost his right leg.
Brigadier General Tommy Tremblay
22nd (Royal French Canadians) Battalion
I am confident that the French Canadians will defend all their trenches with fierce vigour and will hold on at any price, even the price of death. Let us not forget that we represent an entire race and that many things—the very honour of French Canada—depend upon the manner in which we conduct ourselves. Our ancestors bequeathed to us a brave and glorious past that we must respect and equal. Let us uphold our beautiful old traditions.
(Tremblay, Diary, 1916)
Thomas-Louis Tremblay would prove to be the 22nd Battalion’s most famous commanding officer. Notorious for his strict discipline, he was determined to prove the only all French-Canadian unit serving in the field was the finest in the CEF. Born in Chicoutimi, Quebec on 16 May 1886, he was a graduate of the Royal Military College, a civil engineer and member of the 1st Canadian Field Artillery.