Lieutenant Colonel D.R. Street
77th (Ottawa) Battalion
I merely add without comment, we hear that the men of the 77th battalion in Ottawa looted the Parliament Buildings the night of the fire. I am prepared to say this—I never thought it worth mentioning it, but my attention was brought to it yesterday–that the men of the 77th, as well as the Engineers, conducted themselves in the most orderly and becoming manner on that night…
(Sam Hughes, Debates, 16 Feb 1916, 855)
Douglas Richmond Street was a member of the Governor General’s Foot Guards and director of the Ottawa Electric & Gas Company. He was born on 19 June 1864 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In spring 1915, he was selected to raise a battalion from the Ottawa area.
Lieutenant Colonel J.Y. Reid
179th (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Battalion
He proved himself an excellent Group Commander, energetic and capable, and concerned for the comfort of the men under his command.
(Labour Commandant, Second Army, 13 Jan 1919)
John Young Reid Jr. was a department store manager and merchant in Winnipeg. Born in Toronto on 30 June 1871, he was the son of John Reid Sr., publisher of the Toronto Globe. After working as a clerk in Toronto, the younger Reid moved to Manitoba in 1907. He was one of the first officers in the 79th Cameron Highlanders and became senior major of the 179th Battalion in January 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel G.K.W. Watson
190th (4th Winnipeg Rifles) Battalion
Civilians ought to remember that things which thrill them would not excite returned soldiers. They have seen too many strange unusual sights in France to he moved by flag-flapping and bugle blowing. No civilian, however old he might live lo be can see with the eyes of a man who has passed through hell and out again.
(Watson, Winnipeg Tribune, 9 April 1919, 3)
George Kelsey William Watson was a Winnipeg insurance broker born in Wingham, Ontario on 12 January 1882. A member of the 90th Rifles, Watson enlisted as a captain with the 8th Battalion in September 1914. Wounded and shell shocked at Second Ypres, he was invalided to Winnipeg to raise the 190th Battalion. Continue reading
Lieutenant Colonel Harold J. Riley
27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion
For conspicuous gallantry and able leadership. During four days’ hard fighting, when his battalion was continuously making attacks at short intervals, his gallantry and indomitable energy inspired his men to their utmost efforts.
(Riley, D.S.O. Bar Citation, 11 Jan 1919)
Harold James Riley was the third commanding officer of the 27th Battalion. The son of prominent Winnipeg civic leader, Robert Thomas Riley, he was born on 29 November 1887. Riley was a graduate of University of Manitoba, a lawyer and amateur football and hockey player.
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.