Maj. Eaton

Major R.B. Eaton, M.P.P.
50th (Calgary) Battalion

Eaton

An exploding shell failed to wake me from my stupor but left me unable to sit down in the morning. Be it to the everlasting credit of my Acting O.C., Major R. B. Eaton who, after listening to my story, and knowing my record as a signaler and guide, not only exonerated me of the charge of Disobedience, but sent me back to a rest camp at Bouzincourt for two unforgettable weeks.

(Victor Wheeler, The 50th Battalion in No Man’s Land, 29)

Robert Berry Eaton was born in Turo, Nova Scotia on 5 August 1871. After serving in the Boer War, he settled in the North West Territories to become a farmer. He was elected to Alberta legislature in 1913 as the Liberal representative for Hand Hills. In January 1915, he enlisted in the 50th Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel E. G. Mason.

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Maj. Vanderwater

Major Roscoe Vanderwater, D.S.O.
2nd (Iron Second) Battalion

Vanderwater

Sharp at 4.45 one afternoon in broad daylight and under an almost cloudless sky, three companies under command of Major Vanderwater sprang from their trenches and advanced steadily toward the German line. In front of them our artillery laid down an intense barrage and out men followed so closely that they were almost in the midst of their own shells.

(The Weekly Ontario and Bay of Quinte Chronicle, 28 Sept 1916, 2)

Roscoe Dudley Vanderwater was a farmer and militia officer born in Foxboro, Sidney Township, Ontario on 6 January 1889. Shortly after the sudden death of his wife, in March 1915, he enlisted with Lieutenant Colonel J.A.V. Preston’s 39th Battalion from Belleville. After the 39th was broken up, Vanderwater reverted in rank from captain to lieutenant and joined the 2nd Battalion on the front.

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Lt. Cols. Cowan and McPherson

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Cowan
&
Lieutenant Colonel C.D. McPherson
McPherson

32nd (Portage la Prairie) Battalion

In view of the serious war situation I decided that I would write to you to ascertain what steps those of us located in this part of the world, and wishing to serve, should take … Just to what extent this U.S. neutrality law would restrain us, I do not know. However, I do know that there will be quite a large number who will offer to serve should hostilities break out.

(McPherson to defence minister, 24 Aug 1939)

Harry James Cowan was a Boer War veteran and commanding officer of the 18th Mounted Rifles. In November 1914, he was authorized to raise the 32nd Battalion from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He selected Major Charles Duncan McPherson, of “C” Squadron in the 18th Mounted Rifles, as his second-in-command.

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Lt. Col. Parsons

Lieutenant Colonel Norval Parsons
246th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion

Col. Parsons, who was appointed to be second in command of the 185th Battalion, is a very strong Liberal.

 It is a fact as reported to me that great credit is taken by the Liberal party in Nova Scotia for the organization of the Highland Brigade. Yet my hon. friend stands on the floor of this Parliament and says that the whole thing is honeycombed with politics.

(Robert Borden, Debates, 6 May 1916, 3545)

A senior officer with the 85th, 185th and 219th Battalions, Norval Henry Parsons was promoted to command the 246th in August 1916. The latest Nova Scotia battalion was designated as a reserve unit for the expected formation of a Highlander Brigade. Parson was born in Kingston, Nova Scotia on 25 March 1868. He was a lifelong militiaman and former commanding officer of the 68th Regiment.

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Lt. Col. Winsby

Lieutenant Colonel W.N. Winsby
47th (British Columbia) Battalion
Winsby

Had long interview with Col. Winsby, 47th Bn. over charges made against his ability as C.O. by Gen. Hilliam, & I gave him until tomorrow morning to send me in, in writing, his answer to these charges.

(Gen. David Watson, 4th Division, 8 Mar 1917)

The charges against Winsby are of so contrived a character and now so serious to his battalion and brigade, that I am compelled to recommend his removal from command.

(Gen. Watson, 4th Division, 20 Mar 1917)

William Norman Winsby was a Victoria teacher, principal and school inspector. He was born on 28 October 1874 in Leyburn, Yorkshire, England. He was a twenty-year member of the 5th Regiment and succeeded Arthur Currie as commanding officer in January 1914. At the end of that year, he received authorization to raise the 47th Battalion from New Westminster in November. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Ralston

Lieutenant Colonel J.L. Ralston
85th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Ralston

An extremely reliable and determined Officer. He is cheerful, conscientious and tactful, with plenty of energy and drive. Well-balanced and a man of the World with plenty of ability. He learns readily, and is good at imparting knowledge. He has imagination and initiative and handles troops well.

(Senior Officer’s Course, 6 Mar 1918)

Born in Amherst on 27 September 1881, James Layton Ralston was a law graduate from Dalhousie University and Liberal member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly (1911–1920). He enlisted as a lieutenant in Allison Hart Borden’s 85th Battalion, and twice commanded the unit in the field during summer 1917 and the latter half of 1918. Multiple times wounded in action, Ralston won the Distinguished Service Order and Bar for great pluck and leadership.

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The Chief

Lieutenant Colonel A. T. Thompson
114th (Brock’s Rangers) Battalionthompson

The ancestors of these men fought for Great Britain in every battle on the Niagara frontier in the War of 1812, and were with General Brock in large numbers when he fell at Queenstown Heights. To this day they venerate his memory, and the name for which I ask, Brock’s Rangers would greatly add to our prestige with them, and gratify them exceedingly.

(A.T. Thompson to Militia Department, 25 Mar 1916)

 Andrew Thorburn Thompson was editor of the Canadian Military Gazette and Liberal MP for Haldimand and Monck (1900—1904). Born on 27 May 1870 in Indiana, Ontario he belonged to a prominent Ontario Liberal Party. His father had been a provincial politician and his grandfather had fought in the War of 1812. A member of the 37th Haldimand Rifles since 1893, Thompson took command of the 114th Battalion after the death of the original colonel, E. S. Baxter on 15 February 1916.

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The Farmer

Lieutenant Colonel T. Bart Robson
135th (Middlesex) Battalion
Robson

Experience teaches that a recruiting meeting in the Country has to be of the nature of an entertainment in order to draw the crowd.

(Robson, 14 Feb 1916)

Born in London, Canada West on 24 January 1859, T. Bartholomew Robson was a farmer with thirty years’ experience in the militia. As commanding officer of the 26th Middlesex Light Infantry, he was authorized to raise the 135th Battalion from Middlesex County in November 1915. When the unit arrived in England in August 1916, it was broken up and the troops were divided among the 116th, 125th and 134th Battalions.

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The Physician

Lieutenant Colonel Dr. George Clingan, M.L.A.
79th (Manitoba) BattalionClingan

Col. Clingan made an eloquent appeal for recruits, “Don’t let your children-to-be say in the after years, ‘My daddy was too cowardly to fight in the big war.’”

(Winnipeg Tribune, 11 Mar 1916, 12)

George Clingan was a doctor and Liberal member for Virden in the Manitoba legislature between 1914 and 1922. He was born on 28 March 1868 in Orangeville, Ontario and graduated from the Toronto Medical College. After moving his medical practice to Manitoba, he joined the 12th Dragoons in 1898, rising to the rank of major. He raising the 79th Battalion from Brandon and sailed to England in April 1916.

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The Opposition

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas B. Welch
99th (Essex) Battalion Welch

We recruited more than three thousand men here, and could have gotten as many more had not the Government put an end to voluntary enlistment by throwing a political monkey wrench into the machinery.

It was for the same reason that the county battalions, one of which I took to England, were broken up into drafts for other units.

(Welch’s Speech, Toronto Globe, 7 Dec 1917, 12)

Thomas Baird Welch was a chemist and commanding officer of the 26th Middlesex Light Infantry. He was born on 10 April 1867 in Kilwinning Scotland. He went overseas with the First Contingent in October 1914 and served as a major with the 1st Battalion in France from April to May 1915. He joined the 1st Division command staff until he returned to Canada in December 1915 to raise the 99th Battalion.

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