Sir William Dillon Otter

Sir William Dillon Otter, soldier (b at Clinton, Ont 3 Dec 1843; d at Toronto 6 May 1929). A veteran of the Battle of RIDGEWAY in 1866 and a part-time soldier, Otter joined the permanent force in 1883.

Otter, Sir William Dillon

Sir William Dillon Otter, soldier (b at Clinton, Ont 3 Dec 1843; d at Toronto 6 May 1929). A veteran of the Battle of RIDGEWAY in 1866 and a part-time soldier, Otter joined the permanent force in 1883. He commanded the Battleford column in the North-West Campaign of 1885 (seeNORTH-WEST REBELLION) and was the first commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in 1893. In 1899 Otter was the obvious choice to lead the first Canadian contingent in the SOUTH AFRICAN WAR. His austere professionalism was unpopular with subordinates but contributed to Canadian prestige. In 1908 he was the first Canadian-born chief of the general staff and was inspector general of the Canadian Militia 1910-12, when he retired. He commanded INTERNMENT operations during WWI. Otter was knighted in 1913 and in 1922 became the second Canadian soldier, after Sir Arthur CURRIE, to reach the rank of general.


Further Reading

  • Desmond Morton, Ministers and Generals (1970) and The Canadian General, Sir William Otter (1974).