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The Remarkable Saga of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) in the First World War
On August 14, 1914, The British Empire declared war on Germany. Canada began to prepare for the conflict. Precisely two months after the declaration of war, the 1st Canadian Division sailed for England. The 16th Canadian Scottish Battalion, a strength of almost 1200 men, sailed with the 1st Division. When in England, the Canadian Scottish trained hard and had a superior battle preparedness than most of the comrades. Yet nothing could adequately prepare them for the realities of trench warfare. In fact, the baptism of fire for the Canadian Scottish was a gas attack in April 1915. At a cost of 439 killed or wounded, the Scottish restored order along the front lines. The battalion's remarkable display of courage under fire was replicated at Ypres; the Battle of the Somme, where a Scottish piper was awarded the Victoria Cross; Vimy Ridge; Hill 70 at Passchendaele; and during the final Hundred Days. The Canadian Scottish imprinted every major conflict in the European theatre. Following Armistice, the survivors of the Canadian Scottish sailed for home in April 1919. While the battalion was officially disbanded the very next month, the survivors lobbied over a six-year campaign to have the battalion re-mustered. A military regiment in Victoria was re-designated as the Canadian Scottish (Princess Mary's) Regiment. The deep history and traditions of the original 16th Scottish Battalion live on to this day.