Lt. Col. Rhoades

Lieutenant Colonel W. Rhoades, D.S.O., M.C.
5th Canadian Mounted Rifles

Rhoades

Up to this time the Colonel’s cheery voice had always been heard, whenever a shell or bomb burst very near, calling “Are you all right. Captain?” — and I would answer, ”Yes, Sir, are you?” I was not badly hurt and called out, “Are you all right. Sir?” Getting no answer, I felt over for the Colonel, and found him lying unconscious, but breathing faintly. I cannot attempt to tell you how we got our dearly loved Commanding Officer out of the fire trench.

(Rhoades to Lt.-Col. Baker’s sister, 4 June 1916)

William Rhoades was a twenty-one year veteran of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Born in Nottingham, England on 15 September 1874, he immigrated to western Canada in 1893. He served with the Yukon Field Force during the Klondike gold rush and fought in the Boer War. On the formation of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915, Rhoades enlisted at the rank of captain.

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The Red-Baiter

Brigadier General D. C. Draper, D.S.O.
5th Canadian Mounted RiflesDraper

Crime is a destroying influence that inflicts more useless suffering than any other social evil upon many innocent, well-deserving and hard-working individuals.

(Draper, Montreal Gazette, 4 Oct 1934, 7)

At the battle of Mont Sorrel on 2 June 1916, an enemy shell struck Lieutenant Colonel Harry Baker, commander of the 5th CMR and MP for Brome. Despite being wounded and concussed himself, Major Dennis Colburn Draper carried the body of his mortally-wounded superior officer to rear and returned to the trenches. For his heroism Draper was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

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The Immortalized

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Baker, M.P. †
5th Canadian Mounted RiflesBaker

It has been the lot of other nations to have their legislators, their parliamentarians, even their kings put on the uniform of soldiers and go forth to battle and meet a patriot’s death, but so far it has been the lot of Canada only once.

(Arthur Meighen, Debates, 3 Mar 1924, 49)

George Harold Baker was the only sitting Canadian Member of Parliament killed in action during the First World War. Born in Sweetsburg, Quebec on 4 November 1877, Baker was Conservative MP for Brome (1911—1916) and commanding officer of the 13th Scottish Light Dragoons. He died in the battle of Sanctuary Wood on 2 June 1916. He is commemorated with a life-sized bronze statue in the Centre Block of the House of Commons.

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