Except where noted, this Website is based on the original “Cinquante Quatre” published by Major JB Bailey for veterans of the 54th Kootenay Battalion in 1919. Front pages below.
The 1958 Reunion
Charlie Bradshaw as a young man
Reunion material and the 54th Battalion letter opener image was kindly provided by Barb Ethier
Some members of the Battalion are remembered here
The 54th was re-named the 1st Battalion Kootenay Regiment in the early 1920s. People and government funding had other priorities and though the unit was a reserve infantry battalion it was undermanned until the late 1920s. In the 1930s it was re-rolled as an artillery regiment and in this guise soldiered on up to the mid 1960s.
- A Veteran of Two Wars
- Soldiering was not new to Private George McLean. A rancher from the Head of the Lake Band in the Okanagan district of British Columbia, McLean had served with the Canadian Mounted Rifles during the South African (or Boer) War at the turn of the century. More than a decade later, he became one of nearly 2,000 members of the CEF to earn the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for distinguished conduct in the field, the second-highest award for gallantry available to non-commissioned officers and privates in the Great War.
- McLean enlisted in Vernon, British Columbia, in October 1916 and sailed for Great Britain almost immediately. He was in France with the 54th Battalion in December.
- In April 1917, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, McLean launched a daring solo attack on a group of enemy soldiers. He was armed with about a dozen Mills bombs – small grenades nicknamed “pineapples”, which exploded violently.
- McLean’s attack was extremely effective. The private’s citation describes the results: “Single-handed he captured 19 prisoners, and later, when attacked by five more prisoners who attempted to reach a machine-gun, he was able – although wounded – to dispose of them unaided, thus saving a large number of casualties.”
- During this action, McLean was shot in the arm by a sniper and was returned to Canada for medical treatment. He went back to British Columbia, and eventually became a fireman in the Vancouver region. He died in 1934.
- More on Native Canadians in the CEF here
- From University of Victoria BC, Canada
- Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Benning Monk was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1907, he enlisted with the active militia and in 1908 became a gunner with the 13th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery (Manitoba Regiment). He later went into law and real estate. He moved to Victoria in 1908 and started work in the City Engineerâ€™s Department. He established his own real estate firm with Roger Monteith, and and among other real estate activities sought to develop the coastal town of Clo-ose, B.C. as a resort. In World War I he served with the 54th Battalion and fought in Vimy Ridge. He was Commanding Officer of the Cadet Training Camp at the present campus of the University of Victoria, 1940-1941, and became a liaison officer of the U.S. Army from 1942-1944. From 1930 on, Monk campaigned actively for a uniquely Canadian flag. The fonds consists of Monkâ€™s army service and course certificates and correspondence with the Monk family, records of the commander of the Gordon Head camp, and the Seattle liaison officer concerning the 5th Regiment and other army and business matters; personal records, including correspondence regarding a new Canadian flag, notes on the Monk family tree, insurance and investment records; photographs of Monk with officers and with Sir Arthur Currie, and drawings of proposed new flags for Canada. Finding aid available with box and file level control. University of Victoria Library.
- Rev. Beazer
- Frank C. Beazer was born in Chippenham, England. He left Chippenham in 1912 and worked in Ifracombe, Eastbourne, London and Bath in England. He was a ship’s steward on two trips to East Africa before he became a missionary to the Church of England Camp Mission. The first place he went to as a missionary was the diocese of Caribou in British Columbia. He enlisted in Chapleau, Ontario, in the 227 B Company, on July 26, 1916 and travelled to France with the 54th Battalion where he became assistant to the regimental chaplain. In 1919 he attended Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto and received his ordination on St. Georges Day in 1922 in the Cathedral in Cochrane, Ontario. He resided at Kapuskasing for twelve years. In Kapuskasing he helped to build his church and house. He was also an assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of Canada in Kapuskasing. In 1927 he married Gertrude Hudson of Toronto. He was the pastor for Oxford Mills, Carrying Place and St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Roslin, Ontario; Christ Anglican Church in Thomasburg, Ontario and St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Peterborough, Ontario. In 1958 Reverend Beazer and his wife visited his two brothers in Chippenham, England. While they were there they were invited to have cocktails with the High Commissioner of Canada George Drew and his wife. Frank was a member of the Masonic Lodge. Reference here