Lieutenant Colonel W.R. Smyth, MP
238th (Canadian Forestry) Battalion
Am extremely sorry that certain cables crossed and I inadvertently accepted nomination. I wired Robb withdrawing my acceptance … Please convey this to electorate at first opportunity. I depend on all loyal Canadians to support the Union Government and thereby help win the war. We need men and must have them.
(Smyth to G.B. Nicholson, Nov 1917)
William Ross Smyth was a lumber tycoon, Conservative MPP in the Ontario legislature (1902—1908 and federal MP for Algoma East (1908—1917). He was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on 3 January 1857. He was one of several sitting MP selected to recruit an overseas battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel G.V. White, MP
224th (Lumbermen) Battalion
We cannot be too generous in our treatment of our sailors, soldiers and airmen. I take it that this measure will recompense fairly generously the men and women who have served their country well. I believe the people of Canada will wholeheartedly endorse this very important legislation.
(Senator White, Debates, 11 Aug 1944, 452)
Gerald Verner White was Conservative Member of Parliament for Renfrew North. Born on 6 July 1879 in Pembroke, Ontario, he was the son of Peter White (1838—1906), a lumber tycoon and former Speaker of the House of Commons. After his father’s death, the younger White won a by-election for Renfrew North in 1906. A militia officer with the 42nd Regiment, White enlisted as senior major with J. F. De Hertel’s 130th Battalion in November 1915. By February 1916, he transferred to the 224th Foresters as second-in-command to Alexander McDougall. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel H.B. Tremain, MP
112th (Nova Scotia) Battalion
I would appeal for a greater measure of co-operation between the two great parties during the grave crisis through which our Empire is passing. When victory of democratic communities is achieved over the forces of autocratic despotism, represented by Kaiserism, then and not till then, let our political warfare again be waged…
(Tremain, Debates, 8 Mar 1915, 827)
Hadley Brown Tremain was a barrister and Conservative MP for Hants (1911—1921). He was born in Port Hood, Nova Scotia on 23 October 1874. He attended Windsor Collegiate and Kings College before receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1899. He defeated Liberal MP Judson Burpee Black in the 1911 election. After the outbreak of the Great War, Tremain endorsed a party truce, arguing that after the crisis there would “be time enough to re-engage in part recrimination and strife in this country.”
Lieutenant Colonel James Arthurs, M.P.
162nd (Timber Wolves) Battalion
But they wanted to go. One member of this House, Col. Arthurs—I read the most touching letter I have seen for many a day—is in the trenches. He had reduced his rank and gone over in spite of his son’s remonstrance from the trenches ordering his dad to get out.
(Sam Hughes, Debates, 6 Feb 1917, 574)
James Arthurs was a hardware merchant, self-styled gentleman and Conservative MP for Parry Sound (1908—1935). He was born on 3 October 1866 in Toronto. He raised the 162nd Battalion from his home county and proceeded to England in November 1916. Despite age restrictions on senior officers, the fifty-year old Arthurs reverted to captain and joined the 1st Battalion on the front in February 1917.
Lieutenant Colonel James D. Taylor, M.P.
131st (New Westminster) Battalion
Mr. Chairman, there is poison gas disseminated in connection with this war from other quarters than the trenches in the German line, and there is sniping equally disastrous to the cause of the war as that of the German sharpshooters. I am one of those colonels, commanding officers, of which the hon. gentlemen who act the part of political snipers in Canada speak so contemptuously in this House and through their press.
(J. D. Taylor, Debates, 6 Feb 1917, 565)
James Davis Taylor was a journalist and publisher in Ottawa and British Columbia and Conservative MP for New Westminster (1908—1917). He was born on 2 September 1863 in Abenaqui Mills, Canada East. During the Northwest campaign, he fought as a private with the Ottawa Sharpshooters at the battle of Cut Knife on 2 May 1885. After the Rebellion, he bought the Canadian Militia Gazette and later organized the 104th Militia Regiment in 1904. He led the 131st Battalion to England before returning to Canada in early January 1917.
Lieutenant Colonel George H. Bradbury
108th (Selkirk) Battalion
I confess frankly that at the moment when I was informed that my battalion was to be broken up and that my men were to be taken from me to go to the front, I felt hurt; I felt it was an injustice to myself and to my battalion.
Slurs have been thrown across the floor by more than one hon. gentleman opposite regarding the colonels how have gone overseas. I should like to say to some of these gentleman that they would occupy a much higher position in this country than they occupy if they had done what some of these returned colonel have done.
(Bradbury, Debates, 13 July 1917, 3384)
George Henry Bradbury was a Manitoba manufacturer and veteran of the Northwest Rebellion. Born on 25 June 1859 in Hamilton, Canada West, he had belonged to the Ottawa Dragoons as a young man and enlisted with the Boulton’s Scouts during the 1885 Rebellion. In 1908, he was elected MP for Selkirk. In November 1915, he became a growing number of Conservative MP authorized to raise a battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel John Stanfield, M.P.
193rd (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Colonel Stanfield has gone back to Canada and I guess that is the best place for him. He is no good anyway and after the boys get home again he won’t have so much to say.
(Clarence Reginald Gass to Lillian Gass, 29 Nov 1916)
John Stanfield was Conservative MP for Colchester (1907—1917) and chief government whip during the Borden Government. He was born on 18 May 1868 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was a member of the 76th Colchester and Hants Rifle Corps Reserve. In February 1916, he was authorized to raise the 193rd Battalion as a unit in Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Borden’s Highland Brigade. On his attestation form, Stanfield cited annual militia “camp drill” as prior military service.
Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Blondin, M.P.
258th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I cannot give him a better answer than this: Mr. Blondin took off his coat—
Sir Sam Hughes: Pardon me, Colonel Blondin.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: I stand corrected. There are so many colonels in this country that I had forgotten one. I am blessed with a pretty good memory, but there is a limit even to counting, and I do not know whether the ex-minister himself knows how many honorary colonels he has appointed. But let that pass.
(Debates, 18 June 1917, 2400)
Pierre Édouard Blondin was Conservative MP for Champlain and prominent French-Canadian minister in the Borden Cabinet. He was born on 14 December 1874 in St-François du Lac, Quebec. First elected to parliament in 1908, he became Minster of Revenue in 1914 and Secretary of State in 1915 before being appointed Postmaster General.
Brigadier General W. A. Griesbach, D.S.O.
49th (Edmonton Regiment) Battalion
I had an idea at one time, that after the war over half of the Canadian parliament would be men who had served in the war. I had an idea that it would be hardly possible for a man to be elected to parliament who had not served his country in the war on active service. Yet in the present parliament we have in the commons some nine men out of 235—no I beg pardon, 234, for one is a woman—who have served overseas.
(Griesbach speech, Ottawa Citizen, 3 May 1923, 3)
William Antrobus Griesbach was an Edmonton barrister, Conservative political figure and member of the 19th Alberta Dragoons. He was born in Fort Qu’Appelle, North-West Territories on 3 January 1878. A veteran of the Boer War, he was authorized to raise the 49th Battalion In January 1915. By October 1915, Griesbach and his Edmonton volunteers had deployed to France as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Canadian Division.
Honorary Colonel W. F. Cockshutt, M.P.&
Lieutenant Colonel M. E. B. Cutcliffe
125th (38th Regiment Dufferin Rifles) Battalion
The voluntary system as carried out, I think, has been a great credit to our people.
If it failed in any place, it failed because it was not pushed with sufficient vigour by the natural leaders of the people. And who are those leaders? The members of this House. The man who represents a constituency in this House is the first citizen in his riding, and he is the man who should have taken responsibility for recruiting in that riding.
(Cockshutt, Debates, 22 Jun 1917, 2601)
Authorized in November 1915, the 125th Battalion was initially to be raised by William Foster Cockshutt, Conservative MP for Brantford (1904—1908, 1911—1921). Recognizing his own limitations and lack of military experience, the sixty year-old parliamentarian turned over leadership to Captain Mostyn Elton Bluett Cutcliffe, senior officer of Dufferin Rifles.