In mid-October 1941, the General Duty Company of the Veterans Guard of Canada became the corps’ first company to serve on foreign soil. Arriving in England aboard the Aorangi, the Company was to be attached to Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) in London.
In mid-1941, the Department of National Defence approved the creation of the General Duty Company (later No. 1 General Duty Company) of the Veterans Guard. Attached to CMHQ in London, these men would be employed in various roles including as guards, pickets, and in air raid duties, while simultaneously releasing younger, able-bodied men for combat duties.
Instructions were issued to twenty-two Veterans Guard companies to select one NCO and four privates, for a total of 110 men. This would then be narrowed down to a total of 78 other ranks. Each man had to be under fifty years old, in good health, of “exemplary character,” “intelligent and efficient,” smart and soldierly, and at least of average height. As these men would not be representing the Veterans Guard but Canadians as well, authorities cautioned these men be selected with the “very greatest care.”
In the meantime, the Veterans Guard appointed Major Harold Douglas Hedley as the company’s Commanding Officer. Hedley, a school teacher from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, had served with distinction in the First World War, receiving the Military Cross for leading an attack in 1917.
In late August 1941, the 78 other ranks selected for this prestigious company concentrated in Ottawa. Over the coming weeks, the company engaged in training exercises to prepare for their overseas duties. Some of the men were withdrawn from consideration and, by early October, the company had been reduced in size to one Warrant Office, seven sergeants, seven Corporals, and fifty privates. To assist Major Hedley, the Veterans Guard also appointed Lieutenant Douglas Baldwin as second-in-command.
The Company left Ottawa on October 6, 1941 and arrived at Halifax the following day. The Company soon after boarded the Aorangi and, on October 9, the ship departed left Halifax for England.
Upon their arrival in England, the company was initially absorbed by a Reinforcement Unit before it was later re-consolidated into the General Duty Company. Over the coming months, the company busied themselves with various work but their numbers slowly declined as as the men were hospitalized or transferred back to Canada. Major Hedley, for example, was transferred back to Canada and he would go on to serve as the Commandant of Camp 42 (Sherbrooke) from 1944 to 1946. Some reinforcements came from Veterans Guard companies in Canada but most were older men transferred to the Veterans Guard from other regiments serving in England.
The last of the No. 1 General Duty Company of the Veterans Guard returned to Canada in 1945.
 Copy of Historical Section, Army Headquarters, “The Veterans Guard of Canada,” Robert Henderson Collection, Royal Alberta Museum, 20-23.
Updated November 2022
The following lists most of those initially selected for service overseas with the General Duty Company and, as such, also includes those who were not approved to go overseas (marked here with a “no” in the overseas column). Due to source limitations, this list does not include those who were later transferred to the company as replacements. If you have any information about any of these men, please get in touch.
|Reg. No.||Rank||Surname||First Name||Residence||Overseas|
|L-33022||Pte.||Aiken||Norman||Meadow Lake, SK||yes|
|H-40051?||Cpl.||Banyard||R. Charles||Neepawa, MB||no|
|H-54290||Pte.||Blackwell||Findlay David Collin||Harding, MB||yes|
|B-14121||Sgt.||Carter||Lytle Frederick Earl Carter||Cochrane, ON||no|
|G-46100||Pte.||Davis||Ernest Stanley||Oak Bay, NB||yes|
|C-89507||Pte.||Delderfield||William James||Athens, ON||yes|
|B-35119||Pte.||Dowling||Thomas George||Toronto, ON||yes|
|M-42285||Pte.||Duane||Buckley “Buck”||Edmonton, AB||yes|
|F-46||Pte.||Euloth||Albert William||Dartmouth, NS||yes|
|F-64||Pte.||Farrell||Michael Terrance||Truro, NS||yes|
|L-32064||Cpl./Sgt.||Fitzpatrick||Henry Clark||Swift Current, SK||no|
|F1334||Pte.||Folland||James William||Bradalbane, PEI||no|
|F-1455||Pte.||Gallant||Cyrus E.||Wellington, PEI||no|
|B-14532||Pte.||Garrett||Francis Gray||Sault Ste. Marie, ON||yes|
|H-54382||Pte.||Gilkes||Albert Edward||Winnipeg, MB||no|
|B-14226||Pte.||Greeley||George Harrison||Hearst, ON||no|
|H-40181||Pte.||Harrington||Albert Henry||Winnipeg, MB||yes|
|–||Major||Hedley||Harold Douglas||Moose Jaw, SK||yes|
|M-42341||Cpl.||Jones||William John||Vancouver, BC||yes|
|L-41268||Pte.||Lacey||[Emil] Percival John||Quill Lake, SK||yes|
|C-89556||Pte.||Lafortune||Albert Joseph||Cornwall, ON||yes|
|A-23112||Pte.||Lawrence||Albert Edward||Galt, ON||yes|
|B-35681||Pte.||Lawson||Frederick Murray||Welland, ON||yes|
|B-35612||Cpl.||MacFarlane||Peter Archibald||Niagara Falls, ON||yes|
|B-35646||CSM||Manley||Arnold Chester||Beamvsille, ON||no|
|B-14881||Pte.||Masters||George Charles||Toronto, ON||yes|
|K-93564||Pte.||McAskill||Donald John||New Denver, BC||yes|
|L-32061||Pte.||McKeller||A||Moose Jaw, SK||yes|
|D-112645||Pte.||Noad||Francis James Stuart||QC||yes|
|K-93075||Pte.||Noonan||Thomas Peter||Vancouver, BC||yes|
|D-107078||RSM||Nutter||William Turner||Montreal, QC||yes|
|C-89363||Sgt.||Parker||Joseph Peter||Ottawa, ON||yes|
|K-92680||Pte.||Parnell||Robert Horne||Vancouver, BC||yes|
|H-40290||Pte.||Philip||Thomas Russel||Hargrave, MB||yes|
|K-93131||Pte.||Phillips||Walter Albert||Vancouver, BC||yes|
|K-92847||Pte.||Phillips||John “Jack” Henry||Vancouver, BC||yes|
|A-34332||Pte.||Pidgeon||Joseph Wilfred||Windsor, ON||yes|
|C-89783||Pte.||Read||James Edgar||Oshawa, ON||yes|
|C-89009||Pte.||Ritchie||Kenneth Archie||Ottawa,ON/Rosslyn, BC||yes|
|K-93109||Pte.||Romeo||Leopold Eugene||Vancouver, BC||no|
|B-16229||Sgt.||Rule||Cecil John||Toronto, ON||no|
|H-40267||Pte.||Sherlow||George F.||Swan River, MB||yes|
|D-111572||Cpl.||Stewart||J.A.||Atlanta, Georgia, USA||yes|
|L-32032||L/Cpl.||Tate||John Thomas||Dilke, SK||yes|
|C-89571||Pte.||Waites||James Edward||Cornwall, ON||yes|
|H-17244||Pte.||Walters||James William||Winnipeg, MB||no|
|B-36273||Pte.||Webb||Charles Henry||Weston, ON||yes|
Front Row: Unidentified, Unidentified, Pte. R. Ainsworth, Cpl. Charles Julien, Cpl. Percy Worthington, Cpl. Peter Archibald MacFarlane, Sgt. D McCallum, Sgt. Lee Hamilton Machum, Sgt. Thomas Bernard, Sgt. Joseph Peter Parker, Sgt. W.W. Brown, RSM William Turner Nutter, Major Harold Douglas Hedley, CSM Arnold Chester Manley, Sgt. Cecil John Rule, Sgt. Arthur Aucott, Unidentified, Cpl. J Pouliot, Cpl. William Magnall, Cpl. Alfred William Mitchell, Cpl. William John Jones, Pte. Walter Albert Phillips, Pte. W Hale, Pte. Robert Horne Parnell.
Second Row: Pte. Francis James Stuart Noad, Pte. Albert Dix, Unidentified, Unidentified, Unidentified, Pte. R. Lauzon, Pte. George Charles Masters, Pte. C.J. Leggatt, L/Cpl. H.F. Palmer, Pte. Ernest Stanley Davis, Pte. James William Folland, Pte. Albert Edward Gilkes, Pte. Albert William Euloth, Pte. R.H. Crabbe, Pte. R. MacKay, Pte. Donald John McAskill, Pte. Albert Joseph Lafortune, Pte. William James Delderfield, Pte. James Edgar Read, Pte. Francis Gray Garrett, Pte. Cyrus E. Gallant, Pte. J.B. Caron, Unidentified, Pte. Frederick Murray Lawson, Pte. A.E. West.
Third Row: Pte. A McKeller, Pte. Kenneth Archie Ritchie, Pte. Norman Aiken, Pte. Charles Henry Webb, Pte. Thomas Peter Noonan, Pte. Thomas Russel Philip, Pte. H. White, Pte. Harry Hazen McAnn, Pte. George F. Sherlow, Pte. Albert Edward Lawrence, Pte. A. Moussette, L/Cpl. John Thomas Tate, Pte. G.J. Carlisle, Pte. Harold Gilbert, Cpl. J.A. Stewart, Pte. Leopold Eugene Romeo, Unidentified, Pte. Robert McNeill, Pte. Thomas George Dowling, Pte. James Edward Waites, Pte. Frank Singard, Cpl. R. Charles Banyard, Unidentified, Pte. John “Jack” Henry Phillips, Pte. J. Murrell, Pte. J.A. Norton, Pte. Findlay David Collin Blackwell, Pte. Joseph Wilfred Pidgeon.
Unidentified: Sgt. Lytle Frederick Earl Carter Carter, Cpl./Sgt. Henry Clark Fitzpatrick, Sgt. B.B. Martin, Sgt. Tom Ridgway (not believed to be in picture), L/Cpl. F. Radford, Pte. N. Buchan, Pte. Buckley “Buck” Duane, Pte. George Harrison Greeley, Pte. Albert Henry Harrington, Pte. J.V. Knox, Pte. [Emil] Percival John Lacey, Pte. James William Walters , Pte. Michael Terrance Farrell (believed to be in hospital at time of photograph).