Brigadier General Huntly Ketchen
6th Infantry Brigade
Gather round, boys, I want to have a little talk with you. You’ve been under my command about nine months now, and I’ve always been proud of you, and now you are going up the line, and I want to say this to you: Don’t go up with any idea that you are going to be killed—we want you all to take care of yourselves and not expose yourselves recklessly.
And remember a dead man is no use to us, we want you alive, and when we want you to put your heads up, we’ll tell you! And I’ve no doubt that you will only be too eager.
(Ketchen’s Speech, quoted in Pte. Jack O’Brien, Into the Jaws of Death, 1919, 54)
The son of an Indian Army officer, Huntly Douglas Brodie Ketchen was born in Sholopore, India on 22 May 1872. After graduating from the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, England, Ketchen moved to Canada, joined the North West Mounted Police in 1894 and fought in the Boer War. He was appointed to lead the 6th Infantry Brigade in May 1915.
Lieutenant Colonel J. E. Hansford
203rd (Hard and Dry) Battalion
He has also on different occasions intimated that he does not want to return to Canada, and has given the impression that he would “stall” off his return as long as possible.
He is the most unsatisfactory officer I have had to deal with, and since he has wilfully disobeyed an order and made a false statement, I think that disciplinary action should be taken … should he again return to this area, he will be placed under arrest.
(Col. Smart, Officer Commanding, Shorncliffe, 19 Oct 1917)
The son of Reverend William Hansford of Quebec, Jeffrey Ellery Hansford was born on 17 November 1864. He graduated from the University of Toronto and belonged to Loyal Orange Order No. 1307. A member of the 90th Winnipeg Rifles and major with the 144th Battalion, Hansford received authorization to raise the 203rd in February 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel Dan McLean
101st (Winnipeg Light Infantry) Battalion
If Canada, a self-governing nation, as part of the British Empire, but free and independent, should be attacked, what would Great Britain do? Every one knows she would fly to our assistance with all her forces. Canada will not do less. Every Canadian should be prepared, and I believe is prepared, to stand shoulder to shoulder for the unity of the Empire.
(McLean to Montreal Daily Star, 3 Aug 1914)
In anticipation of war with Germany, Daniel McLean, commanding officer of the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry transmitted the above message vowing to support the Empire. McLean was a Winnipeg city councillor and Conservative member of the Manitoba legislature (1914—1915). Born on 4 January 1868 in Scotch Block, Ontario, he had moved to Winnipeg in 1893 and organized the 106th in 1912.
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh F. Osler
174th (Cameron Highlanders) Battalion
It makes me mad to see hundreds of fit men, a great many of whom can undoubtedly be spared, walking about and going to picture shows, without any thought of enlisting, when ten thousand of their fellow Canadians are either giving up their lives or being wounded every month.
(Hugh Osler to Edmund Osler, 8 Nov 1916)
Born in Toronto on 17 November 1881, Hugh Farquharson Osler was the son of Edmund Boyd Osler (1845—1924), prominent financier, banker and Tory politician. The elder Osler was Conservative MP for Toronto West between 1896 and 1917. After graduating from the Royal Military College, Hugh moved to Winnipeg where he worked for a corporate investment firm.
Lieutenant Colonel W. T. Edgecombe
183rd (Orange) Battalion
The pursuit of Brother Edgecombe is one of the most contemptible things that has happened in the politics of any Province.
It is just another instance of the implacability of political leaders. They expect men to violate their consciences, to ignore their convictions, to surrender their own views on public questions for the good of the party.
(Winnipeg Free Press, 17 Feb 1915, 22)
William Thomas Edgecombe was a Winnipeg city alderman, Grand Master of the Manitoba Loyal Orange Lodge. He was born in Harbor Grace, Newfoundland on 15 August 1868. He held various positions in publishing, engraving and banking before moving to Winnipeg in 1893. Although not active in the militia, Edgecombe was selected to raise the 183rd Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Hastings
250th (Polish) Battalion
Col. Hastings, in an address to the recruits promised to help out any of them to the best of his ability it ever they got in trouble.
(Winnipeg Tribune, 24 Mar 1920, 1)
William Henry Hastings was a newspaperman, crown prosecutor and barrister in Winnipeg. He was born in Peterborough, Canada West on 29 December 1858. In September 1916, he attempted to raise the 250th supported by the local Polish-Canadian community. The Polish language newspaper in Winnipeg, Czas, lauded the creation of a special battalion to fight “the traditional enemies of Poland” as “an historical event.” However, the 250th failed to reach strength and later merged with Lieutenant Colonel C. B. Keenlyside’s 249th Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel R. McD. Thomson †
43rd (Cameron Highlanders) Battalions
Robert McDonnell Thomson, officer commanding the 43rd Battalion, who died at Albert. France, Oct. 8 1916, as a result of wounds, and who was believed to be one of the wealthiest men in Winnipeg, died insolvent.
(Winnipeg Tribune, 28 August 1918, 1)
Born on 4 July 1869 in Hamilton, Ontario, Robert McDonnell Thomson was a veteran of the 1885 Rebellion and founder of the 78th Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Although on the reserve list at the outbreak of the Great War, Thomson raised the 43rd Battalion from Winnipeg and sailed for England in June 1915. The Cameron Highlanders deployed to France with 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division in February 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Daniel MacKay
196th (Western Universities) Battalion
The student, then, is working at high pressure and has no time for consideration of the subjects he is taught in the day. As a matter of fact he has no time to think for himself, and the consequence is that he must come out of the university more or less as a sort of stuffed fowl rather than a human being who can tackle a question and analyse it. We have found this not only with our own students but with students from elsewhere.
(MacKay, Medical Conference, 20 Dec 1924, 133)
Daniel Sayre MacKay was a Manitoba physician, graduate of McGill University, officer in the Cameron Highlanders and second-in-command of Lieutenant Colonel Snider’s 27th Battalion. The son of Conservative Senator William MacKay (1847—1915), Major MacKay was born in Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia on 20 January 1878. While serving overseas with the 6th Brigade headquarters, MacKay was selected to command the 196th raised from university students in western Canada.
Major George W. Andrews, D.S.O.
8th (Little Black Devils) Battalion
Until a few years ago, it was believed that to maintain peace you had to prepare for war and to have big armaments. Some people believe it to-day, but millions of people know that it is a lie; millions of women know that it is a lie; millions of soldiers know that it is a lie.
(Andrews, Debates, 2 Mar 1921, 474)
George William Andrews was born in Oxfordshire, England on 9 September 1869. He immigrated to Canada in 1890, settled in Winnipeg, worked in real estate and joined the 90th Rifles Regiment. He fought at Second Ypres with the 8th Battalion alongside his son, Captain George Frank Andrews. The elder Andrews was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in January 1916 but was soon forced from the field due to chronic asthma. One of his soldiers remembered him as “a grand old man” but regretted, “Too bad he was so old.”
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Creighton †
1st (Western Ontario) Battalion
On arrival of the H.Q. Staff of the 8th Battalion at Lt. Col. Creighton’s dugout, a very large calibre shell completely demolished the H.Q. Dugout burying Staffs of both regiments. Lt. Col. Creighton received wounds from which he never recovered consciousness. In this the Division lost a good Officer who had done valuable work that day.
(Gen. Lipsett, 2nd Brig. War Diary, 15 June 1916, 24)
Frank Albro Legion Creighton was born on 6 February 1875 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was a civil engineer living in Winnipeg. He enlisted in the 1st Battalion as a lieutenant and was promoted to second-in-command in the field. After Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Hill took over the 9th Infantry Brigade, Creighton assumed command of the Western Ontario battalion on 24 January 1916.