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.
Major L.P.O. Tudor, D.S.O. to be acting O.C. as from 29-6-17. Major I.L. Crawford to be C.O. during temporary absence of Major L.P.O. Tudor, D.S.O. on leave from 29-6-17. Major J.G. Anderson to be 2nd in Command while Major Crawford is acting as C.O. 29-6-17.
(5th Bn. War Diary, 4 July 1917)
Following the promotion of Hugh Dyer to brigadier general at the end of June 1917, Lorn Paulet Owen Tudor assumed command of the 5th Battalion. A native of England, he was born on 3 July 1876. He had served for three years in the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry before moving to Canada and joining the British Columbia Horse. At the time of his enlistment with Lieutenant Colonel Tuxford’s 5th Battalion in September 1914, Tudor worked as a rancher in Saskatchewan.
The cost of this tremendous war cannot be stated in terms of the Stock Exchange, for life and happiness mean infinitely more than dollars and cents.
Who can assess the value of a genial disposition, a kindly, sympathetic nature, a forceful personality, a large heart, a noble, earnest spirit?
(The Canadian Machine Gunner, June 1917, 12)
Born on 1 June 1871 in Covington, Kentucky, Walter Wilson Stewart immigrated to Canada with his family as a boy. He pursued a career in architecture, working in Hamilton and Cleveland, Ohio. In the Canadian militia, he served for two years with the 13th Regiment and twelve years with the 91st Highlanders. Beginning in 1915, he organized the 86th Battalion based in Hamilton with former 4th Battalion commander Robert H. Labatt.
…the barren earth erupted humanity. From dugouts, shell holes and trenches, men sprang into action, fell into military formations and advanced to the ridge–every division of the corps moved forward together. It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then, and I think today, that in those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation.
(Brig. Gen. Ross, History of the 28th Battalion, 1961, preface)
Alexander Ross was a Saskatchewan lawyer who rose from a militia lieutenant to brigadier general of the 6th Infantry Brigade. Born on 2 December 1880 in Forres, Harashire, Scotland, Ross immigrated to Regina in the Northwest Territories with his family at the age of six. After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a law degree, Ross became a barrister with King’s Counsel and joined the 95th Rifles. In December 1914, he enlisted as a company commander with the 28th Battalion recruited from Saskatchewan.
His figure is as erect as of yore in defiance of his 88 years. He embodies the spirit of those Scarlet Riders who brought law and order to the plains, brought joy to law-abiding folk and spread dismay among the lawless. This picturesque personality is Col. J. B. Mitchell, clear-eyed, soft-spoken, alert as becomes those who are still interested in current events and “tomorrow.” His long service in military and civilian life has not drooped those massive shoulders, nor bowed the finely-posed head. Lacking but two inches of six feet, he is so well sot up that an observer would scarcely suspect his weight to be 200 pounds. That’s what athletic training and outdoor life will do for a busy man.
(Col. G. C. Porter, Winnipeg Tribune, 30 Nov 1940, 36)
James Bertram Mitchell was Architect and Commissioner of School Buildings and Supplies in Manitoba from 1892 until his retirement in 1928. Born on 14 October 1852 in Gananocque, Canada West, Mitchell was an adventurer, policeman and civic leader. At the age of fourteen, he volunteered as a bugler in the militia and participated in the Fenian Raid of 1866. During the second Fenian invasion scare in 1870, he guarded the Welland Canal at Cornwall. In 1874, he joined the North West Mounted Police.
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.