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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The Fabricator

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.”

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The Civil Servant

 Lieutenant Colonel J. R. Munro
8th Canadian Mounted Rifles
JRMunro

If Canada’s oldest civil servant (In point of years in Government employment) fails to write his memoirs as his friends are urging, invaluable Canadiana and a unique record of old Civil Service days in Ottawa, and of historic episodes in the environs of the House of Commons in the Eighties and Nineties, will be lost.

(Ottawa Journal, 3 Feb 1944, 5)

John Routh Munro was born in Ottawa on 12 August 1874. He was a venerable civil servant with the Trade and Commerce Department and a commanding officer of the 5th (The Princess Louise) Dragoon Guards. He raised the 8th Mounted Rifles from Ottawa beginning in January 1915.

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The Missing

Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Shaw †
6th and 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
Shaw

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.

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The Auditor

Lieutenant Colonel A. C. Kemmis
13th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Kemmis

Confidentially Kemmis is a drunken incompetent and his appointment will be regarded [as a] joke.

(R.B. Bennett to Borden, 14 Dec 1914)

The son of a British Army officer, Arthur Charles Kemmis was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick on 10 February 1874. He spent his youth in England and Ireland before returning to Canada in the 1890s. He moved west to establish a law practice at Pincher Creek. He formed the 23rd Alberta Rangers in 1910. In December 1914, Kemmis was authorized to organize the 13th Mounted Rifles based in his hometown.

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The Aggrieved

Lieutenant Colonel George C. Hodson, D.S.O.
9th Canadian Mounted Rifles & 1st BattalionCreighton1

Mr. Rutherford asked: …whether, seeing that this is his only remedy in cases where such officer’s immediate superiors have formed opinions which are not well founded, and would be disproved at once if the case came before officers of higher rank entitled to form their own judgment and hear the evidence and the explanations of the officer in question, he will state why a Court of inquiry is being withheld from Lieutenant-Colonel G. C. Hodson, D.S.O.

(Rutherford, Hansard, 26 Oct 1917, 1651)

George Cuthbert Hodson was born in New Shoreham, England on 21 July 1879. He was a bank manager in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan,  a veteran of the Boer War and commanding officer of the 22nd Horse. In December 1914, he organized the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles, which was used for reinforcements with the Canadian Cavalry Reserve Depot in England.

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The Immortalized

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Baker, M.P. †
5th Canadian Mounted RiflesBaker

It has been the lot of other nations to have their legislators, their parliamentarians, even their kings put on the uniform of soldiers and go forth to battle and meet a patriot’s death, but so far it has been the lot of Canada only once.

(Arthur Meighen, Debates, 3 Mar 1924, 49)

George Harold Baker was the only sitting Canadian Member of Parliament killed in action during the First World War. Born in Sweetsburg, Quebec on 4 November 1877, Baker was Conservative MP for Brome (1911—1916) and commanding officer of the 13th Scottish Light Dragoons. He died in the battle of Sanctuary Wood on 2 June 1916. He is commemorated with a life-sized bronze statue in the Centre Block of the House of Commons.

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