The Canadian Expeditionary Force Novels

Forging the Weapon cover 1914
Hammering the Blade cover 1915
Sharpening the Blade cover 1916
Tempering the Blade cover 1917


Frank Rockland

Characters > Fictional

Lieutenant-Colonel Llewellyn


It was a raining Dominion Day, July 1st, when we first meet Captain Llewellyn. He was attending an annual training camp for 1,500 cadets at the Niagara-on-the-Lake military reserve as a recruiter and instructor. It was here that he first learns of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination. It was a small newspaper article in the back pages of the local paper. Like everyone else, he dismissed it not realizing the impact the assassination would have on his life and countless others.

As the crisis escalated and war is declared on August 4th he was tasked by the Dominion Secret Police to check the border for possible attacks by German reservists, similar to the Fenian Raids forty years earlier. After that he was assigned by the Richmond Fusiliers to help with recruiting volunteers for the CEF. When he had answered the call he had to accept the lower rank of lieutenant.

Right from the beginning, Llewellyn attempts to bring order to chaos that surrounds him and his men first at Valcartier and then later at Salisbury Plain. It was at Valcartier he was given a field promotion to captain by Colonel Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia and Defence.

As he attempts to prepare his men for what they would expect in France he runs afoul of his commanding officer who fires him. Later, Llewellyn is hired by Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Currie, the commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, to be his intelligence officer.


During the first month of 1915 Captain Llewellyn was still training at Salisbury Plain. He was anxiously waiting, like the rest of the Canadians, for orders from the War Office to deploy to France. The orders finally came, and in early February the Canadian Division sailed to France.

The voyage to their debarking port of Saint Nazaire wasn't a pleasant one for the captain. Caught in a savage winter storm in the Bay of Biscay a loose crate slammed into his chest breaking several of his ribs. He was hospitalized at the No. 2 Stationary Hospital at the Hotel du Golf in Le Touquet where he was reacquainted with Nurse Samantha Lonsdale.

In March, after recuperating from his injuries, he rejoined Colonel Currie and the 3nd Brigade as they enter the front at Ploegsteert Woods to receive instructions in trench warfare.

In April, the Canadian Division was assigned to relieve the French in the Ypres Salient, a quiet sector, to gain more experience. The quiet didn't last long as the Germans unleashed the first gas attack of the war. In the battle, Captain Llewellyn leads remnants of the Richmond Fusiliers and stragglers, Gunner Paul Ryan was one, with Samantha Lonsdale nursing the wounded in a desperate fight to hold the line.

In June, he was back in action at Givenchy, where the Canadians were ordered to capture the German trenches. After surviving the battle, he was ordered to conduct testing on the Ross Rifle to find out why it had jammed during the recent battles.

He provided security for Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden when he visited the troops in France in July. Shortly after he was assigned to the Canadian base at Shorncliffe to pass on his battle experience to the newly arrived 2nd Division. While at Shorncliffe he starts romancing Samantha Lonsdale.

He rejoined Major-General Currie's staff as an intelligence officer, in September, shortly after Currie was appointed the general officer commanding of 1st Canadian Division. In November, Major-General Currie, after the Canadian raid on Petit Douve Farm, appoints him as brigade-major for the Richmond Fusiliers.

At the end of the year, he is preparing the Richmond Fusiliers for what awaits them in the new year.


The new year brings challenges to Major Llewellyn as the Richmond Fusiliers settle into the daily grind of trench duty. The winter months are spent training, with the occasional trench raid, for the upcoming spring operations.

In March, he had to take leave to visit his girlfriend, Nursing Sister Samantha Lonsdale, near death suffering from scarlet fever. When she recovers, he returns to the Western Front where he has to figure out how to take advantage of the new weapons, the Lewis machine gun and the Stokes Mortar, being added to the Corps’ firepower.

In June, days after Lieutenant-General Byng takes command of the Canadian Corps, Major Llewellyn takes part in the 1st Division’s assaults to take back Mount Sorrel and Tor Top lost by the 3rd Division. The German attack had inflicted severe losses on the 3rd Division with Major-General Mercer, the GOC of the 3rd Division, being killed and Brigadier-General Williams, the GOC of the 8th Brigade, being captured.

Major Llewellyn spends most of July and August preparing the Richmond Fusiliers for their move to the Somme.

September and October were busy as the Canadian Corps replaced the 1 Anzac Corps in the Somme. During the battles at Pozières, Albert, and Courcellete Major Llewellyn sees the introduction of the creeping barrage and the ‘tank’, a new secret weapon. It was in October that he and Lieutenant-Colonel Tennison were buried alive by friendly artillery fire. Tennison was so badly injured that command of the Richmond Fusiliers was passed on to Major Llewellyn.

As the acting lieutenant-colonel the full weight of command falls on Llewellyn’s shoulders when he learns that the Canadian Corps had been assigned to take Vimy Ridge in the 1917 spring offensive.


Surveyor by trade, he was born in March 17, 1878. His parents died in childhood and was raised in various orphanages in Toronto. When he was eighteen he joined the Canadian contingent in the Boer but had served at the tail end but he didn't see any action. It was there that he discovered that he liked surveying. When he came back he apprenticed with various surveyors that were mapping the routes for the Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and the Grand Trunk railways.

He kept his hand in military by joining the Corps of Guides, the miltia's intelligence unit.

Military Service