Lt. Col. Gordon

Lieutenant Colonel H.D.L. Gordon
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Gordon

Canadian accounting principles are whatever Clarkson Gordon does.

(Col. Gordon quoted in Stephen Azzi, Walter Gordon and the Rise of Canadian Nationalism, 16)

Harry Duncan Lockhart Gordon was born in Toronto on on 29 July 1872. After attending Upper Canada College and the Royal Military College, Gordon trained as an accountant in England. By the outbreak of the Great War, he had become a prominent Toronto businessman in the accounting firm Clarkson Gordon & Co and commanding officer the 9th Mississauga Horse. He joined the 4th CMR as a major in December 1914.

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Lt. Col. S.F. Smith

Lieutenant Colonel Sandford F. Smith
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
SmithSF

This Officer while on training duty in France was thrown by his horse and sustained a fracture of the head of the left humerus. He was evacuated to England June 10th 1917, and has been a patient at Helena Hospital until to-day, when he was discharged as completely recovered.

(Proceedings of Medical Board, 1 July 1917)

Born in Peterborough, Ontario on 4 May 1873, Sandford Fleming Smith was the grandson of famed Scottish-Canadian engineer Sir Sandford Fleming. Smith was a Toronto architect, former member of the Queen’s Own Rifles and commanding officer of the Governor-General’s Body Guard.

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Lt. Col. Patterson

Lieutenant Colonel W.R. Patterson
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Patterson

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

J.M. Patterson, ex-Mayor of Paris this morning expressed doubt that it is his son, Lt.-Col. W.R. Patterson who was yesterday reported to have been raised to the rank of Brigadier. Lt.-Col. Patterson is in command of the 4th CMR, while another officer, Lt.-Col. R.W Paterson, attached to the Fort Garry Horse, is the on who has received promotion. Similar confusion has arisen before as both officers have won the D.S.O.

(Brantford Courier, 5 June 1918)

William Reginald Patterson was born on 1 December 1884 in Paris, Ontario where he father was later three time mayor. The younger Patterson worked in his father’s grocery and glassware store before enlisting in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, which by the end of the war he would command. Their very similar names meant he was frequently confused with Brigadier Robert Walter Paterson of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

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Lt. Col. Stevenson

Lieutenant Colonel H.I. Stevenson
1st Canadian Mounted Rifles and Fort Garry Horse
Stevenson

When our line was temporarily pierced, he led a charge with great skill and dash, by which the enemy were driven back and a new line established. He succeeded in establishing communication with the troops on his right flank, and though heavily outnumbered maintained this line until relieved by fresh infantry units. His prompt action and cool leadership were the means of allowing two battalions of infantry, who were in danger of being cut off, to withdraw safely to our line.

 (D.S.O. Citation, Gazette, 22 June 1918)

Herbert Irving Stevenson was in Richibucto, New Brunswick on 17 July 1878. After serving in the Boer War he moved west to Manitoba in 1903. He began working for the Dominion Forestry Service in 1912. He organized the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914 but was replaced a year later when the mounted rifles became infantry.

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Lt. Col. Johnston

Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Johnston
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles
GCJohnston

During the morning of February 3rd [1916], I had the honour of a visit from General Currie, one I did not at all appreciate, as he at once proceeded to reduce me to a nervous wreck by putting me through a whole catechism of questions as to where I was to go, and what I would do with my company in the event of the Huns breaking through the front line. At this point, when I was thoroughly uncomfortable, the Bosche commenced to shell the hill and some shrapnel, coming through the roof, wounded one of our batmen, Hawkins, broke a window and ended the interview, much to my relief. Ten minutes after the general left the shelling became more intense, and before it finished we had fourteen casualties.

 (G. Chalmers Johnston, 2nd CMR in France and Flanders, 18)

George Chalmers Johnston was born in London, England on 21 April 1874. A general agent in British Columbia with the 30th B.C. Horse, Johnston enlisted in Lieut. Col. J.C.L. Bott’s 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles as a captain in December 1914. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Laws

Lieutenant Colonel Burnett Laws
1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
Laws

During the last war I served 41 months in France as Adjutant, 2nd in Command and Officer Commanding of a fighting Battalion — so surely my experience in the handling of me could be put to some use. I have kept pretty well posed in the changes made during the time elapsed since going on the reserve of officers and with a Refresher course could take hold of a Battalion or even a Brigade and whip it into shape. As you know I qualified for the command of a fighting Battalion which at the end of the last war had a reputation second to none in the Canadian Corps.

(Col. Laws to Military District No. 12, 22 May 1940)

Burnett Laws was a former North West Mounted Police constable, Boer War veteran and member of the 22nd Saskatchewan Light Horse. Born in Northumberland, England on 3 March 1877, he immigrated to Canada in 1897. After retiring from the NWMP in 1904, he became a farmer in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

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Lt. Col. Ryan

Lieutenant Colonel Robert H. Ryan
6th Canadian Mounted RiflesRyan

Ryan, who was already a nervous wreck as a result of harrowing experience in the trenches, was demoralized completely by the new tragedy. He came to London unmindful of everything, and disregarded the order for his return to the front. The sequel came in the Gazette’s announcement he had been dismissed by court-martial.

(Washington Post, 5 Nov 1915, 6)

It does seem darned shame that a man like this, although he was a good fellow and a good officer should get these ghost stores of himself put into the papers. It makes the whole thing into a screaming farce.

(Gen. John Carson to Sam Hughes, 18 Dec 1915)

Following a court martial for disobeying orders, Robert Holden Ryan was stripped of command of the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles, cashiered from the CEF and sent home in disgrace. A sympathetic article in the Washington Post called Ryan’s dismissal “one of the most tragic stories of the war.” The real story was not so simple.

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Lt. Col. Bott

Lieutenant Colonel J. C. L. Bott
2nd Canadian Mounted RiflesBott

I was not drunk on the 3rd of Oct 1916 … I had nothing to drink since 12:30pm on that day. I had a drink in the morning with Major Laws and I had three more … I brought a bottle of whiskey on the morning in question … As a rule I take about five drinks a day. Spread out through the day. I never have a drink alone.

(Lt. Col. Bott, general court martial, 7 Nov 1916)

Born in Marden, Wiltshire, England on 24 August 1872, John Cecil Latham Bott was a professional British soldier and cavalryman. He was a member of the 20th Hussars from 1895 to 1909, and served in Egypt and South Africa. He immigrated to Vernon, British Columbia after the Boer War and helped to organize the 30th Horse.

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Lt. Col. Ussher

Lieutenant Colonel J.F.H. Ussher
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Ussher

In view of the foregoing the people who are providing the taxes for this well-deserved bonus to the soldiers should insist that all strings to the payment should be removed. Don’t let some Government appointee be the sole judge– the soldier’s record of service must decide!

(Ussher to Globe and Mail, 18 Aug 1944, 16)

During the battle of Mont Sorrel on 2 June 1916, John Frederick Holmes Ussher became trapped in a collapsed tunnel during heavy German shelling. He was wounded and captured. He spent the next two and a half years a prisoner of war. Continue reading

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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