Lt. Gen. Alderson

Lieutenant General Edwin Alderson
Canadian Corps


A great deal of my time is taken up in preventing men being appointed to command Brigades, Battalions, etc., who are not in the least fit, but who have influence. In most cases I have succeeded, and in others I have told them after they have been here a short time ‘I am very sorry, but it is my duty to tell you that you have not the experience, capacity, and above all, the personality to successful command men on active service,’ – and they have gone!

(Alderson to Robert Borden, 13 March 1916)

Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson was a professional British Army officer and first commander of the Canadian Corps. Born on 8 April 1859 in Capel St Mary, England, Alderson received his commission at seventeen and served in several African campaigns. He came out of semi-retirement after the outbreak of the First World War and was appointed to command the 1st Canadian Division in September 1914.  Due to disagreements about training, discipline, and officer selection, Alderson soon found himself subject to the vitriol and opposition of Canada’s bombastic militia minister Sam Hughes. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Green

Lieutenant Colonel Byron M. Green
164th (Halton and Dufferin) Battalion

Gen. Hughes was a fine martial figure in his uniform, and his girlish looking daughter looked even slighter than she would have done under other circumstances … “This is my girl – and she’s sent her husband to the front.”

I didn’t have to send him – he went himself,” Mrs. Green quickly retorted evidently jealous for the patriotism of her husband and the general smiled an indulgent acquiescence.

 (Toronto World, 7 Sept 1915)

Byron Malcolm Green was the son-in-law of Minister of Militia, Sir Sam Hughes. He was born in Leeds County, Ontario on 10 January 1886 and married Hughes’ daughter, Roby Mary Caroline, in October 1912. He was a banker, accountant, and stock broker with financial ties to Montreal, Toronto, and New York. In 1915, he enlisted as a lieutenant with the 36th Battalion. Continue reading

The Favourite Son

Major General Garnet Hughes
1st Infantry Brigade

I was importuned, threatened and bullied. I was told that Garnet Hughes would get the 1st Division, that there was a combination in England and Canada for him, that neither I, nor any man could beat; that his father wanted him to get the position and that God help the man who fell out with his father.

(Currie to E.O. McGillicuddy, c. 1925)

 Garnet Burk Hughes was the son of Militia Minister Sir Sam Hughes. Born in Toronto on 22 April 1880, he was a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and a railway engineer. In 1913, he formed the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders) with Arthur Currie. Although Hughes and Currie volunteered together in August 1914 on good terms, their friendship would not survive the war.

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