London Calling: The Veterans Guard in Great Britain

In October 1941, the General Duty Company of the Veterans Guard of Canada arrived in Great Britain, becoming the first men of Veterans Guards to serve on foreign soil. The General Duty Company, later known as the No. 1 General Duty Company, was established in mid-1941 with the intention of sending representatives of the Veterans Guard of Canada overseas to serve as guards and pickets and to help with air raid duties. Each active company serving across Canada was to select five candidates and, from these, a total of seventy-eight were to be selected. Major Harold Douglas Hedley, MC, VD, a decorated veteran from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan was appointed the Commanding Officer.

In August 1941, the seventy-eight candidates arrived in Ottawa and, over the coming weeks, engaged in training for preparation for service overseas. By early October, the final sixty-five other ranks were selected and, to assist Major Hedley, Lieutenant Douglas Baldwin was appointed second-in command. The company left Halifax aboard the Aorangi on October 9 and arrived in England the following week.

Over the coming months, the company busied itself with various tasks but their numbers slowly declined due to hospitalizations or transfers back to Canada. Additional reinforcements were sent from other Veterans Guard companies while others were transferred from regiments serving in England. A handful of the original men from No. 1 General Duty Company would remain on active service in England through 1945, finally returning to Canada after the war’s end.

This photograph (larger resolution available below) of the General Duty Company was taken on September 6, 1941 in front of the Grandstand at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park. When I acquired this group photograph some years ago, only the original owner, Thomas Russell Philip, was identified. With the help of photograph in the Canadian War Museum’s collection that showed the company while stationed in England in 1942, I was able to identify many others. Further researched revealed an army photographer took a series of group pictures before the company proceeded overseas and, fortunately for me, some of these pictures were published in newspapers across the country. From these sources, I have been able to tentatively identify most of the men in the group photograph but it remains a work in progress.

If you recognize someone, please get in touch.

General Duty Company, Veterans Guard of Canada, September 6, 1941. Photo by Bert-Mason of Montreal.

Updated November 2022

  • Front Row:
    • Unidentified
    • Unidentified
    • Pte. R. Ainsworth (Toronto, ON)
    • Cpl. Charles Julien, MM (Montreal, QC)
    • Cpl. Percy (or T.) Worthington (Brandon, MB)
    • Cpl. Peter Archibald MacFarlane (Niagara Falls, ON)
    • Sgt. D McCallum (Vancouver, BC)
    • Sgt. Lee Hamilton Machum (NB)
    • Sgt. Thomas Bernard (Montreal, QC)
    • Sgt. Joseph Peter Parker (Ottawa, ON)
    • Sgt. W.W. Brown (Hamilton, ON)
    • RSM William Turner Nutter (Montreal, QC)
    • Major Harold Douglas Hedley, MC, VD (Moose Jaw, SK)
    • CSM Arnold Chester Manley, MM+Bar (Beamvsille, ON)
    • Sgt. Cecil John Rule, MM (Toronto, ON)
    • Sgt. Arthur Aucott (Windsor, ON)
    • Unidentified
    • Cpl. J Pouliot (Montreal, QC)
    • Cpl. William Magnall (Vancouver, BC)
    • Cpl. Alfred William Mitchell, DCM+Bar (BC)
    • Cpl. William John Jones (Vancouver, BC)
    • Pte. Walter Albert Phillips (Vancouver, BC)
    • Pte. W Hale (Verdun, QC)
    • Pte. Robert Horne Parnell (Vancouver, BC)
  • Second Row:
    • Pte. Francis James Stuart Noad (QC)
    • Pte. Albert Dix (Waterloo, QC)
    • Unidentified
    • Unidentified
    • Unidentified
    • Pte. R. Lauzon (Montreal, QC)
    • Pte. George Charles Masters (Toronto, ON)
    • Pte. C.J. Leggatt (Nelson, BC)
    • L/Cpl. H.F. Palmer (NS)
    • Pte. Ernest Stanley Davis, MM (Oak Bay, NB)
    • Pte. James William Folland (Bradalbane, PEI)
    • Pte. Albert Edward Gilkes (Winnipeg, MB)
    • Pte. Albert William Euloth (Dartmouth, NS)
    • Pte. R.H. Crabbe (Edgewood, BC)
    • Pte. R. MacKay (Verdun, QC)
    • Pte. Donald John McAskill (New Denver, BC)
    • Pte. Albert Joseph Lafortune (Cornwall, ON)
    • Pte. William James Delderfield (Athens, ON)
    • Pte. James Edgar Read (Oshawa, ON)
    • Pte. Francis Gray Garrett (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)
    • Pte.  Cyrus E. Gallant (Wellington, PEI)
    • Pte. J.B. Caron (Ottawa, ON)
    • Unidentified
    • Pte. Frederick Murray Lawson, MM (Welland, ON)
    • Pte. A.E. West (Windsor, ON)
  • Third Row:
    • Pte. A McKeller (Moose Jaw, SK)
    • Pte. Kenneth Archie Ritchie, DCM (Ottawa, ON/Rosslyn, BC)
    • Pte. Norman Aiken (Meadow Lake, SK)
    • Pte. Charles Henry Webb (Weston, ON)
    • Pte. Thomas Peter Noonan (Vancouver, BC)
    • Pte. Thomas Russel Philip, MM (Hargrave, MB)
    • Pte. H. White (Winnipeg, MB)
    • Pte. Harry Hazen McAnn (QC)
    • Pte. George F. Sherlow (Swan River, MB)
    • Pte. Albert Edward Lawrence (Galt, ON)
    • Pte. A.  Moussette (Montreal, QC)
    • L/Cpl. John Thomas Tate (Dilke, SK)
    • Pte. G.J. Carlisle (Wilmer, BC)
    • Pte. Harold Gilbert (Virden, MB)
    • Cpl.  J.A. Stewart (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
    • Pte. Leopold Eugene Romeo (Vancouver, BC)
    • Unidentified
    • Pte. Robert McNeill, MM (Toronto, ON)
    • Pte. Thomas George Dowling (Toronto, ON)
    • Pte. James Edward Waites (Cornwall, ON)
    • Pte. Frank Singard (Pakenham)
    • Cpl. R. Charles Banyard (Neepawa, MB)
    • Unidentified
    • Pte. John “Jack” Henry Phillips (Vancouver, BC)
    • Pte. J. Murrell (Rockglen, SK)
    • Pte. J.A. Norton (Hillcrest, AB)
    • Pte. Findlay David Collin Blackwell, DSM (Harding, MB)
    • Pte. Joseph Wilfred Pidgeon (Windsor, ON)

Most of the following men are likely in the above photograph but I have yet to identify them.

  • Unidentified:
    • Sgt. Lytle Frederick Earl Carter Carter (Cochrane, ON)
    • Cpl./Sgt. Henry Clark Fitzpatrick (Swift Current, SK)
    • Sgt. B.B. Martin (Toronto, ON)
    • Sgt. Tom Ridgway (Collingwood, ON)
    • L/Cpl. F. Radford (Toronto, ON)
    • Pte. N. Buchan (Meaford, ON)
    • Pte. Buckley “Buck” Duane (Edmonton, AB)
    • Pte. George Harrison Greeley (Hearst, ON)
    • Pte. Albert Henry Harrington (Winnipeg, MB)
    • Pte. J.V. Knox (Montreal, QC)
    • Pte. [Emil] Percival John Lacey (Quill Lake, SK)
    • Pte. James William Walters (Winnipeg, MB)
    • Pte. Michael Terrance Farrell (Truro, NS) – believed in to be hospital when photograph was taken

To learn more about the origins and duties of No. 1 General Duty Company, click here.

Published by Michael O'Hagan

Historian studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

One thought on “London Calling: The Veterans Guard in Great Britain

  1. Additional details – # 10 General Dusty Co.

    AINSWORTH, R., Pte. B36279
    JULIEN, Charles, Cpl., Died Montreal 14 AUG 88
    WORTHINGTON, Percy (T), Cpl., H54712, Died Brandon
    MacFARLANE, Peter Archibald, Cpl., B35612, Died Halifax, 3 MAY 60
    McCALLUM, Peter Archibald, Sgt.
    PARKER, Joseph Peter, Sgt., C89363, Died Ottawa 1952
    BROWN, W.W., Sgt. B35500
    NUTTRER, Wilkin Turner, R.S.M., D107078, Died Montreal, 9 FEB 80
    RULE, Cecil Julian, Sgt. Died Toronto, 1977
    AUCOTT, Arthur Sgt., A34302, Died Windsdor, 1966
    MAGNALL, James William, Cpl. K92553, Died 3 NOV 76
    JONES, William John, Cpl., M42741, Died Vancouver, 20 JULY 62
    PHILLIPS, Walter Albert, Pte., K93131, Died 16 OCT 76, Esquimalt
    HALE, W., Pte., D110770, Died 27 DEC 80, Montreal.
    PARNELL, Robert Horne, Pte., H40290, Died 14 FEB 73, Vancouver
    NOAD, Francis James Stuart, Died MAY 81
    DIX, Albert, Died 20 NOV 60, Waterloo
    LAUZON, R., D107021
    MASTERS, George Charles, B14881
    LEGGATT, C.J., Pte., K93391
    DAVIS, Ernest Stanley, L/Cpl., G46100, Died 16 DEC 70,
    FOLLAND, James William, L/Cpl, , F1334, Died 3 APR 43
    GILKES, Albert Edward, L/Cpl., H54382, Died 6 APR 84, Winnipeg
    EULOSTH, Albert William, L/Cpl., F46, Died 1 FEB 45
    CRABBE, R.H., Pte., K93687
    MACKAY,R., Pte., D107060
    LAFORTUNE, Albert Joseph, Pte., C89556
    DELDERFIELD, William James, Pte., C8907, Died JAN 71
    READ, James Edgar, Pte., Died 1959, Oshawa
    GARRETT, Francis Gray, Pte., Died 1981
    CARON, J.B., Pte., C89402
    LAWSON, Frederick Murray, Pte., B35681
    WEST, A.E., Pte., A54718
    RITHLIE, Kenneth Archie, Pte., B147927, Died1967, Blind River
    AIKEN, Norman, Pte., L33022, Died 13 JAN 44, Saskatoon
    WEBB, Charles Henry, Pte., B36273, Died OCT 82
    NOONAN, Thomas Peter, Pte., K93075, Died 1968, Victoria
    PHILLIP, Thomas Russel, Pte.L51140, Died SEPT 75, Brandon
    SHERLOW, George F., Pte., H42067, Died 6 JUNE 70, Surrey
    LAWRENCE, Albert Edward, Pte., A34112, Died 27 SEPT 64, London
    MOUSETTE, A., Pte., D112525
    TATE, John Thomas, L/Cpl., L32032, Died 1954, Regina
    ROMEO, Leopold Eugene, Cpl., K93109, Died 1966, Alberta
    McNEIL, Robert, Cpl., B35259
    DOWLING, Thomas George, Cpl., B35119, Died 18 SEPT 80, Toronto
    WAITES, James Edward, Cpl., C89571
    SINGARD, Frank, Cpl., C89928, Died 6 FEB 84, Almonte
    PHILLIPS, Jake “Jack” Henry, Pte., K92847
    MURRELL, J., Pte, L32252
    NORTON, J.A., Pte., M42391
    BLACKWELL, Findlay David, M98020
    PIDGEON, Joseph Wilfred, Pte., A34332
    FITZPATRICK, Henry Charles, Cpl/Sgt., Died 1966, Swift Current
    RIDGEWAY, Tom, Sgt., Died 1958, Collingwood
    RADFORD, F., L/Cpl., B35161
    BKUCHAN, N., Pte., B16261
    GREELEY, George Harrison, Pte., Died 1953
    HARRINGTON, Albert Henry, Pte., H40181
    KNOX, J.V., Pte., D107322
    WALTERS, James William, Pte., Died 22 MAR 68, Winnipeg
    FARRELL, Michael Terrance, Died 29 FEB 59, Truro

    Always searching for additional VGC Names and Details !


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