Brig-Gen W. St. P. Hughes DSO, VD
Commanded the Battalion from Oct 20 1914 to May 23, 1916
(The following is taken from the 21st Battalion Historical Calendar)
The first Commanding Officer was in pre-war days associated with the 14th Regiment (Princess of Wales' Own Rifles), of Kingston, Ontario. At the outbreak of war he was commanding the unit. General (then Lieut.-Colonel) Hughes was appointed to mobilize and command the 21st Canadian Battalion in November, 1914, and continued in such capacity until he assumed command of the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, in France, on the 14th of July, 1916, and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. He saw service in the North-West Rebellion, wearing the riband of that campaign. He also completed the period for the Long Service Decoration in the Canadian Active Militia. Previous to the war he was Inspector of Penitentiaries.
The name of General W. St. Pierre Hughes, the moving spirit in the Battalion for so many months, who directed and "fathered" the unit from the days of its infancy, and whose character as a man and example as on officer became engrained into its life, will ever be associated with its history.
(the following is taken from the Kingston Daily Standard newspaper, December 19, 1914)
Lt-Col St. Pierre Hughes is a brother of the Minister of Militia, and has worn the uniform of a soldier for nearly forty years, serving in the 45th, 46th, 90th, 79th and the 14th regiments. Col Hughes organized the St Andrew’s Cadets, and drilled the corps for over two years. He served with the 90th Regiment in the Northwest Rebellion in 1885 for which he wears the medal and clasp. He was present at the battles of Fish Creek, Batoche, relief to Prince Albert and Battleford and was a member of the expedition sent after the famous Indian chief, Big Bear. He has been one of the best rifle shots in Canada for the past 25 years. Col Hughes was selected with Geo H Bradbury, MP for Selkirk, to cut the cable at Batoche and both men succeeded in their hazardous task.
When the 14th Regiment was changed from six to eight companies, the two extra companies were organized and drilled by Col Hughes, and the two new companies were turned over complete in men and qualified officers to the regiment. The colonel has been active all his life in athletics, playing for thirteen years on championship lacrosse, and he was a member of the famous Cornwall team during the time that it held the undefeated championship for nine consecutive years. He accompanied the 14th Regiment to the Tercentenary at Quebec, and three years ago played a very prominent and creditable part in the tactical contest held in this district, being the commanding officer of the right half of the forces engaged in the scheme. For twenty years he was on the staff of the Portsmouth Penitentiary and now holds the responsible position of Inspector of Penitentiaries. Mrs. Hughes is as much a soldier as her devoted husband, having given willingly her husband and her son to the causes of Empire in its present great crisis. Lt-Col Hughes is tall and well put together physically and it is no wonder that a man of his qualities held the mile championship for Canada against all comers for a number of years. He is pleasant and affable in manner, cheerful in disposition, firm in his convictions, quick in apprehension, with a wonderful capacity for organization, and a perfect mastery of the most minute military detail He is easily approached in his office by every man from senior Major to the latest private that has joined the ranks of his battalion.
Summary of Service Record
There are 2 pages of his file that
have been damaged and could not be copied by Library and Archives Canada.
The Hughes family home as it stands today (2007) in Ottawa.