Col. Nelles

Colonel Charles M. Nelles
Royal Canadian Dragoons

It will thus be seen that he had enjoyed the exceedingly unique distinction of having served his Sovereign and country on three occasions, the Canadian Rebellion, the Boer War and the world hostilities, which broke out in 1914. His military honors were many. He was mentioned in dispatches, awarded the D.S.O. and became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

(Brantford Expositor, 15 Feb 1936)

Born in Brantford, Canada West on 31 August 1865, Charles Mecklan Nelles was a Permanent Force soldier and veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and the Boer War. In summer 1914, his son Norman, who had just received a commission at RMC, joined a British Army regiment while his son Percy was already serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. On 29 January 1915, Second Lieutenant Norman Nelles of the Northamptonshire Regiment was killed in France. Four months later his father went to France as commander of the Canadian Dragoons, which fought dismounted as part of the 1st Canadian Division.

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The Dragoon

Lieutenant Colonel C. T. van Straubenzee †
Royal Canadian DragoonsStraubenzee

It was the C.O.’s intention to ride with “B” Sqdn. Whilst he was walking to his horse from a point where he had been reconnoitring, he was killed by a shell.

(R.C.D. War Diary, 9 Oct 1918, 9)

Born on 17 June 1876 in Kingston, Ontario, Charles Turner Van Straubenzee was a professional soldier and veteran of the Boer War. In 1897, he joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons as a lieutenant and distinguished himself in numerous battles during the South African campaign. He was promoted to major in 1911.

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The Party Hack

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Muirhead
219th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) BattalionMuirhead

When the war broke out one of the very first to volunteer from the province of Nova Scotia, and to place his services unqualifiedly at the disposal of his King, was Major Muirhead.

For nine months Major Muirhead has been in the trenches, and for the last four months of that period he has been a member and in charge of a bombing party, which you know, Sir is the most dangerous branch of the service.

(F. B. McCurdy, Debates, 28 Jan 1916, 398)

In summer 1914, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court indicted William Harry Muirhead on eight counts of electoral fraud and perjury. Muirhead, a Conservative political operator, had allegedly secured a February 1914 provincial by-election in Victoria County through bribery and forgery. After the outbreak of the Great War, the embattled party bagman joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons, or as Liberal MP Daniel Duncan McKenzie intimated, “Major Muirhead fled the country on the pretext that he was going to war.”

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