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Herbert Cyril Thacker
Born (1870-09-16)16 September 1870
Died 2 June 1953(1953-06-02) (aged 82)
Place of birth Poona, British India
Place of death Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Major-General
Commands held Chief of the General Staff
Battles/wars Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order

Major-General Herbert Cyril Thacker, CB CMG DSO (16 September 1870 – 2 June 1953) was a Canadian soldier and Chief of the General Staff, the head of the Canadian Army from 1927 until 1929.

Military career

Thacker was born the son of Major-General J. Thacker of the Bombay Staff Corps in 1870 in Poona, India. His attended Upper Canada College in Toronto and, in 1887, he graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada.[1] Commissioned in the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1891, he conducted survey work in western Canada for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1893.[1]

His service in the Second Boer War of 1900 in the Canadian Field Artillery[1] led to the award of the Queen’s medal with three clasps.[2]

From 1904 to 1905 he had the unique Canadian assignment as a military attaché with the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War[1] but he was joined by other colonials.[3] Along with other Western military attachés, Thacker had two complementary missions - to assist the Japanese and to observe the Japanese forces in the field during the Russo-Japanese War.[4]

In 1907, his appointment as Director of Artillery at Ottawa accompanied a promotion as Commanding Officer of the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery (RCGA),[1] and he became one of the 65 to live in the Commanding Officers’ Residence at Royal Artillery Park in Halifax.[2] In 1911 he became Inspector of Coast Defense Artillery.[1]

At the outbreak of World War I, Thacker joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF), sailing for Europe with the 1st Canadian Division. Thacker went on to command the 2nd Canadian Divisional Artillery from 1914 to 1915. After General Sir Henry E. Burstall was promoted, Thacker commanded the 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery from September 1915 through the end of World War and the CEF return to Canada.

After the war, Thacker was appointed the District Officer Commanding Military District 6,[1] returning with his family to live at Royal Artillery Park.[2] His career was capped with service as Chief of the General Staff from 1927 to 1929.[1]

Thacker retired from military service in 1929. He died in Victoria, British Columbia, in June 1953.


For his service in the Boer War, Thacker was awarded the Queen's Medal with three clasps (1900).[1] He was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class by the Japanese government for his services during the Russo-Japanese War.[5] He also received the Japanese War medal for service during that campaign.[1]

For service in World War I, he was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 1916. Thacker was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1918. He was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1919.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 (1922). Prominent People of the Maritime Provinces, p. 193.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pacey, Elizabeth. "Commander’s residence at Royal Artillery park," Trident. 38:20, 7. October 18, 2004.
  3. Hitsman, J. Mackay and Desmond Morton. "Canada's First Military Attache: Capt. H. C. Thacker in the Russo-Japanese War," Military Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1970), pp. 82-84; "Report No. 14,", Directorate of History, Canadian Forces Headquarters, 8 September 1967; compare Australian Dictionary of Biography: John Hoad at ADB
  4. Chapman, John and Ian Nish. (2004). "On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War," Part I, p. 53 n42, Paper No. IS/2004/475. Suntory Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
  5. L'Harmattan web site (in French)

See also


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James MacBrien
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Andrew McNaughton

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