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Herbert Cecil Buller


Buller, Herbert Cecil, enlisted in Canada, originally of England. D.S.O., Twice Mentioned in Despatches. Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), twice Mentioned in Dispatches (MID). Occupation: Army Officer. Military Service: Major, temporary Lieutenant Colonel Commanding, PPCLI. Attestation Papers not found online. Diary Reference: “the Colonel [H. C. Buller] dead,” 2:4 Jun ’16. [Killed on 2 June 1916 at Sanctuary Wood]. Picture in Newman, 111.

Additional Biographical Information:


Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Cecil Buller, D.S.O., Commanding Officer of the PPCLI, was killed at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood while leading “the remaining two platoons of No 3 Company, men from battalion headquarters and the few remnants of No 1 Company to fight their way to the front along the communication trenches and join up with the two hard-pressed platoons defending them. He was shot dead directing the advance.” Jeffery Williams, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 1914-1984 Seventy Years Service, 18.

“The loss of Buller was crushing to the Regiment. The G.O.C. of 7th Canadian Brigade, General Macdonell was quoted as having said ‘He fell as the splendid soldier and gallant-hearted gentleman would have wished, in the forefront of the battle at the head of his regiment, all ranks of which, it is not too much to say, idolized him. The Empire can ill afford to lose such a man, a “Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche.”’” Stephen K. Newman, With the Patricia’s in Flanders 1914-1918 (Saanichton: Bellewaerde House Publishing, 2000), 92.

Lieutenant-Colonel H. C. Buller (Rifle Brigade). Appointed Captain and Adjutant P.P.C.L.I. August 12, 1914. Lieutenant-Colonel commanding P.P.C.L.I., March 21, 1915. Commanded during Second Battle of Ypres until wounded near Ypres on May 4, 1915. Rejoined December 7, 1915, and commanded throughout the Spring of 1916 until killed in Sanctuary Wood during the Battle of Mount Sorrel on June 2, 1916. D.S.O. Twice Mentioned in Despatches. See Hodder-Williams, Ralph, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 1914-1918, Vol. 2. The Roll of Honour and Appendices (London & Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1923), 71.

“Buller, Herbert Cecil Lieutenant Colonel. Distinguished Service Order. Mentioned in Despatches. Born in England 1881. Son of Admiral Sir Alexander Buller. Entered the Rifle Brigade 11 Aug 1900. Promoted Lt Aug 1902 and Capt 22 Jan 1910. A member of the Governor-General of Canada’s (Duke of Connaught) personal staff when the war broke out. Appointed first Adjutant of the Regiment by Lt-Col Farquhar. Arrived in England with the 1st Canadian Contingent Oct 1914. Crossed to France with the Regiment 20 Dec 1914. Assumed command 21 Mar 1915 after Farquhar was killed at St Eloi. General Action: 2nd Battle of Ypres. Commanded the Bn. during the silent withdrawal from Polygon Wood 3-4 May 1915. Mentioned in Despatches. Wounded and lost his eye to a piece of shrapnel 5 May 1915 while at Hellfire Corner near Ypres. Evacuated to England. Awarded the D.S.O. on the King’s 1915 Birthday List for his handling of the Regiment during the 2nd Battle of Ypres – London Gazette 06/23/15. Discharged to duty 12 Oct 1915. Crossed to France 2 Dec 1915. Returned to take command of the Regiment 7 Dec 1915. Commanded the Regiment as part of the newly formed 7th Brigade, 34d Canadian Division. General Action: Battle of Mount Sorrel. Killed while directing the defence of Sanctuary Wood 2 Jun 1915. Age 34.” Newman, With the Patricia’s in Flanders, 34-35.

Date of Death: 2 June 1916. See casualty details, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Buried at Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3, 4 km southwest of Ieper (Ypres), West Flanders, Belgium. Grave Reference: III.A.7.


Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3, near Ieper, West Flanders, Belgium.


Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3