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2nd Canadian Brigade - January 1915 - April 1919

On 29 August 1914, the 2nd Provisional Infantry Brigade was placed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel M.S. Mercer; two days later, the overwhelming number of infantry recruits caused a reorganization of the First Contingent from 12 to 16 battalions, and three of the four brigades were placed under new commanders, with the command of the 2nd Brigade being left vacant for a day, until Arthur Currie was named as commander.

 

2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade

5th Battalion (Western Cavalry) 12th Manitoba Dragoons
16th Light Horse
30th Regiment (British Columbia Horse)
7th Battalion (First British Columbia Regiment) 6th Regiment (The Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles)
11th Regiment (Irish Fusiliers of Canada)
88th Regiment (Victoria Fusiliers)
102nd Regiment (Rocky Mountain Rangers)
104th Regiment (Westminster Fusiliers of Canada)
8th Battalion (90th Rifles)     90th Regiment (Winnipeg Rifles)
96th The Lake Superior Regiment
10th Battalion (Canadians) 103rd Regiment (Calgary Rifles)
106th Regiment (Winnipeg Light Infantry)
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Commander
2nd Canadian Brigade

Dates in Command Destination on Leaving Appointment
Lieutenant Colonel M.S. Mercer 29 Aug - 1 Sep 1914 Commander, 1st Canadian Brigade
Colonel Arthur W. Currie
(Promotoed Brigadier General March 1915)
29 Sep 1914 - 12 Sep 1915 General Officer Commanding, 1st Canadian Division
Brigadier General Louis J. Lipsett, CMG 14 Sep 1915 - 15 Jun 1916 General Officer Commanding, 3rd Canadian Division
Brigadier General Frederick O.W. Loomis, CMG, DSO 4 Jul 1916 - 31 Dec 1917  
Brigadier General J.F.L. Embury, CMG 1 Jan 1918 - 15 Mar 1918  
Brigadier General Frederick O.W. Loomis, CB, CMG, DSO 16 Mar 1918 - 12 Sep 1918 General Officer Commanding, 3rd Canadian Division
Brigadier General R.P. Clark, CMG, DSO, MC 6 Oct 1918 - 12 May 1919  

 

Brigadier General Arthur W. Currie was a prewar Militia officer with the 50th Gordon Highlanders of Victoria.  He was an insurance broker and real estate agent; he also used regimental funds for private business purposes - a situation that has been well chronicled in most histories and biographies.   He was bailed out of this stressful financial situation by fellow officers during the war.   He commanded the 2nd Brigade on arrival in France, and in September 1915 was given the First Division.  He too was not popular with Sir Sam Hughes, but his skill and determination provided continuing Canadian successes in the field. His meticulous attention to detail paid him dividends, and he was moved on to command the Canadian Corps in May 1916.   He was the first Canadian to reach the rank of full General.   In the last months of the war, he guided the Canadian Corps to an unbroken string of victories, and would have been made the supreme Allied commander of all armies in France had the war lasted into 1919.  He was knighted in 1917, inducted into the Order of the Bath and the Order of St. Michael and St. George.  He served as Inspector General of the Canadian Militia after the war, and in civil life was Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University from 1920 to his death in November 1933.

Brigadier General Louis James Lipsett was born at Bundoran, Ireland, on 14 June 1874 to a Welsh family. He was educated at Bedford School and Sandhurst and commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Regiment (18th Foot) on 10 October 1894. He served in the Tirah Campaign, North West Frontier of India, and later in South Africa and in a variety of staff appointments. He was appointed General Staff Officer for Western Canada with the local rank of major in 1911 under the policy of standardizing training between Great Britain and the Dominions agreed to at the Imperial Conferences of 1907 and 1909. He served under Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Macdonell during this period and instructed, among others, Arthur Currie (then Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 50th Gordon Highlanders in Victoria) and Major-General Garnet Hughes (then second in command of the 50th Gordon Highlanders). On outbreak of war was offered and accepted command of the 8th Battalion, recruited largely from the 90th Winnipeg Rifles (the Little Black Devils). He succeeded Brigadier-General Currie in command 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade when latter was appointed to command 1st Canadian Division, and succeeded Major-General Mercer, when the latter was killed at Mount Sorrel, in command of 3rd Canadian Division in June 1916. Transferred back to the British Regular Army as General Officer Commanding 4th Division in 1918, he was killed at Haspres, France, 14 October 1918. Buried with full honours for his rank at Quéant in France by members of the 3rd Canadian Division in the presence of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, General Horne, commander First Army, and Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian Corps Commander. He was awarded a CB, a CMG, and the French Légion d'Honneur and Croix de Guerre avec étoile en argent et avec palme for his services.

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Brigadier General Louis J. Lipsett (at centre) with his staff

Sir Frederick Oscar Warren Loomis was born at Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1 February 1870. He was educated at the University of Bishop's College, and became a general contractor. He enlisted in the Canadian Militia as a private in 1886; in 1914 he was given command of the 13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was promoted brigadier-general in 1916, and in 1918 Major-General, commanding the Third Canadian Division. He was awarded the DSO in 1915 (bar in 1918), as well as several foreign decorations; he was created a Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1917, and a KCB in 1919. He retired to civilian life in 1919, and he died in Montreal on 15 February 1937.

Brigadier General J.F.L. Embury, C.B. C.M.G. V.D. commanded the 95th Regiment (Saskatchewan Rifles) before serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  In October 1914, he was offered command of the 28th (Northwest) Battalion whom he led into action as part of the 2nd Canadian Division.

 


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