1st Canadian Mounted Rifles - 'Pop'

Lieut. – Colonel Walter Edward Maxfield  D.S.O. 1877 – 1964.

Born 20th September 1877. In the founding intake of forty-five at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury on 13th January 1890. (There was a visit to the boys at the Bishop’s Palace by the Bishop of Saskatchewan and Calgary in 1891). Left for Manitoba on his own from Liverpool on Thursday 23rd March 1893 on the S.S. ‘Parisian’, and farmed at Souris, Manitoba (Glenvale District). Walter Maxfield is on the out-going passenger list for the Parisian, leaving Liverpool on Thursday 23rd March 1893 for Halifax, Canada, the shortest route being 2,374 nautical miles.  Walter is listed as a 15-year old labourer.  Looking at the Canadian incoming lists, there is an entry for the Parisian arriving at Halifax on Easter Sunday 2nd April 1893 but many of the names have faded and are now illegible. He joined the 12th Manitoba Dragoons when the Souris unit was formed.

His brother Bert (Herbert, writing on Jan 30, 1965 said: "It was not given to me to be a soldier in the Boer War, although my heart was inclined so; but one of us had to remain to look after 2 farms (Walter's and my own) After Walter left, I had the hardest time of my whole life. Of course, you know all about it Nellie. Walter had made up his mind to take a 'Winter holiday' in Old England so he (& Charlie Gray) left to visit the land of their births. They missed the ocean liner they were to go on, and, as enlistments for the Boer War were in full swing, they both decided to enlist. All we farm boys had put in one month's training in the Canadian Mounted Rifles [He must mean the Manitoba Dragoons Militia, which provided troops to the C.M.R.] for three years each Summer, so when the two boys enlisted, they asked to be enrolled in the C.M.R. They both were accepted as Privates [Troopers]. Gray never rose any higher, but Walter was cited for bravery & was ranked as Captain, & as such, he enlisted for World War 1. He emanated as Lieut-Colonel, D.S.O. as you know. I felt - and still feel - very proud of his career (God rest his soul) I miss him still, and the long letters he used to send me; more so as most of our old correspondents have ceased to correspond - mainly because most of them have passed on to the 'Great Beyond.' Maybe we will meet again, in the hereafter; I hope so." 

He enlisted with the Canadian Forces in November 1899 for the South African (Boer) War, but missed his place at Winnipeg due to a train delay. He obtained a discharge and returned to England, then re-enlisted in the 41st Squadron Imperial Yeomanry (Hampshire) as Trooper 6982, and sailed for Capetown on Saturday April 14th 1900 (S.S. 'Canada'). He was wounded at Moori (Mooi) River, Natal in August, a bullet cutting clear through his right calf and entering the horse he was riding.

In action at: 
Hout Nek 1st May, 1900
Vet River 5th & 6th May, 
Zand River 10th May, 
Biddulphsberg 29th May, 
Lindley 1st June, 
Rhenoster River 11th June, 
Lindley 26th June, 
Bethlehem 6th & 7th July, 
Zilikats Nek 2nd August, 
Elands River 4th-16th August, 
Venterskroon 7th & 9th August, 
Frederickstad 17th - 25th October.

Back to Canada December 1901. Selected as a member of the Canadian Army to attend the Coronation of Edward Vll in June 1902. From 1902-1907 he was also with the North-West Mounted Police.   Between the Wars (Boer and WW1) he rose to command of ‘B’ squadron of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons.

(The Manitoba Dragoons were disbanded on the 1st June 1901. "A" Troop became "C" Squadron, Canadian Mounted Rifles, on the same date: 1st June 1901, and then became "B" Squadron, (at Souris), of the newly amalgamated five independent Canadian Mounted Rifles Squadrons as The XII (12th) Manitoba Dragoons on the 1st July 1903. Pop was in "C" Squadron C.M.R. from January to July 1902 - thus, the list of men with him for the Coronation Contingent are "C" Squadron C.M.R., who also appear listed on the 1902 photo at Regina as NWMP 'Recruits.')

After the outbreak of WW1 he was commissioned and posted to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, sailing from Montreal on the White Star R.M.S. ‘Megantic’ on June 12th 1915, arriving in England on the 21st. He fought with them throughout the war, apart from a spell in hospital after being wounded by shrapnel at Hooge outside Ypres on 31st March 1916. (He married Nellie Ellen Jacobs - 'Marsie', of Southsea, on 31st August 1916). He returned to France in November, was mentioned in despatches, and was awarded the D.S.O. for gallantry on Easter morning 1918; the particular incident being that he deployed and ordered his Company (which included several ‘boys’ from the Souris area who were with him in the Manitoba Dragoons) in a manner which enabled them to keep a numerically superior force of the enemy at bay through the night until reinforcements reached them just before dawn. He was with the 3rd Division at Mons on the morning of the Armistice. Promoted to Lt.-Colonel of the Battalion in July 1919. He returned to Canada on the S.S. ‘Celtic’ October 1919, from Liverpool to Halifax. Discharged in Winnipeg in Oct 1919, and awarded the Colonial Forces Decoration.

Returned to Salisbury, England in August 1920, and ran a garage importing agricultural machinery from the U.S., and doing car mechanical repairs and bodywork (W.E. Maxfield & Sons, Central Garage, Castle Street.). 

Registered as a member of the Local Defence Volunteers after Dunkirk, and served with the Mobile Column, 7th Wiltshire Home Guard from June 1940 as second in command under Major-General Geoffrey Brooke, DSO, MC, and commander of 'B' squadron. At his retirement supper on Thursday 13th January 1944 he said he was only sorry that he gave his correct age when joining. Had he known that the time would come to be kicked out he would have put his age back ten years! He paid tribute to the Mobile Column saying the material (the men) they had were the equal to the material they had on the prairies, and that was saying a good deal!

He was received by Queen Elizabeth at a Buckingham Palace Royal Garden Party as a veteran of the Boer War on 14th July 1960. His last trip to Winnipeg was in 1961 for a reunion of the 1st CMR.  His sons Peter and John took him to the Port of London in March for the boat to Halifax. Train from there to Toronto, another to Winnipeg for the reunion dinner and to stay in Souris. Back to Toronto and flew to Cleveland, Ohio to visit his brother Bert and nephew Jack. Back to Montreal for the boat to Southampton (29th April 1961, the R.M.S. 'Saxonia' (Cunard line) arrived from Montreal 17.30 at berth 46.) and was picked up by son Peter. While in Souris he had stayed with friends Mr and Mrs Reg Green. 

He died, aged 86, on the morning of Monday 13th April 1964 and was cremated on Thursday 16th of April.

His 12th   Manitoba Dragoons Ranks:-

June 15th, 1897 – January 29th,1905 - In Ranks.

January 30th, 1905 - Provisional Lieutenant

 February 28th, 1905 -  Lieutenant

 January 28th, 1910 -  Captain

May 28th, 1910 -  Major

His 1st C.M.R. Ranks:-

December 1st, 1914 - Captain

December 20th, 1914 - Major

July 29th, 1919 - Lt.-Colonel

Links to his digitised WW1 service record at Library and Archives, Canada:                         



Jan-Jun             Yorkton, Brandon and (Training) Camp Sewell

Jun 12               White Star Dominion Line RMS ‘Megantic’. Montreal to Plymouth. 

Jun 21               Arrived England, Shorncliffe Camp/Caesar’s Hill, Folkestone, Kent

Sep 22               Landed in France by paddle steamer S.S. (La)‘Marguerite’


Jan 23-31          Leave of absence, England

Mar 31              Shrapnel Bullet Wound to left thigh at Hooge

Apr   1               No 7 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne (satisfactory condition)

                          No 24 General Hospital, Etaples

Apr   4               To England on HMHS (His Majesty’s Hospital Ship) ‘St. Andrew’ (Posted to General List 6th)

Apr 6-26            Mrs Hall Walker’s, Sussex Lodge, Regents Park, N.W.

                          73 Devizes Road, Salisbury

                          Sandacres, Shore Road, Parkstone – Sir Ernest Cassel's  (Lady Edwina Mountbatten's                                 Grandfather) Convalescent Home for Soldiers. (It was his seaside home, now the                                           Sandbanks Hotel. The 1929 Poole Guide refers to it as formerly the Sandacres Hotel.) 

Apr  19              Medical Board (Unfit any service 1 month)

May 19              Medical Board (Unfit any service 1 month)

Jun   19             Medical Board (Unfit any service 1 month)

Jul    19              Fit for General Service (C.C.A.C.)

Jul    20              Attached to 11th (Reserve) Battalion

Aug    3              Ceases to be attached for L&R

Aug  31              Marries Nellie Ellen Jacobs of Southsea at Folkestone.

Nov  22              Proceeded to France (Landed 23rd, Left for Unit 25th, Joined Unit 27th)

Dec 20               "Majors Maxfield, Taylor, Caswell and French, each in command of his company, led the                                 attackers, assisted, of course, by their subalterns. This raid was the most fruitful raid on the                           Western front, up to that time."

Dec  23              Admitted to Hospital 



Jan  8                 20th General Hospital, Camiers (P.U.O. Slt. Not cut)

Jan 20                To England from Le Havre on HMHS ‘Carisbrook Castle’. To Shorncliffe

Jan 21-23           Royal Free Hospital, Grays Inn Road

Jan 23-Feb 13    Leave on Rec. Medical Board (Unfit any service 3 weeks)

Feb 22                Proceeded overseas to 1st CMR (Arrived 26th)

Apr 8-9               Vimy Ridge

Aug 22               10 days Leave, to U.K.

Dec 11               14 days Leave, to U.K.


Mar 31              Awarded the D.S.O. for gallantry on Easter morning 1918; the particular incident being that                            he deployed and ordered his Company (which included several boys from the Souris area                              who were with him in the Manitoba Dragoons) in a manner which enabled them to keep a                              numerically superior force of the enemy at bay through the night until reinforcements                                      reached them just before dawn. [Operation 'Mars' 


May 28             Mentioned in Despatches #L.G.30706

Jun  3               Awarded Distinguished Service Order #L.G. 30716

Jun  9               14 days Special Leave, to U.K. (Infant John Edward Maxfield died?)

Aug 28             At 6.00 pm. orders were issued by 8th C.I.B. for Major Maxfield to proceed forward with one                           Coy. to look over the situation and make a report. He found that the right flank of the 43rd                                Cdn. Bn was not connected up with the left flank of the 2nd Cdn. Division, and placed our                               “B”Coy in Remy Wood from which they moved to the right of 43rd Cdn Bn. and extended                                 towards the left flank of the 2nd Cdn Division. During the whole of the operations Lt Col. B.                             Laws. D.S.O. was attached to 8th C:I Bde, in order that he might have a better view of the                               movements of the Brigade as a whole and thus enable him to command his own Unit to a                               greater success, and with Major W E Maxfield D.S.O. in command of the Unit in the field all                           possible results were obtained.


Nov 11              At Mons on the morning of the Armistice.

Dec  1              To England, course on Tactics, detached to S.R.D.

Dec  2              Detached to School of Tactics, Camberley



Jan 23              Rejoins Unit

Feb 12              SRD Bramshott (Le Havre – Weymouth 13th)

Mar  9               “A” Wing, Canadian Concentration Camp, Bramshott

Jul 29                Temp. Lt.-Col., Saskatchewan Regiment #L.G. 31500

Aug 12              Attached H.Q.  O.M.F.C. London [Headquarters, Overseas Military Forces of Canada,                                   Argyll House, Regent Street, London]          

Oct 10               Embarked for Canada on S.S.‘Celtic’

Oct 20               Disembarked

Oct 27               Demobilized, Brandon, Manitoba. Proposed residence: Souris 

The WWI camp was established on the Bramshott Common heathland between Bramshott and Liphook, row upon row of wooden huts for the men to sleep in, a hospital and open air theatre and stage. The camp was serviced from a line of hastily erected corrugated iron huts which kept the camp well provided for all its various needs, with a cafe, bank, shop, cinema and various other entertainments. All quite astonishing when you think of it all spread along the A3 main road opposite where the ruin of the Spaniard Inn still stands. This section of road now sadly depleted of the maple trees that were planted all down the centre remind us of a time when this part of Hampshire was home to thousands of Canadians.


Imperial Yeomanry Branch Hospital

Eastwood, Arcadia

Pretoria. Sep: 4th 1900


Dear Ma & all.

                        Don’t let the above address scare you, for “I’m allright” but every bullett has its billet as I found out a week ago today. But I feel as right as rain now, in no danger. We left Krugersdorp on the 24th for Potchefstroom with Gen: Harts brigade of mounted infantry. On the morning of the 29th our company was told off as advance gaurd [guard] whose duty it is to ride about a mile in front of the main column to scout the country, or more plainly to get shot at, so as to give the main column timely warning  We were riding about 30 yards apart, and I happened to be outside man on the right flank. About nine o’clock, we got on some rough ground & I had to pass close under a kopje when were were almost past we were fired on from the top. I felt a sting in the leg and down went my horse. Some of the others came galloping over, dismounted, and made for the top of the kopje, when they got to the top they saw 5 boers mounted and going for dear life they opened fire on them but they were too far off for sure shooting and they got clear away. They had their horses at the foot of the kopje, ran down and away they went. I got my boot and puttee off and found the bullett had gone through the calf


of  my ^ leg and into the horse, which we had to shoot. It bled a good deal till the doctor arrived and dressed it. They put me in a Cape-cart and took me back to the railway to a siding The first train that came along was an empty goods train. I was put in a horse-car and with an orderly for Pretoria where we arrived at night. My leg pained for a couple of days, but it is going on fine now. I’m not allowed out to walk yet. The Doctor says I wont be able to ride again for a month Well, I dont care as things are very comfortable here, could’nt be better anywhere. The nurses at this hospital belong to the Dublin hospital and the one we have is an elderly lady and she could’nt treat her own children better. There are five in here which is a large marquee with every comfort that one could wish


5/ even to cigarettes. They are putting in electric light today. In the next bed is a fellow who was in the Jameson raid he’s been telling me all about it. I wrote last week to Eth, Liz, and Gert but I hear the train was captured and the mails destroyed. I was reported wounded as. C.G. Dunn 6988 He belonged to our company and was sent to Kroomstad [Kroonstad] sick a month ago. He gave me his tunic when going, and I was wearing it when I came here. In a little inside pocket is a card with your name and number on. You give up your clothes when admitted to hospital. They open the pocket and send the identification card to the casualty department. I never knew the mistake till yesterday when the nurse called me Dunn. I had forgotten the card in the pocket. This hospital is 3 miles from the town in a lovely position. I met one of the Vicks at Johannesburg. This is Paradice after roaming the veldt for four months the two nights we were on the march were awful. It rained in torrents both nights we laid down till we were soaked through and then got up, put on our cloaks and were cooped up like drowned rats no where to get out of the rain. I did’nt get much sleep the first 2 nights here. What with a Spring-bed, pillows and sheets it was too thick. They spare nothing here, all they think of is making you comfortable. Must quit this time

Hoping all are well

[Your ever loving Son,



Maxfield, W.E. 6982, Trooper 41st Coy., 12th Bn. I.Y.

(Walter Edward Maxfield 6982, Trooper 41st Company, 12th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry.)


[Letters in italics are missing due to a tear; and last quarter of page is lost. Spellings, punctuation and grammar, are as the original.   Peter Edward Maxfield. 25/09/2010]

                                 Parisian; Canada; Megantic; Megantic; Marguerite;                                        St.Andrew; Carisbrook Castle; Carisbrook Castle; Celtic; Saxonia.

 Gerard Renvoize Bradbrooke: describing their famous December 1916 daylight Trench Raid: "...The then 2nd in Command, a Major Maxwell (of course! That's Maxfield! ) gave me a thing with some tape wound on it and said: - "Now look here. You put this tape across No Man's Land so to guide the people to know how to come back"..." 

At Passchendaele Oct/Nov 1917


I was puzzled by the 'Message Map', as the dispositions did not match what I knew of the actions on the 26th October 1917, which is when I knew 'Pop' was in action. There are numerous mentions of the 4th CMR being the only Battalion from the 8th Can. Inf. Brigade in the attack that day. Not entirely true, as 3 Companies (C, A & D) of the 1st CMR were used in very close support - C Coy ended the day in the front lIne on the left of C,B,A & D Coys of the 4th. It was "A" Coy of the 1st that established contact with the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division on the exposed left flank. I think about half of B Coy were being used as stretcher bearers too (will check that). R.C.R. are the Royal Canadian Regiment of the 7th Can. Inf. Brigade. And will also check which Battalion(s) of the R.N.D. were on the left flank (Imperials).

1st CMR War Diaries:
Fri., Oct 26, 1917 In the Field PASSCHENDAELE, BELGIUM

"...The 8th C.I.B. attacked in conjunction with the Royal Naval Div.(Imperials) on left & 9th Bde. on Right. The 4th C.M.R. attacked with “C” coy 1st C.M.R. Bn. in support, “C” coy moved forward immediately attack was launched and assisted 4th C.M.R. Bn. to take their objectives. Owing to casualties the 4th C.M.R. Bn. had no officers to direct them. Capt. CLARK grasping the situation took command and showed great ability in getting a new line formed. “A” Coy. 1st C.M.R. Bn. moved forward from Support Line into our old Front Line under a heavy barrage during the forenoon. “D” Coy moved forward during afternoon & “B” Coy. were standing to ready. Casualties Lieut C. BAYNE and LIEUT. W. S. KENNEDY killed, Lieuts R. W. MOIR and R. T. COOK wounded. Approximately 15 O.R.s killed & 12 missing. LIEUT. R. T. COOK showed great gallantry in dealing with a German patrol in no-man’s-land. He himself shot five and the remainder were dispersed. REV. T. H. STEWART CAPT. showed great gallantry and devotion in leading stretcher bearers and helping the wounded. Night: - Bn. moved back to Reserve, billeted in dugouts & c. near WIELTJE. Major D. WILLIAMSON left for England. Lieut. J. HENDERSON went on leave..."

The Map is not for the 26th October, but shows positions on the 1st and 2nd of November. 1st CMR relieved the 2nd CMR in the front line. A Coy were on the left, B the right, D in support and C in reserve. At midnight on the 1st, two platoons from C Coy moved up to replace two platoons from A and B who were about to carry out a minor operation.

"...Do you remember being in charge of A Coy at "Passchendaele", when you organized the raid on that "Pill Box" out in "No man's land", just before the final assault on the Ridge itself? I'm sure you will, all of No 2 was on that raid. "Oh Boy" I had the distinction of being promoted to be a "Lance Corp" after that little flare up..." - Letter from Guy Compton in Killarney, Manitoba. March 14th 1958. (one time Sgt of No 2 Platoon. “A” Coy, 1st C.M.R.) to Lt.-Col. Walter Maxfield.

(The final assault on the Ridge itself, was on the 6th November) At 1:15 am Nov 2nd, A and B Companies each sent out a platoon to capture two pill-boxes named "Vanity House" and "Vine Cottage", and establish a line in between these two places, linking up with their present line on the North. (Vanity House is under the E of "HUNS LINE" as 'Vanity Ho' on the map. Vine Cottage, as 'Vine Cott' has the red pill-box rectangle missing due to the hole). Lt. Shannon went in charge of the party of 20 O.R’s (Ordinary Ranks) of No.2 Platoon from "A" Coy, and captured Vanity House with little opposition and without any casualties. One prisoner was taken, and several Germans killed. They consolidated and held this position, and linked it to their present line by means of a trench. This was the "raid" organized by Major Maxfield.

"B" Company’s raid did not go so well. Lt. Davidson and 20 O.R.'s attacked "Vine Cottage". They met with no opposition until close to their objective, when they were challenged by the sentry, who was immediately shot. While they were cleaning out the pill-box they were attacked by a large party of the enemy who came in from a trench in the rear, inflicting heavy casualties. Lt. Davidson and 9 O.R.'s were wounded, and 1 O.R. killed. As they were outnumbered, and owing to very heavy machine gun fire, they were forced to retire. Taking into consideration that the enemy had appeared in large numbers, and were prepared to resist any further attack on this position, it was considered advisable to consolidate that part already captured, and proposed to make another attempt the following night. But, as this might have interfered with an operation being carried out by the Brigade on their right, all arrangements were cancelled. The pill-box was entirely constructed and concealed within the old farm building - spotting aircraft had not reported it as a pill-box for some time (most probably the R.E.8's of No. 21 Squadron, R.F.C.) The walls were 18" thick reinforced concrete, and six machine guns commanded every approach. It was captured on the 6th November by the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion - 24 year-old Scot, Corporal Colin Fraser Barron, won the V.C. for his actions.

'From Bapaume to Passchendaele' has: "...Below the Goudberg spur on it's western side was the horrible swamp...The enemy had outposts in these marshes at Vine Cottage - a sweet, pitiful name for such a place - and Vanity Farm..."

 August 26th 1918

"...August 26th 1918 the 1st  C.M.R. Battalion attacked and carried Monchy. We had reached our final objective which was well trenched and contained good dug-outs. The Hun had gone. After some unexplained delay the 7th Brigade passed through us, and continued the attack. I was standing around watching the progress of the 7th Brigade. Into view came two German officers in charge of a Corp P.P.C.L.I. Their line of march would bring them past me so I lingered.

   They proved to be a pair of real Prussians (Field Officers) very ignorant and full of swank. I knew any information obtained from them would be lies, so I passed them back. They had gone about fifteen paces when Seargt. Swarzhoff of A Coy came out of a shell hole and stopped them. I did not hear what was said but one of the Huns spat clean in the Seargents face. They locked and I went across and told the other Hun to stand off. The Seargt. landed on top of Prussia and when he had finished all the swank was out of him. He appealed to me but I told him – When you spit in a Canadians face, take all you get. We were not in a forgiving mood just then, our dead were numerous, including Capt. McMillan, Lieut. Mott and Sydie. We had’nt had time to cool. They passed on back but were interviewed by various batches of privates. What they thought of Canadian troops I don’t know and it did’nt matter a dam..."


                                                                                From, Lieut. Col. W.E.Maxfield D.S.O. 1st C.M.R.



Seargent. Swarzhoff = Sergeant 105954 Peter Henry Schwarzhoff 


Lt. (act. Capt) Alexander Pearson Macmillan

Lt. 106414 John Mott

Lt. 106583 Jack Sydie,

 and 27 other 1st CMR men that day. 

War Diaries and memorial sites all have Macmillan as a Lieutenant , yet here we have an original letter from his 

Battalion O.C. calling him Captain. Perhaps he had literally just promoted him in the field, before he was killed.

"Noise Won't Hurt You Boys"

"...Colonel, I know that you will never be forgotten by anyone in A Company who was at Passchendaele, when we were up against that cemetery above Kronprinz Farm. Fritzy was really giving us a pasting, and you were walking up and down saying "Noise Won't Hurt You Boys". Of course this is just one of the highlights. For example I remember that raid at Hill 70, Capt. Petherick was in charge, and we used those binder canvasses to get over Fritzy's wire..." Ernie Kidd, Sioux Lookout, Ontario. March 12th 1958.         No.2 Platoon, "A" Company, 1st CMR.

"...Yourself, Major Bradbrooke & Capt Petherick were talked of at our gatherings more than any other Officers. I always remembered you, because as second in command of the Batt, you did on many occasions take command of "A Coy", when we were short a Co. Commander. Do you remember being in charge of A Coy at "Passchendaele", when you organized the raid on that "Pill Box" out in "No man's land", just before the final assault on the Ridge itself? I'm sure you will, all of No 2 was on that raid. "Oh Boy" I had the distinction of being promoted to be a "Lance Corp" after that little flare up... ...I was born near "Chichester" in Sussex under the "South Down Hills" and years ago can remember the "red coated" soldiers who came to the hills for training before going to "South Africa"; the officers sometimes made our Farm their H.Q... ...My Family, stangely enough, come from "Salisbury". I wonder if there are any "Comptons" in those parts now?...I think I can say even after all these years, that one of the dissapointments of our Batt, was that you Sir, "Major Maxfield" didn't become our "Col" after "Andros" left us. That's how we felt toward you, "Col" and it's been a great pleasure, to know where you are, and that you are still going strong. We shall think of you in July when we have our Platoon reunion, and wish you could be with us...sincerely Guy Compton (one time Sgt of No 2 Platoon) Killarney, Manitoba. March 14th 1958.

'Pop' has written on the bottom "Tyne Cott, Kansas House, Wolf Copse"

"...Dear Colonel Maxfield...Words fail to express my pleasure at having an opportunity to see and talk with you again. It really was wonderful of you to make such a long trip to attend the re-union, and your presence as guest of honour gave the proceedings a tremendous lift. Judging from the ovation you received particularly after your address at the dinner, and the way the men swarmed around to shake your hand, I do not think that you would have any doubt of the high esteem and genuine comradeship everyone present felt for you, as they all remember the tough days in France when you set such a wonderful example of courage and tenacity to us civilian soldiers..."  Ernie Kidd, Sioux Lookout, Ontario. March 28th 1961.

"...remember some of the Christmas dinners we used to have in France, if we weren't in the line. I remember the first time I saw you "Sir", it was while we were out on rest in "Auchel" and you came to A. Coy as Co. Commander for a short spell as we were without one for some reason, it's funny how things stay clear in one's mind of certain happenings, and I know you have been told before, but may I say once more that you were one of the most respected and best loved officers of the grand old Battalion, and you should certainly have been our "Colonel" when Andros left for home. As Christmas draws near, you, like us, will have many memories of those stirring years, when we were young, some of us hardly more than boys, but we wouldn't have missed it, there is no fraternity in civilian life that is like it... May I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year with more to follow...

…We often wondered when good old “Col. Andros” left, why you as “senior” didn’t take command of the Bn. I 

remember quite well the feeling when Andros left us, and the feeling that we were still in good hands because you 

would be our Col. Frankly, from many things that were talked of,  your not becoming Col. was a great 

disappointment to the grand old outfit, however, no doubt you had a reason, and it’s now a long time ago…

...I always remember what Col. Andros said to us after Vimy at Villers au Bois: “Maybe we don’t shine our buttons like

 the R.C.R. or P.P.C.L.I., but we can damned well fight just as good!” [Royal Canadian Regiment or Princess 

Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] Another quotation of Andros was after he went up and saw the mess at 

Passchendaele before we went into the line. He lined us up in an orchard near Hazebrouck and said: “It’s a hell of a 

place up there men, why they are even killing Colonels a mile behind the line…" Guy Compton.

Compton’s review of Nicholson:

Jan 1st 1963 Box 114

Dear Col. Maxfield,

…I had sent one for Christmas from the Publishers, a book entitled, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914 – 1919, a supposed official history of Canada’s part in our war, written by Col G W L. Nicholson of the Historical section, General Staff 
[‘Pop’ writes on the letter: “42 batt”]

This book tells of all the different battles and actions from 1914 to 1918 of the old Canadian Corps, carried out by the different battalions. Naturally, I have been looking for the doings of our own grand old Battalion. It tells of the formation of the 3 Canadian Div, with the 4 Bns of C.M.Rs forming our 8th Brigade. But, except for the taking of Hangard on August 8th 1918, it gives us very little credit. 4th and 5th C.M.R. are mentioned considerable. 2nd C.M.R. somewhat less, and our own 1st, least of any of the C.M.R. Brigade.

It tells of the 2nd June fight at Mount Sorrel. Tells that in this action, where never before had the German gunfire been so concentrated in a small area, that literally no human being could live under this bombardment. It tells of the 4th C.M.R. and part of the P.P.C.L.I. being completely wiped out, also part of the 5th C.M.R., but mentions less than nothing of our own Battalion other than they were part of the defending force on June 2nd 1916.

It hardly mentions us again in the Passchendaele fighting, or in the fighting for Hill 70 near Lens. Nor does it say very much about Monchy le Preux in here. I have read we accomplished one of the finest movements of the war. Again, during the last 100 days, where the old Battalion covered itself with glory, so to speak, we get very little credit.

One of the proudest days of my life, was when we marched into Mons representing the good old 8th Brigade.

I wonder if because we had, as far as I know, no historian to write our history, if that is the main reason why little mention has been made of our Battalion? Even at St.Olle, in front of Bourlon Wood, where, you will remember, we got hell from Machine Guns in the basement of a Church, and lost around 400 men, we are given little credit for the final taking of the town, which opened the way to Cambrai.

I also remember when down at Divisional School at Perron , that they used to tell us of the first daylight raid of the war by Canadians [Pop:“THELUS”] was carried out by the 1st C.M.R. I believe it was on the Somme Front [Pop:“Aubigny”] but nothing is mentioned of this, was this correct?, the raid I mean, as it was just before my time that it occurred. 

There is a lot of wonderful reading in this book, but as someone who knew at least what happened from the finish of the Somme fighting until the entry into Mons, I know something of what we did, and was always proud that we belonged to one of the finest Battalions in the old Corps.

Because of your early association with the Battalion, you will know much more of the early days of the 1st C.M.R., and I’m quite sure we have nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, much to be proud of.

Interesting things in the book, are pages telling of the trouble over the Ross Rifle in France, considerable about Sir Sam Hughes, and other things that went on behind the scenes that the soldiers knew nothing of at the time. Perhaps just as well!..

Sincerely Yours,
Guy Compton. (one time Sgt of No 2 Platoon. “A” Coy, 1st C.M.R.)

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