General J. G. Housser, MC
John Graham Housser attended St. Andrew's College from 1928-1933. He was the son of Henry B. Housser (SAC 1899-1903) who was one of the first students and in whose honour the current Cadet Corps flag was donated. John G.'s grandson John (2003) was Cadet Lieutenant and the Flag Party Commander in his graduating year.
John worked in the investment business following St. Andrew's. In 1935 he joined the Royal Grenadiers which later became the Royal Regiment of Canada. Two days before World War II broke out his regiment was called up and he served overseas with distinction. Captain Housser was captured by the Germans at Dieppe and spent three years as a prisoner of war. In 1946 he was awarded the Military Cross and rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the post war period.
He returned to the investment business and spent the rest of this business career in that field. Years after his retirement he was revered on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange as one of the pioneers of the investment industry in Canada.
Brigadier Housser wrote:
"It was important for me when I decided to go to St. Andrew's at the age of fourteen in 1928, that my father, Henry B. Housser '03 had enjoyed success at the College and played on all the teams. We had six in a dorm in Macdonald House and I didn't like that very much but I adjusted to it. I liked cadets even in Macdonald House. I was intrigued by cadets. I remember Tommy Gordon, Ted Broome and Doug Lock as the Cadet leaders. The Corps was much smaller than now. We completed our drill and once a year marched to St. Paul's past Branksome Hall and the family would take us to lunch. I think I made it to corporal before I left. I remember the Master in Cadets, like Mr. Tudball, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Laidlaw; and of course, there were officers from the 48th Highlanders who came to Aurora, like Pipe Major Fraser, to instruct the Pipes and Drums.
From Careers in the Forces, Part II - The Andrean, 1991.
The following is an excerpt from the book Dieppe: The Shame and the Glory written by Terence Robertson, which illustrates a part of General Housser's career and his contribution to what Sir Winston Churchill stated: "Dieppe occupies a place of its own in the story of war."
"Armed with a pair of wire cutters each, Major Catto and Sergeant Coles climbed to the top of the wall where they lay flat clipping steadily at the mass of tangled barbed wire. The grim, nerve-tautening business of patiently snipping strand after strand of wire went on for thirty minutes, each one a lifetime to the three men who had become the special target of a machine gun at the opposite end of the wall...They surged through the gap including Captain John Housser...As the party left the wire, on the other side a furious concentration of fire fell down upon the gap, sealing it behind them. They were now effectively cut off from the surviving troops on the beach."Canadian Army file 54-27-94-56, "Honours and Awards - Prisoners of War - Northwest Europe", in National Archives of Canada, RG.24 Volume 2249 has a note dated 31 October 1945 signed by Lieutenant-Colonel F.K. Jasperson which says, in part,
"Captain Housser, Captain Hicks and Lieutenant [T.M.] Saunders also contributed greatly to the life in Oflag VIIB over a period of two and one-half years, by their help in various camp departments, in making essentials for prisoners out of old tins and bits of wood from Red Cross boxes, etc, and also, further on the part of Lieutenant Saunders, in that he was responsible to a great degree for much of the educational work done amongst the Canadian group".
"In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe. Captain Housser who was in command of "D" Company, The Royal Regiment of Canada during the Dieppe operations, 19 August 1942, landed in the second wave on the extreme right of Blue Beach and on the right flank of his Company. The situation at this time was confused, and "D" Company had been ordered to make their way to the sea wall by the second-in-command, who being severely wounded and unable to move, had lost contact with the Battalion Commander. Captain Housser made his way to the sea wall under continuous heavy small arms and mortar fire and found the remnants of his leading platoon unable to advance over the wall. He then returned to the second-in-command and suggested that he make a reconnaissance to the right flank with a view to making contact with the remainder of the Brigade along the beach. Finding this impractical he returned to Rear Headquarters, and having reported, set out to try to establish contact with the Battalion Commander. Having failed to make contact, he returned to Rear Headquarters and began the organization of his command and a mixed Company of Royal Regiment and Royal Highlanders of Canada (Black Watch) for a defensive stand, as the Germans were advancing along the beach from the left. Captain Housser did everything in his power to retrieve the situation and made repeated reconnaissances under intense small arms and mortar fire. His conduct and courage were an example to all ranks throughout the engagement."