Col. Cameron

Colonel D. D. Cameron
17th Reserve Battalion

I expect you wondered why I asked you for Lieut. Col. D.D. Cameron’s address. The reason is because he is the father of my child. I have written to him twice and received no answer. I have given him over 6 months to make up his mind so that I need tell no one which he asked me on my honour no to, but I cannot possible afford to keep Baby myself because I work for a living, which he knew.

(Miss Ivy Smart to Canadian Overseas HQ, 31 Oct 1918)*

Daniel Duncan Cameron was born in Salt Springs, Nova Scotia on 15 March 1859. He had thirteen children with his wife Elizabeth “Bessie.” As a militia officer with the 78th Pictou Highlanders, he was appointed second in command of the 17th Battalion on the formation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On arrival in England, the 17th was used for reinforcements and then reorganized as a reserve battalion.

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Dishonoured Cheques

Lieutenant Ronald John Beck
8th Reserve Battalion

In conclusion, I would like to say that I have no one to blame but myself. It was caused by two things: Drink and women. I never knew the taste of liquor until I went to France. I still wish to stay in the army in any capacity whatsoever.

(Lt. R.J. Beck, court martial, 7 Jan 1918)

Beck comic page 1
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The Vanished Officer

Lieutenant Reginald J. Woods
The Lake Superior Regiment

An illustrated story of one officer featured in my book Scandalous Conduct: Canadian Officer Courts Martial, 1914–45.

On 16 August 1944, Lieutenant Reg Woods joined his regiment fighting in France. After being under enemy fire for the first time, he vanished the next day. Two months later, Woods resurfaced in London claiming amnesia. He was admitted to a neurological hospital as a possible psychiatric casualty. Was he a battle exhaustion case deserving treatment or a disciplinary problem? One doctor believed the amnesia genuine, but the hospital’s commanding medical officer suspected Woods was faking to conceal deliberate misconduct. He was arrested and charged with desertion.

Woods comic 1
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Lt. Col. Allen, Part III

Lieutenant Colonel Walter H. Allen
106th (Nova Scotia Rifles) Battalion
WHAllen

If these people at the front were at all suspicious of the manner of my wounding, why did they wait six months before laying a charge? When they heard of my promotion here they did not like it.

However, I am only doing my duty, willing to go anywhere I am sent, in any capacity, at any time, and the last charge in the world I expect to have laid at my door would be the charge of cowardice.

Having a clear conscious in this matter, I can look the whole world in the face and say ‘Not Guilty.”

(Lt. Col. W.H. Allen to adjutant-general, 29 Jan 1916)

Allen image 1

Read Part I here

Allen image 2

Read Part II here

In response to allegations that his wounds had been self-inflicted, Walter Harry Allen demanded a court of inquiry to clear his name. He received a leave of absence from recruiting the 106th Battalion to report overseas. He landed in England than proceeded to France where he faced a general court martial on 22 April 1916. He was charged under Section 16 of the Army Act – “behaving in a scandalous manner unbecoming an officer and a gentleman” – for intentionally wounding himself ten months earlier.

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Lt. Col. Allen, Part II

Lieutenant Colonel Walter Harry Allen
106th (Nova Scotia Rifles) Battalion

I had my suspicions at the time but on account of being very busy did not do anything. Later on it became common talk throughout the regiment. I talked the matter over with my Officers, but as Allen had gone to Canada we decided to keep it quiet. However, his boasting and newspaper talk, and his being appointed to command a Regiment has been too much for us all … I think in the interests of the service his cowardice and conduct should be exposed … 

His story was simply a joke.

(Lt. Col. W.T. Marshall, 15th Bn. to Sam Hughes, 4 Jan 1916)

Allen comic B1 a Continue reading

Lt. Col. Pagnuelo

Lieutenant Colonel Tancrède Pagnuelo
206th (Canadien-Français) Battalion
Pagnuelo

I know I deserve to be punished for a breach of discipline, but all I ask from you, gentlemen, is not to be prevented from doing what I wanted to do, namely, going to the Front. If you dismiss me from the service it will be quite impossible for a commanding officer to join the ranks as a private.

(Court martial of Lt. Col. Pagnuelo, Dec 1916)

Born in 1870, Tancrède Pagnuelo was a Montreal barrister and Conservative Party activist. He had unsuccessfully contested the riding of St. James in the 1900 federal election. A reserve officer with the 85th Regiment, Pagnuelo was appointed to raise the 206th Battalion from the districts of Beauharnois, Laprairie and Terrebonne in early 1916. He would prove to be one of the more unfortunate choices.

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