W.B. Kingsmill

W.B. Kingsmill

Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Bernard Kingsmill had been the senior Major of the 10th Royal Grenadiers of Toronto when the first group of 450 Royal Grenadiers entrained for Valcartier in August 1914, and at 38 years of age, he became the Commanding Officer of the Regiment in time to welcome home the wounded Royal Grenadiers of the First Canadian Contingent as they began returning home for treatment in mid-1915.  In July 1915, the need to raise additional fighting forces was well known and Colonel Kingsmill decided that, as soon as the call came, the Grenadiers would be ready.  He also decided that he was the man to lead them. When the order to raise the 123rd Overseas Battalion arrived on November 12, 1915, Kingsmill took steps quickly to turn over command of the 10th Royal Grenadiers to Lieutenant-Colonel James Cooper Mason, DSO, who ably commanded the ‘Home Regiment’ for the duration of the Great War.

From that time onward Colonel Kingsmill led the recruitment, training, and mobilization of the 123rd Battalion, Royal Grenadiers to England, then commanded them in combat.  He had wisely surrounded himself with six officers and the Regimental Sergeant Major, who had all served with the 10th Royal Grenadiers, to create an outstanding command and operations staff.

The Colonel remained active with the 123rd Battalion Association until shortly before his death in 1950.

Boone 1916

C.A. Boone

Colonel Kingsmill appointed Major Charles Armel Boone as the Second in Command (2 i/c) of the 123rd Battalion in early January 1916. He was originally commissioned in the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment in 1900, and had served with them in the South African War. He was promoted to Captain in 1907 and joined the 10th Royal Grenadiers as a highly skilled officer and leader.

In an official appraisal, he was described as “… popular, tactful, cheerful, and very keen and enthusiastic – Fitted to succeed to Command.”

Lytle 1916

W.H. Lytle

Major Bill Lytle was an excellent choice to lead ‘A’ Company of the 123rd Battalion.  He had prior service with the 10th Royal Grenadiers and was the youngest senior officer when the Battalion was formed. He was a skilled officer and leader and was well liked and respected by the men and Battalion leadership.

Upon the reorganization of the Engineering Branch of the C.E.F. in May 1918, Major Lytle transferred to the 7th Canadian Engineer Battalion, and continued to serve under Colonel Kingsmill.

At the end of the Great War, Bill Lytle took charge of repatriating the men of the Battalion to Toronto, and he brought home with him the Colours of the 10th Royal Grenadiers that had been carried to England when the Battalion mobilized in 1916.

He enjoyed a long and rewarding post-War career with A.R. Clarke & Company Ltd.