My godfather Colin Greener of Battleford, Saskatchewan stood five foot three in his boots, but he had the heart of a lion. In World War One he fought in the trenches, was wounded twice, and decorated for bravery. Read his story at www.elinorflorence.com/blog/canadian-cavalry.
Pack horses were used to carry ammunition in World War One. According to my godfather Colin Greener, who served in the Royal Canadian Dragoons: “The trouble with pack horses was that they would stay behind, and they wouldn’t jump with you.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons regiment began in 1883 and still exists as an armoured regiment today. Adopted during their service in the Boer War in South Africa, the cap badge shows a springbok bounding on a green veldt. Their motto is “Bold and Swift.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Turner Van Straubenzee was born in Kingston, Ontario, a veteran of the Boer War, and commander of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. He was mentioned in dispatches several times for gallant and distinguished conduct. He was killed one month before the war ended and is buried in France. But according to my godfather Colin Greener, who served under him, he cared more for spit and polish than for his own men.
My godfather Colin Greener of Battleford, Saskatchewan stood five foot three in his boots, but he had the heart of a lion. In World War One he fought in the trenches, was wounded twice, and decorated for bravery. He always joked that if he had been taller he wouldn’t have survived.
A decorated veteran of World War One, Colin Greener never married but remained in his tidy little farmhouse near Prongua, Saskatchewan for many years. He had electricity installed, but never plumbing or an oil furnace. He was still baking his own bread and chopping his own firewood at the age of 82, when he was forced to move into a nursing home. He died in September 1979, at the age of 88.
My godfather Colin Greener, who farmed near Battleford, Saskatchewan, spent many happy hours walking in the countryside, identifying plants and birds. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman, although nothing annoyed him more than people who broke the game laws. Here he is on one of the many hunting trips he took with my grandfather Charles Light, seated on the left. No doubt they are discussing their days at the front, as both men served in World War One.
My godfather Colin Greener, who was decorated for bravery in World War One, remained intensely patriotic. My mother recalls that once when the orchestra was playing God Save the King after a local dance, Colin charged over to a burly man who hadn’t stood at attention and demanded that he show the proper respect. He was also an avid sportsman and passionate lover of the outdoors. Here he is skating on one of Saskatchewan’s many sloughs.
Through the Soldier Settlement Act, set up to assist returning servicemen after the first war, my godfather Colin Greener purchased a farm near Prongua, about 20 kilometres west of Battleford, Saskatchewan. And there he lived for the rest of his life. Here’s a photo of him on his seeder, drawn by four horses, in 1930. (After his experiences overseas, he was pretty comfortable around horses.)
When World War One was declared, Colin Greener, left, who was five foot three inches tall, was one of the first in line. He joined the First Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1914 at the age of twenty-three. My grandfather Charles Light was there, too. Together they looked like Mutt and Jeff, because Charlie was a strapping lad of twenty, over six feet tall and an amateur heavyweight boxer. (Notice how the photographer has positioned Charlie so that he isn’t towering over Colin.)
Colin Greener left England and arrived in Battleford, Saskatchewan in May 1908 at the age of sixteen. He supported himself until he turned eighteen and was old enough to claim his homestead. He sat up all night in front of the land titles office to be first in line for his chosen 160 acres. In this photograph he is still a teenager, but already a mature adult making his own way in the world.
Colin Campbell Greener was born on June 14, 1891 at Highfield, Lancashire, the son of a mining engineer, in this handsome home. But the family fell on hard times when his father was killed in a mining accident. One of nine children, Colin decided to strike out on his own, and emigrated to Canada, ALONE, at the age of sixteen.