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The Men of the 143rd Battalion

The 143rd Battalion was a unique battalion in that it's original purpose was to recruit men who were under the regulation height of 5' 4".  There were many men who were anxious to serve at the front and "do their part", but were barred because of their height.  Obviously the word went out about the Bantams all over the world, because men came from far and wide to join.

Maurice W Bartlett  and Leslie E Cant came from Australia and joined. 

Robert W Brown from Essex, England.  Robert C Browne from Portadown, Ireland. 

William Green  and Otto Moran from New Zealand. 

Herbert Eggleston travelled from Mexico to join the 143rd and claimed to have fought against Pancho Villa. 

Burgess Beall came from Ohio and joined. Guard W. Bennett from Idaho.  Leopold J Bourdon from Nevada.  Joseph R Despain from Oregon.  Walter Glauser from New York.

William B. Smith travelled from China to Victoria in order to enlist with the 143rd.

Victor De Pessemier is reported as being the shortest man to join at a height of 4' 8 1/2". 

Ernest Greig who managed to enlist at the age of 16, died of tuberculosis while in England.  The same week word came to his mother in Victoria that his brother Robert Greig serving with the 121st Battalion was killed in action.  Ernest also had three other brothers serving at the front.

William Lister, while serving time in a provincial jail for robbery, tried to re-enlist with the 143rd.  He was unsuccessful. 

In October 1916 14 sailors abandoned their posts with His Majesty's Navy and enlisted with the 143rd.  Eventually they were discovered and had to return to their Navy jobs.

Sidney Naylor, who tried to join the 47th Battalion while in BC, was rejected because of his height, joined the 143rd and was subsequently transferred to the 47th Battalion after the battalion was broken up.  

Norman McDonnell walked from Kamloops in order to join the battalion. 

George Lymbourne Service enlisted with the 143rd after 20 years service with the Royal North West Mounted Police.  He was 44, married and had 8 children when he enlisted.

Walter Thornton an American born civil engineer joined the battalion and indicated he had served "One year with General Villa in Mexico".

Cpl Robert Stephen, who was on the recruiting staff of the 143rd, wrote a letter to the editor about the problems of recruiting.  He also wrote a poem that was in aid of the recruiting effort. 

Mirhan Yardumian, an Armenian, joined the Battalion in order to get his revenge against the Turks. 

Faivel Zavadsky a Pole who had fought on both the eastern and western front, joined the 143rd. 

The Battalion's first casualty was L/Cpl. James Varley Johnson who died of spinal meningitis in Victoria on May 12, 1916 after a short illness. He is the only soldier known that is buried under the name of the 143rd Battalion. 

Three brothers, Frank, Herbert and James Youson all joined the Battalion. 

Three brothers Aubrey, Charles and George Clapp all joined the Battalion

Percival D. Sprinkling was one of four brothers serving in the war. 

Anthony Durham was one of seven brothers serving in the war. 

Joseph W George was one of seven brothers serving in the war. 

Gordon E Kenning and his father and five brothers were serving their country. 

Arthur Thomas Hardy was one of fifteen brothers who were serving in the war.  Seven of the brothers were killed in action up to July 1916. 


The rest of the men who enlisted with the 143rd carried on such occupations as Able Bodied Seaman, Accountant, Actor, Agent, Air Brake Cleaner, Apprentice, Apprentice Trainee of Racehorses, Architect, Auctioneer, Auto Driver, Auto Mechanic, Automobile Mechanic, Automobile Repairer, Aviator, Baker, Baker and Confectioner, Baker and Musician, Baker's Helper, Bakers Helper, Bandsman, Bank Clerk, Bank Teller, Banker, Banking Clerk, Bar conductor, Bar Tender, Barber, Barrister & Solicitor, Bell boy, Billiard Professional, Blacksmih, Blacksmith, Blacksmith & Farrier, Blacksmith Helper, Blacksmithing, blank, Boat Hand, Boiler Maker, Boiler Maker Helper, Boilermaker, Book Binder, Bookbinder Clerk, Bookbinding & Farming, Bookkeeper, Bookkeeper & Stenographer, Bookkeeper and Teacher Public School, Bottle Washer, Box Manufacturer, Boxmaker, Brakeman, Brass Finisher, Bricklayer, Bricklayer & Mason, Bridge Carpenter, Broker, Broom Maker, Builder, Bushman, Butcher, Butter Wrapper, Cabinet Maker, Camp Cook, Candy Maker, Candy Vendor, Canner, Caretaker, Carman, Carpenter, Carpenter and Joiner, Carpentry, Carriage Smith, Caulker & Cutter, Chauffer, Chauffeur, Chemist, Chief of Police, Cigar business, Cigar Maker, Civil Engineer, Cleaner-Presser, Clergyman, Clerk, Clerk Grocer, Coachman, Coal Miner, Commercial Traveller, Compositor, Construction Engineer, Construction Foreman, Contractor, Cook, Cook & Baker, Cook & Tailor, Cook baker, Cooper, Copper Smith, Cotton Spinner, Court Official, Cow Puncher, Cowboy, Cycle Engineering, Dairyman, Decorator, Delivery Boy, Deputy Registrar, County Court, Die Sinker, Dining Car Conductor, Dispenser, Soda Fountain, Dock Labourer, Draftsman, Draughtsman, Driver, Driver & Logger, Drug clerk, Drug store apprentice, Druggist, Druggist Clerk, Elastic Knitter, Electric Lineman, Electric Wireman, Electrical Engineer, Electrician, Electro Silver Plater, Elevator Operator, Engineer, Engineer's Helper, Estate Agent, Estate Agent, Excavating Work, Express Driver, Farm hand, Farm Labourer, Farmer, Farmer and Mason, Farmer&Carpenter, Farmers Help, Farmhand, Fire Boss Miner, Fire Ranger, Fireman, Fisherman, Fishmonger, Fitter, Florist, Forestry Clerk, Fruit grower, Furniture Salesman, Garage Dealer, Gardener, Gardner, Gas operator, Glass beveler, Glazier, Grocer, Grocery Clerk, Grocery Packer, Groom, Gunsmith, Handy man, Hardware clerk, Hardware Man, Horse Dealer, Horseman, Hospital Clerk, Hospital Orderly, Hotel Clerk, Hotel Keeper, Hotel Manager, Insurance Agent, Insurance Clerk, Iron Moulder, Ironworker, Jailor, Janitor, Journalist, Laborer, Labourer, Land Surveyor, Landscape Gardner, Law Student, Lineman, Lithographers Apprentice, Locomotive Engineer, Locomotive Fireman, Logger, Longshoreman, Lumberjack, Lumberman, Machine Miner, Machinist, Machinist Apprentice, Machinist Fitter, Mail Clerk, Manual Training Instructor, Manufacturing Clerk, Marine Engineer, Marine Fireman, Marine Steward, Mason, Master Mariner, Mechanic, Mechanics Assistant, Mercantile Marine, Merchanic, Messenger Boy, Messenger Service, Messenger, Mill Labourer, Mine Worker, Miner, Motor Driver, Motorcycle Messenger, Moulder, Moving Picture operator, Musician, Newsagent, Nurseryman, Office man and stenographer, Orderly in Hospital, Ordinary Seaman, Packer, Painter, Painter and Paperhanger, Painter, Glazier & Clerk, Paper boy, Paper vendor, Pavement Worker, Photographer, Piano Tuner, Pianoforte Tuner, Pipe Fitter, Pipe Layer, Placer Miner and Seaman, Plasterer, Platelayer, Plumber, Police Officer, Policeman, Porter, Powder Worker, Powderman, Pre-emptor, Printer, Printing Pressman, Prospector, Railer, Railroad Construction, Railroad Construction Foreman, Railroad Labourer, Railroad Man, Railroader, Railway Commissary, Railway Engineer, Railway Fireman, Railway Labourer, Railway Mail clerk, Ranch help, Rancher, Ranch-Hand, Ranching, Reporter, Restauranteur, Road Foreman, Roofer, Sailmaker, Sailor, Sailor, U.S. Merchant Service, Sales Manager, Salesman, Sawyer, Scholar, School Teacher, School Teacher, Seaman, Section Foreman, CPR, Ship Yards, Shipper, Ship's Cook & Steward, Ship's Fireman, Ship's Painter, Ships Steward, Shoemaker, Shopman, Sign Painter, Silk Salesman, Soapmaker, Soldier, Station Agent, Stationary Engineer, Stationery Engineer, Steam Engineer, Steam Fitter, Steam Pipe Fitter, Steamboat Man., Steel Tire Setter, Stenographer, Stenographer & Accountant, Steward, Stoker, Stone Cutter, Stone dresser, Stone Mason, Stone-cutter, Store Keeper, Storekeeper, Storekeeper and Cook, Storeman, Student, Student at Law, Tailor, Tallyman, Teacher, Teamster, Telegraph Operator, Telegraph&telephone Lineman, Telephone Wireman, Tile setter and bricklayer, Tile Setting, Timekeeper, Tinsmith, Tobacconist, Veterinary Surgeon, Waiter, Warehouse Clerk, Warehouseman, Watchman, Wholesale Grocery, Wholesale Clerk, Winchman, Window Trimmer, Wine Clerk, Wireless Operator, Wireless Student, Wireworker and Woodsman.

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