Brig.Gen. F.S. Meighen, C.M.G. Commanding Officer August 1914 – June 19th, 1915
Brig.Gen. F.S. Meighen, C.M.G.
Commanding Officer August 1914 – June 19th, 1915

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 09 August 1914 – The first Commanding Officer of the newly formed Royal Montreal Regiment was Lieut.-Colonel Frank Stephen Meighen.  A patron of the arts, impresario and army officer, he was born at Perth, Ontario, on 26 Dec 1870.   He earned a BA at McGill in 1889. He inherited his father’s fortune and was an astute businessman involved mainly in railways and the milling trade. Although he studied piano with Paul Letondal, his passion was opera. Deploring the absence of a regular company in Montreal, he collaborated with Albert Clerk-Jeannotte in 1910 to found the Montreal Musical Society, which the following year became the Montreal Opera Company. In three seasons, 1910-13, the company gave close to 300 performances in Montreal and other Canadian and US cities. Meighen financed the undertaking, which, at the time of its dissolution, had cost him more than $100,000.[1]

He had risen to command the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada in 1906, and subsequently had transferred to, and served with the 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards. [2] As Lieutenant-Colonel, he became the original commanding officer of the 14th Battalion CEF, The Royal Montreal Regiment. He led the 14th Battalion at the Battles of Ypres and Festubert in 1915.  He returned from Europe in June 1915 to establish the 87th Battalion CEF, Canadian Grenadier Guards. He was promoted to Brigadier in September 1916 and placed in command of the training at Bramshot, England. [3]

Upon his return to Canada in 1919, he displayed his generosity again, underwriting the concerts of the Canadian Grenadier Guards Band at the Orpheum Theatre 1919-20 and at His Majesty’s Theatre 1920-3. He served 1927-9 as president of Gagnier’sMSO. From 1936 until his death he was a member of the board of directors of the Montreal Festivals Society and of several other musical initiatives, including the MSO. He published several articles in the Montreal Gazette. He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1915 and an Officer of the Legion of Honour in 1924. [4]   He died at Montreal 19 January 1946.


[1] The Canadian Encyclopaedia,
[2] Featherstonhaugh, R.C., The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925,  pg. 5
[3] The Canadian Great War Project,
[4] The Canadian Encyclopaedia,




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