Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A Battalion of Our Own – The Lethbridge Highlanders a Century Later

One hundred years ago, the Lethbridge Daily Herald announced that authorization had been received by the City of Lethbridge to raise their own battalion, which would be known as the 113th Battalion Lethbridge Highlanders.  Lethbridge and area had already sent many men to the front, including two artillery batteries, with a third waiting in the wings.  The Lethbridge Highlanders would be a full battalion, nearly a thousand strong, which the citizens hoped would represent our community on the battlefields of France and Flanders.

Eleven months later, 901 officers and men, wearing the uniform of the battalion, set sail for Europe, only to have their dreams dashed when the battalion was promptly broken up as reinforcements for existing units at the front.  An astounding 175 Kilties lost their lives during the First World War, with 28 of these deaths occurring on the opening day of the iconic battle for Vimy Ridge – April 9, 1917. 

10 of the Kilties who fell on this day were buried in a mass grave, along with 34 other members of their new unit, the 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish and have been forgotten for nearly a century.  Military historian and documentary filmmaker, Norm Christie believes he has located this grave, known as CA40, and the Galt Museum and Archives is committed to raising awareness and supporting Christie’s efforts to locate our fallen heroes and give them the proper burial they have been denied for almost 100 years. 

If you are interested in more information on this endeavour, please contact local author, Brett Clifton at (403) 381-1850 or contact info@galtmuseum.com. You can also visit to the Archives department on the lower level of the Galt Museum & Archives to access photographs and documents that tell this important story.

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