A Scottish Soldier

Great War Canadian Scottish Battalions

There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier

Who wandered far away and soldiered far away…

 …And on a hillside, a Scottish hillside

You’ll see a piper play his soldier home…

The Scottish entertainer Andy Stewart (1933 – 1993) penned the lyrics A Scottish Soldier set to the traditional Scottish tune, Green Hills of Tyrol. In 1961 the song spent 36 weeks on the singles charts in the United Kingdom, and made its way onto the charts in South Africa, India, and the United States. Of interest to this writer is that the song reached Number 1 in Australia and New Zealand…and so too in Canada.

The 91st Regiment, like all pre-Great War Canadian militia units, recruited for the CEF.

The 91st Regiment, like all pre-Great War Canadian militia units, recruited for the CEF.

The Scottish soldier in Canada has been out and about for a very long time and today’s musings look back upon the formation of a new Canadian Army – 1914’s Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Prior to the creation of the CEF there were several Scottish units in the Canadian Militia including the 13th Scottish Light Dragoons, the 5th Royal Scots and several others. Of special militia note to the creation of the 16th Battalion CEF, four pre-war units heavily influenced the men and spirit of the 16th. At Camp Valcartier men from the 50th Regiment Gordon Highlanders (Victoria, BC), the 72nd Regiment Seaforth Highlanders (Vancouver, BC), the 79th Regiment Cameron Highlanders (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and the 91st Argyll Highlanders (Hamilton, Ontario) were brought together to create the 16th Battalion CEF.

The 5th Regiment (Royal Scots) of the Canadian Militia recruited for the 13th, 42nd and 73rd Battalions CEF.

The 5th Regiment (Royal Highlanders), of the Canadian Militia, recruited for the 13th, 42nd and 73rd Battalions CEF.

Of the 50 infantry battalions that served in France and Flanders, as part of the four Canadian Infantry Divisions, eight units were of Scottish background. There were many other Scottish Canadian units who, much to their great sadness, were broken up in England to provide reinforcements in the field. The many CEF Scottish Canadian units include:

Units that Served in France and Flanders

13th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Royal Highlanders)

Motto
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
(Let No One Provoke Me With Impunity)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Camp Valcartier, Quebec.
Served in the First Canadian Division. Third Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: February 16, 1915 to March 16, 1919.

Three soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross
Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher (Posthumous. April 23, 1915. Near St. Julien, Belgium).
Private John Bernard Croak (Posthumous. August 8, 1918. Amiens, France).
Corporal Herman James Good (August 8, 1918. Hangard Wood, France).


15th Canadian Infantry Battalion (48th Highlanders)

Motto
Dileas Gu Brath
(Faithful Forever)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Camp Valcartier, Quebec.
Served in the First Canadian Division. Third Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: February 15, 1915 to March 23, 1919.


16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Canadian Scottish)

Motto
Deas Gu Cath
(Ready for the Fray)

March Past
Scotland My Home*

Mobilization Headquarters: Camp Valcartier, Quebec.
Served in the First Canadian Division. Third Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: February 15, 1915 to March 24, 1919.

Four soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross
Piper James Cleland Richardson (Posthumous. October 8/9, 1916. Regina Trench, Somme, France).
William Johnstone Milne (Posthumous. Vimy, France  April 9, 1917).
Lance Corporal William Henry Metcalf MM and Bar (September 2, 1918. Arras, France).
Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus Wesley Peck DSO and Bar (September 2, 1918. Cagnicourt, France).

*There is some discussion that All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border may have been the 16th’s March Past. A WWII recording suggests that Blue Bonnets may have been adopted in 1918. Date confirmation of either March Past has yet to be confirmed.


42nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Royal Highlanders)

Motto
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
(Let No One Provoke Me With Impunity)

March Pasts
The Highland Laddie and Who Saw the Forty-Second

Mobilization Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec.
Served in the Third Canadian Division. Seventh Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: October 9, 1915 to February 7, 1919.

One Soldier awarded the Victoria Cross
Private Thomas Dinesen (August 12, 1918. Parvillers, France).


43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders)

Motto
Ullamh
(Ready)

March Past
Piobaireacchd of Donald Dhub

Mobilization Headquarters: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Served in the Third Canadian Division. Ninth Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: February 22, 1916 to February 10, 1919.

One soldier awarded the Victoria Cross
Lieutenant Robert Shankland DCM (October 26, 1917. Passchendaele, Belgium).


72nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders)

Motto
Cuidich’n Rich
(Help the King)

March Past
Scotland the Brave

Mobilization Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia.
Served in the Fourth Canadian Division. Twelfth Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: August 13, 1916 to May 5, 1919.


73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Royal Highlanders)

Motto
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
(Let No One Provoke Me With Impunity)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec.
Served in the Fourth Canadian Division. Twelfth Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: August 13, 1916 to April 19, 1917 when disbanded.
Men from the unit transferred to the 13th / 42nd / 85th Canadian Infantry Battalions.


85th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders)

Motto
Rex Vocat
(King Calls)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Served in the Fourth Canadian Division. Twelfth Infantry Brigade.
France and Flanders: February 10, 1917 to May 4, 1919.


Other Numbered Infantry Battalions of the CEF

17th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders)

Motto
Cuidich’n Rich
(Help the King)

March Past
Piobaireacchd of Donald Dhub

Mobilization Headquarters: Camp Valcartier, Quebec.
One of four battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


67th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Western Scots)

Motto
Sabaid
(Fight)

March Past
All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border

Mobilization Headquarters: Victoria, British Columbia
Served in France and Flanders, not as infantry, but as the 67th Pioneer Battalion and later the 4th Pioneer Battalion of the Fourth Canadian Infantry Division.


92nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (48th Highlanders)

Motto
Dileas Gu Brath
(Faithful Forever)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario.
One of six battalions absorbed into the Fifth Reserve Battalion.


96th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Canadian Highlanders)

No Motto

March Past
Lass O’Gowrie

Mobilization Headquarters: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Absorbed by the 92nd Canadian Infantry Battalion.


105th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Prince Edward Island Highlanders)

No Motto

March Past
Unknown

Mobilization Headquarters: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Absorbed into the 104th Canadian Infantry Battalion subsequently one of five battalions absorbed into the Thirteenth Reserve Battalion.


113th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Lethbridge Highlanders)

No Motto

March Past
All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border

Mobilization Headquarters: Lethbridge, Alberta.
One of nine battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


134th Canadian Infantry Battalion (48th Highlanders)

Motto
Dileas Gu Brath
(Faithful Forever)

March Past
The Highland Laddie

Mobilization Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario.
Part of the Fifth Canadian Division. Thirteenth Infantry Brigade. Division did not serve in France and Flanders. One of thirteen battalions absorbed into the Twelfth Reserve Battalion.


154th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders)

No Motto
March Past
The Highland Laddie and Bonnie Dundee

Mobilization Headquarter: Cornwall, Ontario.

One of nine battalions absorbed into the Sixth Reserve Battalion.


173rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Canadian Highlanders)

Motto
Al Bainn Gu Brath
(Scotland Forever)

March Past
Bonnie Dundee

Mobilization Headquarters: Hamilton, Ontario.
One of five battalions absorbed into the Second Reserve Battalion.


174th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders)

Motto
Ullamh
(Ready)

March Past
Unknown

Mobilization Headquarters: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
One of four battalions absorbed into  the Fourteenth Reserve Battalion.


179th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders)

No Motto

March Past
Piobaireacchd of Donald Dhub

Mobilization Headquarters: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
One of four battalions absorbed into the Fourteenth Reserve Battalion and nine battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


185th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Cape Breton Highlanders)

Motto
Rex Vocat
(King Calls)

March Past
All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border

Mobilization Headquarters: Broughton, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Part of the Fifth Canadian Division. Thirteenth Infantry Brigade. Division did not serve in France and Flanders. One of nine battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


193rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders)

Motto
Rex Vocat
(King Calls)

March Past
Scotland the Brave

Mobilization Headquarters: Truro, Nova Scotia.
One of nine Battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


194th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Edmonton Highlanders)

No Motto

March Past
All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border

Mobilization Headquarters: Edmonton, Alberta.
One of eleven battalions absorbed into the Ninth Reserve Battalion and one of nine battalions absorbed into  the Twenty-First Reserve Battalion.


219th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Highland Battalion)

Motto
Siol Na Fear Fearail
(Breed of Manly Men)

March Past
Unknown

Mobilization Headquarters: Aldershot, Nova Scotia.
One of nine battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


231st Canadian Infantry Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders)

Motto
Cuidich’n Rich
(Help the King)

March Past
Unknown

Mobilization Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia.
One of four battalions absorbed into the First Reserve Battalion and three battalions absorbed into the Twenty-Fourth Reserve Battalion.


236th Canadian Infantry Battalion (New Brunswick Kilties / MacLean Kilties of America)

Motto
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
(Let No One Provoke Me With Impunity)

March Past
MacLean March

Mobilization Headquarters: Fredericton, New Brunswick and Camp Valcartier, Quebec.
One of three battalions absorbed into the Twentieth Reserve Battalion.


241st Canadian Infantry Battalion (Canadian Scottish Borderers)

No Motto

March Past
All the Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border

Mobilization Headquarters: Windsor, Ontario.
One of six battalions absorbed into the Fifth Reserve Battalion.


246th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders)

Motto
Siol Na Fear Fearail
(Breed of Manly Men)

March Past
Glendaurel Highlanders

Mobilization Headquarters: Halifax, Nova Scotia.
One of nine battalions absorbed into the Seventeenth Reserve Battalion.


253rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Queens University Highland Battalion)

No Motto

March Past
Unknown

Mobilization Headquarters: Kingston, Ontario.
One of six battalions absorbed into the Fifth Reserve Battalion.


Special Mention

50th Gordon Highlanders Overseas Infantry Draft

Motto
Buaidh No Bas
(Victory or Death)

Unit related to the 50th Regiment Gordon Highlanders, Canadian Militia.


1st 92nd Overseas Infantry Draft

No Motto

Unit related to the 92nd Canadian Infantry Battalion.


14th Winnipeg Reserve Battalion

No Motto

Unit related to the Cameron Highlanders, Winnipeg, Manitoba.


Ethnicity and the CEF

Apart from these Canadian Scottish battalions there were other CEF battalions that recruited based upon ethnicity. These included eleven French Canadian Battalions (22 – 41 – 69 – 150 – 163 – 167 – 178 – 206 – 230 – 233 -258), four Canadian Irish Battalions (121 – 199 – 208 – 218), two Canadian Scandinavian Battalions (197 – 223), one First Nations Battalion (114), and five American Battalions (97 – 211 – 212 – 213 – 237).

 


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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