More on Lt Col Dick Worrall

Thanks to the good chaps at the Great War Forum, I’ve managed to find out more about Lieutenant-Colonel Dick Worrall DSO and Bar MC and Bar.

According to the Montreal Gazette of 18 April 1919, Dick Worrall brought his Battalion home to Canada that weekend from Europe. According to the Newspaper Worrall joined the 14th Battalion of the Montreal Regiment in 1914. Apparently he actually joined via the Canadian Grenadier Guards, who provided a section for the Battalion. A ‘well set man of about 30 years of age walked in, saying that he wanted to enlist’. He soon became a Sergeant in No. 2 Section, before the Battalion had even left Canada.

After leaving for Europe and training in England, the 14th Battalion went to the Western Front, and Worrall was commissioned as an officer after the 2nd Battle of Ypres in Spring 1915. In June 1916 he was promoted to Captain, and was wounded in the same month. He was evidently seriously wounded, as he was away until November 1916, when he was promoted to Major. Initially he was given command of the Canadian Reinforcing Corps as an acting Lieutenant Colonel, but when he Battalion lost a large number of officers he returned as second-in-command. The CO, Lieutenant Colonel McCombe, was wounded during the German’s spring advance in 1918. Worrall took over command, a position he held until the end of the war.

The Montreal Gazette also tells us much about his family background. Apparently the Worralls originated from Birmingham. Intriguingly, Dick Worrall had previously served for a time in the Gloucestershire Regiment, and had emigrated from Britain to America. He then joined the US Army, but when war was declared in 1914 he went to Canada to fight for King and Country once more.

So, Worrall had served in three different armies, won a total of six decorations for gallantry, and had been promoted from Private to Colonel within 4 years. Remarkable.

The Toronto World of 18 February 1920 carries the story of Dick Worrall’s funeral. The service was attended by many senior officers. The Governor General and General Sir Arthur Currie were not able to attend. The band of the Royal Montreal Regiment played, and a firing party and escort accompanied the cortege from St James the Apostle’s Church to Fletchers Field, where three volley’s were fired. The Last Post was then played. The coffin was then taken from the gun carriage to a waiting hearse, and then on to Mount Royal Ceremony.




Filed under Army, portsmouth heroes, western front, World War One

2 responses to “More on Lt Col Dick Worrall

  1. johncerickson

    Great stuff. I’ve gotta contact the admin at GWPDA (or whatever it’s official term is), my ID still can’t post stuff. Either that, or I may have to piggyback off somebody’s ID that works (hint, hint). 😀

  2. James Daly

    I’ve just found his WW1 joiningup papers online at the Canadian Archives – enlightened Canucks allow you to have them for free! It gives his next of kin – a lady in Southsea, Portsmouth – and states that he served previously for eight years in the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment – not the Glosters as previously thought. Interestingly enough he was also covered in tattoos, on both arms and one leg. Must be unique for a Lt Col!

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