Lieutenant Colonel Billy Marshall, D.S.O. †
15th (48th Highlanders) Battalion
The list of honors for the second battle of Ypres was out and my name had been omitted.
I was pleased, however, to see that Major Marshall, my second in command whom I had recommended for “mention in dispatches,” had received a D.S.O. He was a professional soldier and this meant much more to him than it did to me. He was later to fall in the front line trenches the victim of a German sniper. A great athlete, a splendid soldier, a universal favorite, Canada and the Empire could ill spare such a man. His solicitude for his men was such that I have known him to give his clothing to some ailing private. He was one of the bravest, truest and kindest of Canadians.
(Currie, The Red Watch, 1916, )
William Renwick Marshall was an amateur athlete and Boer War veteran with over twenty years’ service in the militia. Born in Hamilton on 20 March 1875, he played cricket while a student at Upper Canada College and toured the United States and Britain with the Canadian Zingari between the 1890s to the 1910s. He fought bravely at the second battle of Ypres and shortly thereafter assumed command of the 15th Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Shaw †
6th and 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
Never was there a more popular or respected Commanding Officer. It was a common feeling throughout the battalion, that it was entirely due to the good advice and excellent management of our colonel that the casualties of the battalion were kept so low during the earlier part of our tour in the salient, and I don’t think there were any of us but would have gone anywhere with him, as like all good soldiers he never asked a man to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.
(Trooper C. S. Cole to Mrs. Shaw [wife], Jul 1916)
Alfred Ernest Shaw was presumed killed in action defending the front line against a German assault on 3 June 1916. His body was never found. Born in Millbrook, Ontario, on 21 November 1881, he was a former NWMP constable and member of the 3rd Dragoons and Lord Strathcona’s Horse.
Lieutenant Colonel A. H. G. Kemball, D.S.O. †
54th (Kootenay) Battalion
So Kemball was ignored. That gallant officer—the adjective in his case is deserved—defied orders and refused to stay in the rear when his men were in peril. He led them personally on an attack he knew was futile.
(Pierre Burton, Vimy, 1986, 129)
Born in Belgaum, India on 4 January 1861, Arnold Henry Grant Kemball was a professional soldier with thirty-two years’ experience in the Indian Army. A veteran of the Gurkha Rifles, Kemball served in the Hazara Expedition (1888), the North West Frontier (1897) and Tirah Campaign (1898). He retired as commander of the 5th Gurkhas in 1910 and moved to British Columbia.
Major James A. De Lancey, M.C. †
25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) Battalion
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.
Lieutenant Colonel Archie Hay †
52nd (New Ontario) Battalion
It is with the deepest regret that the Battalion chronicles the disappearance of its Colonel, Lieut. Col. Hay, on this date.
(52nd Bn. War Diary, 3 June 1916, 7)
Born on 8 November 1873 in Quebec City, Archibald Walter Hay was a militia officer with the 8th Royal Rifles and noted marksman. During the 1912 Governor General’s prize shooting match organized by the Dominion Rifle association, Hay scored twenty-one consecutive bullseyes.
Lieutenant Colonel R. McD. Thomson †
43rd (Cameron Highlanders) Battalions
Robert McDonnell Thomson, officer commanding the 43rd Battalion, who died at Albert. France, Oct. 8 1916, as a result of wounds, and who was believed to be one of the wealthiest men in Winnipeg, died insolvent.
(Winnipeg Tribune, 28 August 1918, 1)
Born on 4 July 1869 in Hamilton, Ontario, Robert McDonnell Thomson was a veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and founder of the 78th Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Although on the reserve list at the outbreak of the Great War, Thomson raised the 43rd Battalion from Winnipeg and sailed for England in June 1915. The Cameron Highlanders deployed to France with 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division in February 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel William D. Allan, D.S.O. †
3rd (Toronto Regiment) Battalion
Since going into the trenches he was three times wounded, and mentioned in dispatches for many acts of signal bravery. The people of Canada still vividly recall the story of heroism when he went with another soldier into No Man’s Land under heavy fire to carry in a wounded comrade. The man was struck by a bullet and killed as they were carrying him to shelter. For this and other conspicuous acts of bravery he was awarded the D.S.O.
(Toronto Globe, 3 Oct 1916, 4)
William Donald Allan was a meteorologist and seventeen year member of the Queen’s Own Rifles. He was born in Toronto on 25 November 1879. Allan served as a company captain with the 3rd Battalion during the second battle of Ypres. After Robert Rennie was promoted to command the 4th Brigade, Allan took charge of the 3rd on 10 November 1915.
Major General Malcolm Mercer †
3rd Infantry Division
It is now fully believed here that General Mercer is dead.
Nothing whatever has been heard of him since and it is now considered almost certain that his body lies in the shell torn area where the former front trenches were, but are now practically obliterated.
(Montreal Daily Mail, 6 June 1916, 1)
Malcolm Smith Mercer was the highest ranked Canadian officer killed in the First World War. He was born on 17 September 1859 in Etobicoke, Canada West. While a student at the University of Toronto, he joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1881. He became commanding officer of the Regiment in 1911 and was posted to the 1st Infantry Brigade when the First Contingent assembled at Valcartier in August 1914.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. van Straubenzee †
Royal Canadian Dragoons
It was the C.O.’s intention to ride with “B” Sqdn. Whilst he was walking to his horse from a point where he had been reconnoitring, he was killed by a shell.
(R.C.D. War Diary, 9 Oct 1918, 9)
Charles Turner Van Straubenzee was a professional soldier and veteran of the Boer War. Born on 17 June 1876 in Kingston, Ontario, he was graduate of the Royal Military College and the University of Toronto. In 1898, van Straubenzee joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons as a lieutenant and distinguished himself in numerous battles during the South African campaign. He was promoted to major in 1911.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Creighton †
1st (Western Ontario) Battalion
On arrival of the H.Q. Staff of the 8th Battalion at Lt. Col. Creighton’s dugout, a very large calibre shell completely demolished the H.Q. Dugout burying Staffs of both regiments. Lt. Col. Creighton received wounds from which he never recovered consciousness. In this the Division lost a good Officer who had done valuable work that day.
(Gen. Lipsett, 2nd Brig. War Diary, 15 June 1916, 24)
Frank Albro Legion Creighton was born on 6 February 1875 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was a civil engineer living in Winnipeg. He enlisted in the 1st Battalion as a lieutenant and was promoted to second-in-command in the field. After Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Hill took over the 9th Infantry Brigade, Creighton assumed command of the Western Ontario battalion on 24 January 1916.