QUENTIN E. LAWSON
Lieutenant Colonel | Canadian Provost Corps
In three days of fighting on the Hitler Line, over 1800 prisoners passed through the hands of the 1 Provost Company in which Lieutenant Lawson was assigned. A mere seven men and one corporal handled 900 at a time, guiding, feeding, and caring for them. As an officer, Lawson oversaw this work in addition to working as a traffic cop, which he regarded as the most difficult task of the Provost Corps. Once ruthless enemy soldiers, the prisoners tended to be peaceful and cooperative once in the hands of the company, but handling the logistics of traffic and navigating city ruins proved to be most challenging.
Quentin first sailed to England in May 1940 before spending nine months in Sicily and Italy from Ortona to Rome with the 1st Division, returning to Canada in late 1944 as a prisoner escort. His visit was brief and he returned to the fighting in Holland and Germany where he finished out the war.
Eight years later, Major Lawson took command of the No. 1 Provost Company, a conglomerate unit encompassing British, Canadian, and Australian personnel of the 1st Commonwealth Division. He flawlessly led the integrated unit, keeping high morale in a stagnant and trying war that carried on tirelessly until the summer of 1953. Though an armistice may have brought a cease fire, the work for the Provost was unfaltering. An issue perhaps as pressing as hostilities was maintaining the civilian population and the even greater refugee problem. The Major was decorated with the Order of the British Empire for his exemplary leadership and discipline.
It was clear that Lawson was making a career out of his military service and he excelled at every occupation and responsibility, ultimately holding some very distinguished positions at home and overseas. He represented Canada as military adviser with the International Truce Commission in Cambodia, opposing communist Poland, mediated by neutral India. During the Cyprus Crisis, Quentin was Provost Marshal for the United Nations Forces on the island from May to November 1964. He returned home to become appointed Provost Marshal for the Canadian Forces.
(1)Photographs courtesy Canadian Provost Corps Association
(2) 1965 biographical information courtesy Canadian Provost Corps Association