The Unlucky

Lieutenant Colonel Victor C. Buchanan, D.S.O. †
13th (Royal Highlanders of Canada) BattalionBuchanan

We then start to dig in where Col. Buchanan and Maj. Peterman had been buried but find their dead bodies. They must have died instantly. Apparently something must have exploded the gasoline and the shock brought in the weakest part of the dugout.

(Lieut. H.A. McCleave, 13th Bn., Diary, 28 Sept 1916)

During heavy German bombardment on the evening 26 September 1916, a shell struck the 13th Battalion headquarters. The explosion killed several senior officers including Lieutenant Colonel Victor Carl Buchanan. It was his forty-seventh birthday.

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The Berserker

Major Axel “Rass” Rasmussen †
97th (American Legion) BattalionRasmussen

Rasmussen was a big, handsome man; fearless in war and pitiless to four-flushers anywhere, any time.

(J. W. Pegler, Evening News, 26 June 1918, 2)

“But so far I’ve always found that a man has time to get down to avoid the fragments— if he moves fast. If it’s got your initials on it— well, no one but a prime so-and-so wants to live forever!”- Maj. Rasmussen

(E. S. Johnston,  Americans vs. Germans: the First AEF in Action, 1942, 33)

Axel Thorvald Rasmussen was one of the American Legion’s most famous members. The thirty-eight year old, Danish-born resident of Oregon was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. During the Mexico Revolution, he fought in support of General Obregón’s army. Regarding his previous fights as “mere skirmishes,” in 1916, Rasmussen traveled to Canada in order to join Lieutenant Colonel Wade Jolly’s 97th American Legion.

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The One-Eyed

Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Buller, D.S.O. †
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Buller

The question of the command of the battalion is now, I am glad to be able to tell you, admirably settled in the appointment of Buller with the temporary rank of Lieut.-Colonel. Although Farquhar can never be replaced, Buller will make a splendid commanding officer. He has, as of course you know, the absolute confidence of us all and is eminently qualified for the arduous duties which lie before him.

(Maj. Gault to Sam Hughes, 20 Apr 1915)

Hebert Cecil Buller succeeded Lieutenant Colonel F. D. Farquhar as commander of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry on 21 March 1915. The son of British Admiral Alexander Buller, he was born in 1881 in England. He joined the Rifle Brigade in 1900 and later became aide-de-camp to Governor General of Canada Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. In August 1914, Buller joined P.P.C.L.I. as the battalion adjutant.

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The Princess & The Guardsman

Colonel-in-Chief Princess Patricia of Connaught
PrincessPat&
Lieutenant Colonel F. D. Farquhar, D.S.O. †
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light InfantryFarquhar

So poor Francis Farquhar is dead; killed, as he would have wished it himself, in action, fighting for his own dear country and her Allies.

(London Times, 30 Mar 1915, 14)

Francis Douglas Farquhar was a Coldstream Guard and military secretary to the Governor General of Canada Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Born on 1 September 1874 in England, Farquhar had been a professional soldier and veteran of the Boer War and Somaliland.

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The Fighter

Lieutenant Colonel Russ Boyle †
10th (Canadians) BattalionBoyle

Words will not express the absolute sense of calamity which has struck every officer and man in the battalion since we have lost him. He was our ideal of a man and a leader and I can assure you that there was not one of us who did not feel to the very limit his loss.

(Captain Ross, 10th Bn. to Mrs. Laura Boyle [wife], 27 May 1915)

Russell Lambert Boyle was one of three CEF colonels killed in action during the second battle of Ypres in April 1915. Born on 29 October 1880 in Port Colbourne, Ontario, Boyle was active in the militia from a young age. He joined the Canadian Field Artillery in 1894 and served with the 15th Light Horse. During the Boer War, he volunteered and fought in South Africa. As a resident of Crossfield, Alberta, Boyle sat on the town council and owned a ranch.

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The Cavalryman

Lieutenant Colonel Sam Beckett †
75th (Mississauga) BattalionSBeckett

Col. Beckett ranked with the few most prominent and able military officers which Toronto and even Canada has produced in the present struggle abroad. That he was efficient and an authority on military tactics, particularly cavalry manoeuvers was attested when he was chosen one of the few officers who left here commanding battalions to take his regiment to France. He had innumerable friends in Toronto.

(Toronto World, 5 March 1917, 1)

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Gustavus Beckett of the 75th Battalion was killed in action during a March 1917 trench raid near Vimy Ridge. Born on 2 December 1869 in Toronto, Beckett was a partner in an architect firm with fellow Lt. Colonel W. C. V. Chadwick of the 124th Battalion. A student of military history and expert on the cavalry tactics of American Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, Beckett had been involved in the Canadian militia since 1893. At the outbreak of the war, he was commanding officer of the 9th Mississauga Horse.

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