Lieutenant Colonel Sam Beckett
75th (Mississauga) Battalion
Vimy Ridge. 1 March 1917. Witnessing his battalion being cut to pieces, Lt. Col. Samuel Beckett advances into no man’s land to rally the retreating soldiers.
This deplorable affair has ruined him absolutely, and his character has been taken from him forever. His family and mother are heart-broken. For two years, since these things began, he has lived in a hell of torture, and whatever term he has to do he will be more than amply punished.
(Defence counsel Mr. Robinette, Toronto Globe, 9 May 1908, 4)
Colin Clark Harbottle assumed command of the 75th Battalion on 16 April 1917. He proved himself a dedicated leader through the last year and a half of the war and won the Distinguished Service Order for his “fine example of personal gallantry and determination.” Ten years, earlier Harbottle had been a disgraced fugitive from justice and convicted criminal.
The Bantam Battalion is no mere novelty, but will prove to be a real fighting unit, and the bantam’s motto might well be, Multum in Parvo [Much in Little], for they are every inch soldiers in breadth as well as height, and Gulliver would find them very tough Lilliputians to handle.
(Toronto Globe, 25 Feb 1916, 6)
Frank Lindsay Burton was born on 12 February 1876 in in Barrie, Ontario. After graduating from Upper Canada College he joined the 35th Simcoe Foresters. When he moved to Toronto, he served as a militia officer with the 9th Mississauga Horse. In 1915, he enlisted as a senior major with Lieutenant Colonel Sam Beckett’s 75th Battalion.
Col. Beckett ranked with the few most prominent and able military officers which Toronto and even Canada has produced in the present struggle abroad. That he was efficient and an authority on military tactics, particularly cavalry manoeuvers was attested when he was chosen one of the few officers who left here commanding battalions to take his regiment to France. He had innumerable friends in Toronto.
(Toronto World, 5 March 1917, 1)
Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Gustavus Beckett of the 75th Battalion was killed in action during a March 1917 trench raid near Vimy Ridge. Born on 2 December 1869 in Toronto, Beckett was a partner in an architect firm with fellow Lt. Colonel W. C. V. Chadwick of the 124th Battalion. A student of military history and expert on the cavalry tactics of American Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, Beckett had been involved in the Canadian militia since 1893. At the outbreak of the war, he was commanding officer of the 9th Mississauga Horse.