A Brief Note about the Provost Marshall

As stated, Col Gilbert Godson-Godson the Provost Marshall for Canada from 1917 until 1920. I thought there might have been an error in his name. I thought it was simply “Godson” as Tresham wrote. Even though his official personnel record listed “Godson-Godson”, I have noticed errors in these records before. So, it wasn’t until I discovered other instances of “Godson-Godson” that I realized my error.

My first clue was on page 21 of the “Report of the Director of the Military Service Branch to the Honourable the Minister of Justice on the Operation of the Military Service Act, 1917”. (NOTE: The title normally gets shortened to “the Operation of the Military Service Act 1917”.) In Section XIII – The Special Dominion Police, there is this quote, “unfailing readiness to co-operate shown by the Provost Marshal for Canada, Col. Godson-Godson, D.S.O.” As a result, I started looking for more instances.

So far, I’ve found two instances, which confirms the “Godson-Godson”. First, “The Canadian Convalescent Hospital Bear Wood, Wokigham, Berkshire 1915-18” provided references on page 26 and a picture on page 31. On Page 26, the book references Lt Col Godson-Godson officiated over a medal ceremony. The caption underneath the picture states “Staff, 1917, and Colonel Godson-Godson.” I knew he spent time at a hospital because of his Personnel Record. He was wounded on April 24, 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres. At the time, he was a major in the 16th Battalion. The gun shot wounds to the face and neck required pretty extensive surgery. He medically evacuated to London and eventually deemed fit for general service in Canada only.

The second source for “Godson-Godson” was in a book on published dispatches for awards. The dispatch was dated 31 May, 1915 (Page 189) and contains a list of people recommended for the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.). On page 240, under the 16th Canadian Battalion, it lists a Major Godson Godson. While it appears the D.S.O. may have been awarded for the Second Battle of Ypres, I haven’t confirmed it yet.

For more information on Col Godson-Godson, the Canadian Provost Corps page has a brief biography on him.

1. Tresham, Origin of the Canadian Provost Corps: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/history-0.htm
2. Godson-Godson Personnel Record Archive: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=420935
3. Operations of the Military Service Act, 1917: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112049607077;view=1up;seq=33
4. The Canadian Convalescent Hospital: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mcg.ark:/13960/t2994jh3j;view=1up;seq=31
5. Naval and Military Despatches Relating to Operations in the War. September October November 1914: With List of Honours and Rewards Confered : https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112052742712;view=1up;seq=254
6. Godson-Godson Brief Biography: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/pm.godson.htm

Additional Sources:
1. Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Service_Order
2. The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs: https://books.google.com/books?id=D38VAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA469&lpg=PA469&dq=col+godson-godson&source=bl&ots=t-jf1YjNvO&sig=1HkuJ8Xu_SNGwfsbC-Xq971U65g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimi9WFgLfaAhXOTd8KHQCLC4kQ6AEITjAK#v=onepage&q=col%20godson-godson&f=false
3. For Most Conspicuous Bravery: A Biography of Major-General George R. Pearkes, V.C., through Two World Wars  : https://books.google.com/books?id=43N_XP7ZbXkC&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=col+godson-godson&source=bl&ots=t8z9nffjMa&sig=XtL4Gc3BPalNWM4bFO3rL__D0E4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimi9WFgLfaAhXOTd8KHQCLC4kQ6AEIVTAM#v=onepage&q=col%20godson-godson&f=false
4. 2nd Battle of Ypres: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Ypres