Wallace Bruce Matthews Carruthers

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Wallace Bruce Matthews Carruthers
Nickname(s) Bruce
Born February 13, 1863
Kingston Ontario
Died October 21, 1910
Buried Cataraqui Cemetery
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1883-1910(death)
Rank Major
Commands held Assistant Adjutant General for Signalling
Awards Queen's South Africa Medal

Major Wallace Bruce Matthews Carruthers (February 13, 1863 – October 21, 1910) was a Canadian soldier and the founder of the Canadian Signalling Corps.


Born in Kingston, Ontario, Bruce Carruthers graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (College Number 82) in 1883.[1]


Upon graduation from RMC he served in the 21st Hussars for four years before returning to Canada. He then served in the 14th Battalion of Rifles until 1899 when he resigned his commission in order to take part in the South African War. He served as a Sergeant in the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment. and took part in the Battle of Paardeberg. Carruthers returned to South Africa for further service as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles. On March 31, 1902 he was involved in the action at Harts River (Boschbult) where he was leading some 21 men of 3rd and 4th Troops 'E' Squadron to screen the main body of Cookson's Column as they prepared a defensive position. Faced with several hundred charging Boers and no cover, Lieutenant Carruthers dismounted his men to meet the attack. They fought until out of ammunition by which time 17 had been killed or wounded, including Carruthers.[2][3] As a result of his service he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps: Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Cape Colony, SA 1902.[4]

Based on his experiences in South Africa and his recognition of the importance of communications he lobbied for the establishment of a signal corps upon his return to Canada. He was successful and on October 24, 1903 the first independently organized signal corps in the British Empire was formed. Carruthers was appointed Inspector of Signalling of the young Corps and, when reorganization in 1906, was appointed the Assistant Adjutant-General for Signalling.[5]

Major Carruthers died at the age of 47 on October 21, 1910, from tuberculosis contracted during his service in South Africa. He was given a huge military funeral at Chalmers Presbyterian Church and was buried in the Cataraqui Cemetery.


  1. ^ 90 Years and Counting - Birth of the Canadian Signalling Corps
  2. ^ the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  3. ^ Organization of Military Museums Bulletin, Volume 3 (1974).
  4. ^ South Africa Medal Register
  5. ^ History of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals 1903-1961, John S. Moir (editor).