The Northman

Lieutenant Colonel R. A. Gillespie
226th (Men of the North) BattalionGillespie

An ardent lover of outdoor life and successful participant in many manly sports, a natural leader of men, understanding thoroughly the life and character of the Western man, the Colonel with his splendid military knowledge, especially in machine gun and musketry, is eminently fitted to command any Canadian Battalion, but particularly one containing so large a percentage of Western men as the 226th.

(226th Overseas Battalion, C.E.F, 1916, 3)

A native of Winnipeg, Robert Alexander Gillespie was born on 24 January 1881. He was a trained druggist and chemist. In 1912, he had helped to organize the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry. Gillespie joined the 61st Battalion as junior major until he received authorization to raise the 226th from northern Manitoba in November 1915. Dubbed the “Men of the North,” the 226th officers considered their volunteers “physically superior” to the other battalions

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