Frederick MW Harvey was born in September of 1888 at a place called Athboy in County Meath, Ireland. He attended school at the Portora Royal High School and Ellmore College. On the sports field he was soon becoming a major rugby player. His game had been so improved that he made the International team from Ireland that went up against Wales in 1907.
In 1908 Frederick immigrated to Canada where it is believed he may have taken up the work of a rancher, and had a passion for horses and of course Rugby. The later would see him return to Ireland temporarily in 1911 to again represent the country internationally, this time against France. A country he would see again a few years later in a different sort of battle of wits. Fred's surveying work took him into the north country of Alberta and also at High River.
He was very much in the forefront of his troops when he found some barbed wire entanglements, trenches and a machine gun started to pour led his way. He jumped off the horse and using his old rugby day skills as a runner raced forward, got over not only the entanglements and trenches but managed to kill several of the machine gunners. He then picked up their weapon and hauled it off to friendly lines.
About three months later Lt. Harvey would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery that day. Later the DSO would be upgraded to a Victoria Cross. Here is his London Gazette official announcement of the award.
Three of the troops performed a charge similar to that of the famed Light Brigade of many a year earlier, The clashing of swords and the terror of horses clambering over the un-mounted Germans cost all sides many casualties. While 70 % down, the allied troops kept on the advance, by reversing and having another run at it... mostly now on foot with hand to hand swordsmanship eventually taking the ground for the Allies.
The Captain in charge, like most of the company, were killed. He would later get the VC...posthumously. Harvey would be awarded the Military Cross. And not long after, the French Government would award him the Croix de Guerre.
Frederick stayed with the regiment till the war's end...and beyond. While wearing the same cap badge he was promoted to captain and taught at RMC for several years. Later he was posted back to the regiment he would ultimately command it. From 1939 to 1945 at retirement, Harvey commanded the 13th Alberta Military District with the rank of Brig. General. From 1958 to 1966 he served as the Lord Strathcona's Horse Honorary Colonel. On his chest he would proudly wear the British chivalry medal...the Commander of the Order of the British Empire. (CBE)
In August of 1980 General Harvey passed away at Fort Maclead Alberta. It was just 6 days short of his 92 birthday. And that birthday was 125 years ago Saturday past.