Lister, Frederick Alexander

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Frederick Alexander Lister
Born 17 September 1873
Lister, FA IWM HU124456.jpg
Place of birth Sarnia Ontario
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1898 - 1932
Rank Colonel
Awards DSO

Colonel Frederick Alexander Lister, DSO (17 September 1873 - ???) was a Canadian soldier who played a significant role with the Canadian Signalling Corps.

Early Life

Frederick Alexander Lister was born 17 September 1873 in Sarnia Ontario, the son of the Honourable J.F. Lister, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario and Eliza (Alexander). He was educated in public school and collegiate institute in Sarnia before attending Upper Canada College in Toronto. In Jan 1905 he was married to Annie Hutton.


F.A. Lister was commanding officer of 27th Lambton Battalion of Infantry, St. Clair Borderers in 1897 prior to transferring to the Royal Canadian Regiment as a Lieutenant in 1898. He was promoted Brevet Captain in 1901, the same year he commanded a guard of honour during the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales (late King George V. and Queen Mary). He completed a signalling course at the British School of Signalling, Aldershot England in 1903[1] or 1904[2] and was appointed Assistant Inspector of Signalling on March 20th 1904. In 1905 he was promoted Captain and had the responsibility of overseeing signal training in Eastern Canada, Militia Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12 from his headquarter in Fredericton and later Quebec City. In 1906 his position was re-titled Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General for Signalling (Deputy A.A.G.S).

In 1909 he returned to regimental duty with the RCR but returned to the Corps in 1910 after the death of Major Carruthers as the Assistant Adjutant-General for Signalling. In 1911 the position was re-titled Assistant Director of Signals.

In the Great War he went overseas in Command of 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company. He proceeded to England in Dec 1915 to be in charge of the Signal Training Depot[3]. He later became Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General of the Canadian Training Area in England in 1917. For his service during the war he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)[4].

After the war he served as Garrison Adjutant of Halifax Fortress; Assistant Adjutant and-Quartermaster General at Regina, Saskatchewan and London, Ontario; and finally, Director of Organization and Personal Services at Ottawa, Ontario.

Colonel Lister retired on 26 November 1932 and was made an Honorary Brigadier.

Departures from Signals Duties

Colonel Lister was an officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment throughout his career although he was assigned signalling duties on two occasions. His first period of service ended in 1909 but he returned in 1910 after the death of Major Carruthers, the founder of the Canadian Signalling Corps. He immediately implemented a series of changes that suggest his retirement in 1909 may have had it's cause in some differences of opinion with Bruce Carruthers.[1]

His departure from command of the 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company appears to also have been the result of personal differences. The opening line in the unit war diary for 24 October 1915 reads:
"Visited Corps Headquarters re adoption of 'C.S.C'"
the second and third lines of the same date read:
"In office all afternoon, an applicant for transfer.
Saw Maj-Gen Harrington re Training Depot."

Related Pages

Related Items


  1. 1.0 1.1 History of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals 1903-1961, John S. Moir (editor).
  2. The Canadian Who's Who 1936-1937
  3. War Diary - 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company - 30 Nov & 6 Dec 1915.
  4. The London Gazette, Supplement 29202, 23 June, 1915. Page 6129.