Stewart Paterson RSM

10/01/2015 18:45
Stewart Paterson - born 1883
Stewart Paterson (born 27 May 1883) was my grandfather’s cousin. He was the grandson of Stewart
Paterson, molecatcher, who I’ve written about previously. His father was James Paterson (1859-1913).
His secondary school education was at Galashiels Academy and at George Watson's in Edinburgh.
He went to South Africa in1899 (some sources say 1901), when he was about 17, serving with the South
African Constabulary (a para-military police force raised by the British Army during the Second Boer War and
run by Baden Powell). He also served in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony, and in Swaziland. In about
1910 he was in charge of the town and large district of Potchefstroom, where one of the largest Boer War
concentration camps was to be found at a slightly earlier date.
He did accountancy work for mining companies in Johannesburg. In total he seems to have been in South
Africa for about 13 years.
He arrived in Canada in May1914 (probably on the Cassandra sailing from Glasgow), and was employed in
the office of either the Winnipeg City Engineer or the Winnipeg tax department as an accountant.
On the outbreak of War in August 1914 he enlisted with Canadian Infantry, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light
He was part of the Canadian forces sent over to Europe. He became Acting Regimental Sergeant
Major and served from August 1914 until July 1918 when he was invalided out. He was both gassed and
He was on the staff of General Snow at Salonika for part of the war.
He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The London Gazette (19 August 1916) said:
“1615 Sjto. S. Paterson, Can. Infy.
For conspicuous gallantry and determination in holding on to a position. When his
flank had dropped back, and the enemy had called upon him to surrender, he
gathered half his platoon together, charged the enemy, causing him to retire with
several casualties.”
His Canadian attestation papers say that
He enlisted on August 24 1914 at Ottawa and was single.
In civilian life he was an Accountant
He had prior military experience - 2nd Volunteer KOSB; South African Constabulary; South African Military Police
He was 5feet 10inches in height and his chest measurement was 39inches
He was wounded on October 8, 1916
He was employed after he came out of the army by the Provincial Government in the Highways Department
in Winnipeg.
He married Florence Clee (1882-1973) in 1919 and their children were James Earlston Paterson (1920-1992),
Hazel Paterson (b1920). The marriage took place on 21 Feb 1919 in Woolwich Registry Office.
He was active in community life including the Masons. His sister Miss Helen Paterson lived in Winnipeg also.
He died in Winnipeg in 1963.
Some sources
1. Winnipeg Free Press 4 November 1963
STEWART PATERSON, D.C.M. On November 1, 1963, at Deer Lodge Hospital, Stewart, aged 80 years, beloved husband of
Florence Paterson of Ste. 5, Nassau Apts., 554 Jessie Avenue. Funeral service will be held in the Thomson Funeral Chapels,
Broadway at Furby, Tuesday, November 5, at p.m. The Very Rev. Dr. W. G. Maclean officiating. Interment in Garry Memorial
Park.. Courtesy parking west of the funeral chapels. Mr. Paterson was born in Earlston, Berwickshire, Scotland, and was
educated at Watson's College, Edinburgh. He went to South Africa in 1899, serving with the South African Constabulary
throughout the African and Zulu Rebellion. An accountant by profession, he came to Canada in 1913 and was employed by
the City of Winnipeg Tax Dept. until the First World War. He enlisted with the original P.P.C.L.I., served overseas with that
regiment under the late Col. Hamilton Gault as Regimental Sargeant Major, and in 1919 he returned to Canada. He was later
employed by the Provincial Government in the Highways Dept. until his retirement. Mr: Paterson was a life member of the
Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans, a life member of the Guards Association of Canada, and a member of the Overseas Club.
He was a member of Melrose Masonic Lodge No. 12, AF and AM of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, Past-President of the
South African War Veterans Company, and Recording Secretary for the past forty-three years. Surviving besides his wife, are
a son, James of Red Deer, Alta.; a daughter, Mrs. S. A. (Hazel) Griffin of Winnipeg; four grandchildren; and one
great-grandchild; one brother, John in England; and a sister, Miss Helen Paterson of Winnipeg.
2. Winnipeg Tribune 31 August 1916 p5
Winnipegger Wins Medal for Heroism
SGT.-MAJ. STEWART PATERSON advices to relative living in Winnipeg tell that Sergt.-Maj. Stewart Paterson is to be
awarded Distinguished Conduct medal for gallant conduct on the field of battle, he was wounded but is now convalescent.
He was born and reared at Earlston, Berwickshire, Scotland and was educated at Galashlels academy and George Watson's
College, Edinburgh. He Joined Baden Powell's police before he was 18 years of age and served through the South African
campaign. For 13 years he served with the mounted police n the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Swazieland and also
acted as accountant for one of the Hand mining companies in Johannesburg. He came to Winnipeg early in 1914 and was
employed in the office of the city engineer and went away with the first contingent of the Princess Patricias. He win on the
staff of Gen. Snow at Saloniki. but was recalled to his regiment at Marseilles and is one of the very few survivors of the
original Princess Pats. He has been gassed and later was wounded.
3. Extract from the book “My life” by Dr William Mair
(1830-1920) published 1911 (Dr Mair was minister at
Earlston for 34 years)
It has got on my mind that I cannot more fittingly take leave of Earlston than
by the mention of some of its boys of my time, who will carry its traditions
further down, and who give promise of adding to its fame....
Stewart Paterson was well advanced in George Watson's College, Edinburgh,
when during the South African War, with the full consent of his parents, in
January 1901, he joined the South African Constabulary, and on his eighteenth birthday was doing sentry duty over
Boer prisoners. His knowledge of German was in his favour, and he soon acquired the Taal. He has risen in the forces,
occupying positions of trust, is now in the Transvaal Police next to the commandant, and is also public prosecutor in the
native courts. He has just been put in charge of the town and large district of Potchefstroom.
4. Canadian Army attestation papers
5. Canadian Census 1921
6. Scottish Census 1891
7. National Archives of South Africa
8. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935
9. London Gazette 19 August, 1916