Victor Brereton Rivers

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Victor Brereton Rivers
Born February 2 1860
Brockville, Ontario
Died September 25 1911 (of TB)
Buried in Kingston at Cateraquai Cemetery
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Corps of Guides (Canada)
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars Battle of Fish Creek, Battle of Batoche

Lieutenant Colonel Victor Brereton Rivers was the first Intelligence Staff Officer of the Canadian militia on 6 February 1901. His staff work led shortly after, on 1 April 1903, to the formation of the Corps of Guides (Canada), a forerunner of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch.

Early life[edit]

He was born February 2 1860 and lived in Brockville, Ontario. He was educated as part of the first class at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, student #10, one of the “Old Eighteen.” He entered the college on 1 June 1876. Since cadets received their numbers based on their standings in the entrance examinations, he was 10 of 18.[1] As a sergeant, having completed his full period of instruction at the College, he was granted a second-class certificate of graduation dated 30 June 1880. The Dominion Annual Register and Review recorded that the aggregate number of marks he obtained was 24274 (honours).[2]

Career[edit]

He became a career soldier with the Canadian Permanent Active Militia, as a lieutenant in 'A' Battery, which operated the first Gatling Gun to be used in combat in Canada. He was a veteran of the Battle of Fish Creek (April 24, 1885) and the Battle of Batoche (May 5–12, 1885).[3] At the Battle of Fish Creek, District of Saskatchewan, the Dominion forces under General Middleton attempting to quell Louis Riel's North-West Rebellion retreated. At the Battle of Batoche, District of Saskatchewan, the Dominion forces defeated the Métis' attempt to maintain Aboriginal independence in the disputed "Canadian" North-West Territories. Portions of letters he sent to his wife Maud from the front were posted in the Brockville newspaper of the time.

He was elected president of the Royal Military College Club in 1891.[4]

During the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899–1902), Canadian mounted troops gathered information of intelligence value with the Strathcona’s Horse and British scout units. Canadian intelligence efforts in South Africa led to his appointment on 6 February 1901 as the first Intelligence Staff Officer of the Canadian Militia. He reported to the first Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) Brevet-Major William A.C. Denny, Royal Army Service Corps.[5] His staff work led shortly after, on 1 April 1903, to the formation of the Corps of Guides (Canada), “The Guides should be intelligent men and capable of active work with a knowledge of the topographical features of the country as well as the roads, the country between the roads, sidepaths, names of farmers, etc. in the area, and when possible, should be in possession of a horse.” This organization was the forerunner of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch.[6] He served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Militia headquarters staff, Ottawa. He died of TB in 1911

Family[edit]

He married Maud Gertrude Gildersleeve, born March 26 1864, who after his death never remarried and died December 19 1954 at age 90. Their home in Ottawa, Ontario, was at 252 Daly Avenue. They had four children Helen who died at 2 month of age, Marjorie, born August 11 1889 who died September 6 1911 of TB at age 20 (nineteen days before her father), Charles, who served in WW1 as a pilot and who died of stomach cancer in 1967 at age 72 he had no children and the youngest Victor Henry, who served in the trenches during WW1 where he was gassed but survived and died in 1994 at age 96. He had two children Victor B. Rivers and Timothy C. Rivers who both survive. Maud's Father was Charles Fuller Gildersleeve, originally a lawyer but became general manager of the Northern Navigation Company.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Old 18 Bios, Royal Military Colleges Club Foundation, Kingston http://www.rmcclubfoundation.ca/English/PDFs/Old18Bios.pdf
  2. ^ Henry James Morgan ‘The Dominion annual register and review’ http://books.google.ca/books?id=vCoOxEINLoUC&pg=PA383&dq=%22Victor+Brereton+Rivers%22&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  3. ^ Graeme Mercer Adam ‘The Canadian North-west: its history and its troubles, from the early days’
  4. ^ H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  5. ^ Harold A. Skaarup ‘Out of Darkness--Light: A History of Canadian Military Intelligence, Volume 1’
  6. ^ History of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch http://www.intbranch.org/index_frame.htm
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of Canadian Biography - http://www.archive.org/stream/encyclopediaofca01montuoft/encyclopediaofca01montuoft_djvu.txt

Books[edit]

  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876-1918. Volume II: 1919-1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984