The Bookkeeper

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur O. Blois, D.S.O.
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionBlois

My husband Lieut.-Colonel Arthur O. Blois, D.S.O. of the 25th Canadian Battalion, has been overseas for about two years, and he is now slated for his three months commanding officer’s course in England. He cabled this fact to me today, and asks me to now meet him there. Naturally I am anxious to go. My husband was wounded at Vimy and decorated after that battle.

(Ethel Blois [wife] to Joseph Pope, 27 Nov 1917

When Major J. A. De Lancey was struck down during the battle of Vimy Ridge, Arthur Osborne Blois took temporary charge of the 25th Battalion. Blois was a Halifax accountant and bookkeeper born on 28 June 1885. He first volunteered with 40th Battalion before receiving a commission with the 64th in summer 1915. After the breakup of that unit, he joined the 25th in August 1916.

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The Bald

Lieutenant Colonel Stan Bauld
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionBauldDS

Col. Bauld was in command and I must say that he has done good work for the whole time that he was out there. He was such that no matter who the man was he would do all in his power to assist him.

(Lieut. Lewis, Over the Top with the 25th, 1918)

Duncan Stanley Bauld was a commercial traveler born in Halifax on 16 April 1884. He belonged to the 66th Regiment and enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel G. A. LeCain’s 25th Nova Scotia Rifles. Following the poor performance of the battalion during its first action in late September, LeCain and his senior major were sacked. Edward Hilliam was appointed to take command and Bauld was promoted to second-in-command.

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The Leader

Major James A. De Lancey, M.C. †
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionDeLancey

Previously reported Missing, believed Killed, now Killed in Action. While leading his Battalion in the attack on Vimy Ridge and just as he reached the enemy second line, he was instantly killed by a bullet through the head.

(Circumstances of Death, 9 Apr 1917)

A civil engineer and graduate of McGill University, James Arnold DeLancey was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia on 15 July 1880. He originally enlisted in A. G. Vincent’s 40th Battalion before joining the 25th as adjutant. In the absence of Lieutenant Colonel D. S. Bauld, command fell to DeLancey to led the battalion over the top at Vimy Ridge.

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The Incompetent

Lieutenant Colonel G. A. LeCain
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) BattalionLeCain

As I was merely a private at the time I do not know what really transpired; but we never saw the colonel at all that night.

The Germans, however, failed to get into our trenches; and up to this day the 25th can with perfect truth declare that they never failed in the critical hour, for if we did not always have competent officers at the head of the battalion we certainly had them in our companies..

(Lieut. Lewis, Over the Top with the 25th, 1918)

George Augustus LeCain, a fruit farmer and militiaman with twenty-five years in the 69th Regiment, was authorized to raise the 25th Battalion from Nova Scotia in October 1914. He was born on 21 September 1862 in Round Hill, Annapolis County. The 25th Battalion deployed to France In September 1915 as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Within weeks, the battalion leadership would be overhauled for the alleged incompetence and cowardice of several senior officers.

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The Regimental

Lieutenant Colonel Claude H. Hill, D.S.O.
Royal Canadian RegimentCHHill

For conspicuous gallantry when in command of his battalion. He repelled several attacks and displayed great coolness and courage in directing bodies of men under heavy fire.

(Hill, D.S.O. citation, 19 Aug 1916, 8226)

Born in Halifax on 30 August 1881 in Claude Hardinge Hill joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1901. He volunteered to fight in the Boer War but arrived to South Africa just one day before the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed to end the war. In November 1914, he joined to the 24th Victoria Rifles Battalion as second-in-command.

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Father Christmas

Lieutenant Colonel G. B. Laurie
1st Battalion, Royal Irish RiflesLaurie

I used to be up at cockcrow when a small child on Christmas Day, to see what Santa Claus had brought me, and I shall be up early enough to-morrow in all conscience too, but for a different reason—standing to arms—so that I shall not get my throat cut.

Best of love to you for Christmas. Whilst you are in church I shall be in the trenches, but both doing our rightful duty, I trust.

(Lt-Col. Laurie to Wife, 24 Dec 1914)

On 25 December 1914, George Brenton Laurie described the Christmas truce in No Man’s Land as “English and German, begin to swarm out to meet each other.” Suspicious, Laurie initially held his men back before going to investigate himself. The Germans complimented the colonel on his battalion’s marksmanship and were eager to learn if the Canadian Division had arrived yet. The armistice held for two days until both sides resumed the fighting.

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