Dan Mowat
Calgary, Alberta
T3H 3C8
(403) 510-5160

email: 123rdBattalion@gmail.com

Website: www.123rdBattalion.ca

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123rd Battalion, Royal Grenadiers

About the Author – Dan Mowat
I live in Calgary, and have been a Project Manager most of my career. I earned a Master in Business Administration graduate degree with a specialization in Project Management. I have a wonderful, supportive wife, and our daughter and her husband have given us the best gift in the world; that of grandparenthood.

At a tender age back in the early to mid-1960s I joined The Royal Regiment of Canada Cadets (2736) and learned a lot about myself. I developed the strong and enduring social, moral and ethical values that define me during those early developmental years.

As soon as I was of age, I joined Grenadier Company of ‘The Royals’ and trained with them until my discharge in the early 1970s, when I moved to another city and could no longer serve with them. For my 14th birthday, I received a brand new copy of the 1st Edition of Battle Royal: A history of The Royal Regiment of Canada 1862-1962. I read it many times over the years and it is now quite worn. Over several readings, it became clear to me that the author of that book had chosen to focus on the parts of the Regimental history that were easier to research because previous authors had done much of the legwork, and an abundance of information was available through official Government sources. Battle Royal does an excellent job of documenting the early chronology of one of Canada’s oldest and finest Regiments; the 10th Royal Grenadiers, whose roots date to December 21, 1861.

However, the details of the engagement of the 10th Royal Grenadiers in the Great War had been all but over-looked in Battle Royal, with the exception of detailed exploits of the 3rd Battalion, Toronto Regiment, which is perpetuated by both the Royal Regiment of Canada and the Queens’ Own Rifles, and is the subject of some contention amongst military historians. To me, there simply had to be more to it. The Royal Regiment of Canada perpetuates six Battalions that served in the Great War: the 3rd, 58th, 123rd, 124th, 170th and 204th. Surely the other five Battalions made contributions to the war effort that were worthy of more than the 10 pages allotted in the Regimental history. Kevin Shackleton has undertaken the writing of the history of the 58th Battalion in his excellent book ‘Second to None’.

Life being what it is, it took me several decades before I realized that there was no one stepping forward to tell the Great War story of the 10th Royal Grenadiers; if it was to be done, I would have to do it. Little did I realize at the time that information would be so scarce that it would take over three years to gather as much of the truths that remained. During the journey of research, I discovered that one of those Battalions was the official Overseas Battalion of that proud old Regiment — the 123rd Overseas Battalion, Royal Grenadiers, CEF. Not only were they the Overseas unit representing the Regiment, but extra efforts were made to officially incorporate the name ‘Royal Grenadiers’ into their official title. This was no small feat, as it required the approval of the King, and only a handful of Great War Battalions achieved this level of approval. In almost all cases, the large majority were simply numbered Battalions, and although many gave themselves nicknames, these were never officially recognized. Sadly, before I decided to start the research, every one of the old veterans had passed into perpetual peace, and their first-hand stories were no longer there to be gathered.

I was thrilled to have encountered a few descendants of the officers and soldiers of the 123rd, and they gave generously of their time, and provided personal details about those old soldiers to lend their stories to the book. I would like to especially acknowledge the contributions of Wes Lytle, the grandson of Major Bill Lytle, Command Officer of ‘A’ Company of the 123rd Battalion, and the officer who brought the men of the 123rd home at the end of the War. Wes not only provided a lot of insight about his grandfather, but also willingly gave many original photos that his grandfather had taken during the War, none of which have been published before. I also thank Christian Kingsmill, the great-grandson of Lieutenant Colonel Walter Bernard Kingsmill, who was the Commanding Officer of the 10th Royal Grenadiers in 1915, and resigned that post to raise, train and lead the 123rd Overseas Battalion, Royal Grenadiers. Christian also provided photographs and stories that contributed to the book.

The book was released on November 12, 2015, precisely 100 years from the day the order to raise the Battalion was issued, but I am continuing my research, and this website will be updated on a regular basis with additional information about the Battalion and the men who served in it. I am striving to put as many photos of identified men who served in the 123rd in the Images area as I can.

Contributions to this research are most welcome, and you can contact me via email or the Facebook page noted above.

Yours sincerely,
Dan Mowat