Ex Cadets & Knighthood


During the Convocation Ceremony on Wednesday May 14, H24263 Dr. John S. Cowan said to the Class of 2008

“Of the first 170 cadets who entered RMC from 1876-1883 eight received knightships for feats of leadership in many fields of endeavor on at least four continents.”

After 1919 [ by a Canadian decision] Canadian were no longer eligible for knighthood. Those ex-cadets serving in the British forces were not under any such restriction and so we have the later appointments.

Canadian citizenship didn’t exist until 1947- just one big happy bunch of “British subjects”- so there was no limitations on joining the armed forces in either country. Loewen – for example was born in Canada and after retirement from the British army in the 1950s he returned to Canada and lived the rest of his life here.

Question: How many Ex Cadets have been knighted?  Was it?

12; 14; 16; 18; or 20

Correct answer – 16

#25 Maj-Gen. Sir W.T. Bridges, KCB, CMG (RMC 1877-79)

#88 Twinning (RMC 1880-83)

#123 Ridout (RMC 1881-85)

#138 General Sir George M. Kirkpatrick (RMC 1882-85)

#147 Girouard (RMC 1882-86)

#151 Macdonell (RMC 1883-86)

#162 Van Straubenzee (RMC 1883-86)

#168 Heneker RMC 1884-88 )

#221 Dobell (RMC 1886-90)

#246 Burstall (RMC 1887-89)

#323 Lt.-Gen. Sir George N. Cory, KBE, CB, DSO (RMC 1891- 95)

#703 Brig. Sir Charles Frederick Carson, CBE, MC (RMC 1905-09)

# 729 Grasett (RMC 1906-09)

#758 Wheeler (RMC 1907-10)

#1246 General Sir Charles Loewen, GCB, KBE, DSO (RMC 1916-18)

#2585 Leather (RMC 1937-39)

With thanks to both Victoria Edwards and Ross McKenzie.

More on Knighthood


  • John Kinross Kennedy

    August 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Why is it that Americans can receive the higher order British decorations but Canadians cannot?

    Many of our wartime senior officers never got beyond CB or CBE, while htiere British contemporaries were knighted. I don’t see anything wrong with receiving the higher orders, as long as one is not dignified by “Sir” in this country.

  • Lionel Boxer

    August 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    #25 Sir William Bridges went on to “start” RMC in Australia – first commandant. He was later killed in action as Division Commander at Gallipoli.

    Response to John Kennedy – when Americans receive british decorations (such as the mayor of NYC following his efforts relating to S11) it is done so in an “unoffical way” to satisfy the American laws. So, while they may be presented with the decorations there is no expectation that the recipient will claim the titles or post nominals or wear the decorations. As I understand it, the restriction on who can receive British decorations has more to do with the Canadian imposition on her citizens than reluctance on the part of Britain. We have our Fabian politicians and civil servants to thank for this situation.

    Canadians and Australians who serve with the British Forces continue to receive British decorations. For example, an Australian infantry officer received an MBE for service with the British Forces about ten years ago. At the time I met him he was leading a Battalion posted to East Timor.

  • Lionel Boxer

    August 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    There are plenty of Orders of Chivalry that confer accolades. The Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem continues to confer knighthoods on Canadian members who “hang around long enough” (the words of an Australian KStJ/Major General’s son as told to me by the General). While the KStJ post nominal cannot be used officially, the decoration is worn with military uniforms. For those less patient, there are plenty of unofficial and unrecognised Orders of Chivalry that confer knighthoods – for example the Order of St Lazarus, quite a few Orders of St John (who all claim that they are the “real” order, Knights Templar (Rear Admiral James Carey (US Navy) is the Grand Master), and countless other Orders – just search the internet. I met an Chivarly enthusiast/fanatic in Manhattan, whose Chivalry regalia closet was larger than his wife’s closet – he was creating a new order when I visited his apartment (his wife did not look very impressed with the idea). In a postmodern world this all becomes somewhat pointless, but it can be great fun dressing up in regalia and partaking in lofty pursuits.

  • Victoria Edwards

    September 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    My revised list is 17 ex-cadets who were knighted; I added Rhodes.

    # 25 Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB, CMG;
    # 88 Major-General Sir Philip Geoffrey Twining KCMG, CB, MVO;
    # 123 Major-General Sir Dudley Ridout, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G.;
    # 138 General Sir George Kirkpatrick K.C.B., K.C.S.I.;
    # 147 Sir Edouard Percy Cranwell Girouard K.C.M.C. D.S.O.;
    # 151 Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Cameron Macdonell K.CB., C.M.G., D.S.O.;
    # 162 Major-General Sir Casimir Cartwright van Straubenzee, K.B.E., C.B.E., C.M.G.;
    # 168 General Sir William Charles Giffard Heneker K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O.;
    # 221 Lieutenant-General Sir Charles M. Dobell, K.C.B., C.M.G.. D.S.O.;
    # 246 Major-General Sir Henry Edward Burstall, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.;
    # 323 Lieutenant-General Sir George N. Cory, K.C.B., K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O.;
    # 665 Brigadier-General Sir Godfrey Dean Rhodes, C.B.E., D.S.O., R.E.;
    # 703 Brigadier Sir Charles Frederick Carson, C.B.E., M.C., R.E.;
    # 729 Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Grasett, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., M.C.;
    # 758 Sir Edward Oliver Wheeler M.C., R.E.;
    #1246 General Sir Charles Loewen, G.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O.;
    #2585 Captain Sir Edwin Hartley Cameron Leather M.P.;