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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
Herbert MacMillan Dawson

Herbert Al. Dawson, who won distinction in the World war, is now numbered among the rising young barristers of Edmonton and is following in the professional footsteps of his father, who for many years figures prominently in legal circles of the city. H. M. Dawson was born in Petrolia, Ontario, October 27, 1890, and in the maternal line lie is of Scotch ancestry, the Canadian progenitor of the family being John Macmillan. The paternal grandfather, Daniel Dawson, was born in the north of Ireland, whence he migrated to Canada, and in Sarnia, Ontario, he married Laura Forsyth. Her father was a native of Virginia and during the Revolutionary war was obliged to leave the colonies, owing to his support of the British cause, establishing his home in Canada, where the family has since resided. Herbert James Dawson, the father of the subject of this review, was born in Sombra, Ontario, July 3, 1860, and he was married at Petrolia, in that province, on November 5, 1889, to Jessie Primrose Macmillan, a native of Glasgow, Scotland. In 1903 they came to Edmonton and have since been residents of this city, where for a considerable period the father successfully engaged in the practice of law. Later he became identified with professional activities and served as registrar of the North Alberta Land Title Office, until his death on December 14, 1922.

After completing the curriculum of the grammar schools of Petrolia and the Edmonton high school Herbert M. Dawson attended Upper Canada College at Toronto, Ontario, and later entered the University of Toronto Three years afterward he left that institution to become a law student in the office of the firm of Hyndrnan & Hyndman and was admitted to tho bar on the 20th of January, 1920. He is now practicing in Edmonton and is rapidly building up good clientele. He is an earnest, discriminating student who has thoroughly mastered the principles of jurisprudence, and he correctly applies his knowledge to the points in litigation.

Mr. Dawson's military record is one of which lie has every reason to feel proud. On August 6, 1914, he enlisted at Edmonton for service in the World war, becoming a lieutenant of the Ninteenth Alberta Dragoons, with which he went to Valcartier, Quebec. On the 22d of September, 1914, he sailed with his unit for England and after landing at Plymouth proceeded to Salisbury Plain, where they remained until February, 1915, when they embarked for France. They landed at St. Nazaire and were at once ordered to the area around Hazebrouck. They then entered the trenches, in which they spent about two months, being under fire much of the time. The unit was next sent to Ypres, arriving in time to participate in the second battle at that point, which started on April 22d and continued until the 2d of May. They then went to Festubert and for two weeks were in the trenches, being constantly exposed to the enemy's fire. From that point they were transferred to La Bassee Canal and thence to Givencliy, where they remained for two months, and in August, 1915, were sent to Ploegstrete and hill 63, where they were stationed during 1915-16. In April, 1916, the unit again moved up the Ypres area and took part in the third battle of Ypres in June of that year. They then went to the Somme and were continuously under fire from September 1 to October 1. in the latter month they returned to the Vimy area and wintered there, participating in the battle of Vimy Ridge, from April 9-14, 1916. In August, 1917, they were at Hill 70, in the second battle of Lens, and in October proceeded to Passchendaele, where for a month they were constantly under fire, the engagement having started in August. They returned to Vimy Ridge for the winter of 1917-18, and the unit joined with the Canadian Corps in the operations against the Germans during their advance in March and April, 1918. In the following August they were sent to Amiens, where another battle was started on August 9, continuing for two weeks, and they then proceeded to Arias, in the advance movement toward Cambrai. They were present during the attack and capture of Valenciennes, which occupied about a month, and also participated in the capture of Mons on November 11, 1918. As a part of the Army of Occupation the unit went to the Rhine and was there stationed for two and a half months, leaving Germany on the 14th of February, 1919, and going to Namur, France, where all of the equipment and horses were turned in. At Havre they embarked for England and on April 14, 1919, sailed for home from Liverpool, landing at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. Dawson was demobilized at Toronto, Ontario, May 1, 1919, at which time he was holding the rank of major. For four years and nine months he was in the service of his country, fighting courageously and gallantly to defend her interests. For notable bravery in the operations at the Somme on September 6, 1916, he was awarded the Military Cross and also received mention in military dispatches. He was in seventeen major engagements in France and is therefore entitled to seventeen bars on his military medal. To have passed unscathed through such a terrible ordeal is an experience which borders on the miraculous and Mr. Dawson's remarkable military record tends strongly to confirm one's belief in the doctrine of predestination.

At Portsmouth, England, on the 14th day of March, 1919, Mr. Dawson was united in marriage to Mrs. May Beatrice Fector-Robinson, whose father was a veteran of the South African war, in which he served as a colonel in the Ninth Lancers of the British army.

Mr. Dawson is a member of the Edmonton Club and his political sup port is given to the Conservative party, while his religious views are in accord with the doctrines of the Anglican church. He is a young man who has not yet reached the zenith of his powers, but his ability and ambition will undoubtedly carry him far in his profession, and his many admirable qualities have gained him a high place in the esteem of all with whom he has been associated.


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