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85th Battalion

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Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group


Component: 85th Battalion
Active Dates: 1915 - 1920
Contributors: rlaughton
Theatre of Operations: Canada: September 10, 1916 - October 13, 1916
England: October 19, 1916 - February 10, 1917
France: February 10, 1917 - May 4, 1919
Canada: returned Adriatic May31, 1919
Location of War Diaries:
Library and Archives Canada (WD Link)
CEFSG War Diary Transcription (in progress = IP)


Important Note: The 85th Infantry Battalion joined the 12th Brigade in April 1917, after the 73rd Infantry Battalion was broken up after devastating loses at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The 78th Battalion moved up to take the position of the 73rd and the 85th was brought into the 12th Brigade to fill the void. As such, the 78th Battalion took over the position and patch of the 73rd Battalion and surrendered their patch and position to the newly formed 85th.

From Library and Archives Canada Textual Records

The 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion was organized in September 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A.H. Borden under authorization published in General Order 103a of 15 August 1915. The battalion was mobilized in Halifax and recruited in Nova Scotia.

The battalion embarked at Halifax on 13 October 1916 aboard OLYMPIC, disembarking in England on 19 October 1916. Its strength was 34 officers and 1001 other ranks. The battalion arrived in France on 11 February 1917, becoming part of the 4th Canadian Division, 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade. It was later reinforced by the 17th Canadian Reserve Battalion. The battalion returned to England on 29 April 1919, disembarked in Canada on 7 June 1919, was demobilized on 8 June 1919, and was disbanded by General Order 149 of 15 September 1920.

The battalion colours were made by Lady Borden and presented on 25 September 1916. They were handed over to the Lieutenant-Governor for safekeeping in 1919. The battalion supported silver and pipe bands. The battalion air was `The Cock O' the North'.

The 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion was perpetuated by The Cape Breton Highlanders.

From Internet Reference Noted Below (see web site for details):

Duncan MacRae:

During the first year of the war the Province of Nova Scotia had raised four Battalions, principally within her own border, viz.: the 17th, 25th,40th and 64th, besides several drafts from the 63rd, 66th,R.C.R., 1st C.A., Composite Battalion, and the 17th Sydney Field Battery-as a Unit-these all crossed overseas. Many of the Militia were also called out for garrison duty in various parts of the Province.

A distinctive Nova Scotia Highland Regiment, however had not been raised. On Sept. 14th, 1915, the announcement was made that the 85th "Overseas" Battalion, C.E.F., "Nova Scotia Highlanders," was authorized, with Lieut-Col. Allison H. Borden, one of the most popular and competent officers of the Canadian Permanent force, in command. Known in almost every home in the Province, a trained soldier, he inspired confidence, and with great care, selected officers for his staff and for the various companies.

85th CEF Overseas Battalion Nov 2005
The website is a pictorial history of the Nova Scotia Highland Regiment, the 85th "Overseas" Battalion, C.E.F., "Nova Scotia Highlanders". It was authorized on Sept. 14th, 1915 with companies made up from the following Counties: "A" Company - Pictou, Cumberland, Colchester; "B" Company - Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis, Antigonish, Guysboro, Inverness; "C" Company - Halifax, Hants, Kings "D: Company - Cape Breton Island. Photographs include officers, staff sergeants, pipe band, signals and machine gun section.
[Recommendation by N.S. Regt]


not listed

Primary References:

Nicholson, G. W. L. 1962. Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919. Queens Printer and Controller of Stationary, Ottawa, Canada.

Stewart, C. H. 1970. "Overseas" The Lineages and Insignia of the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914 -1919.  Little & Stewart, Mission Press, Toronto, Canada.

Love, D. W. 1999. "A Call to Arms" The Organization and Administration of Canada's Military in World War One.  Bunker to Bunker Books, Winnipeg & Calgary, Canada

Meek, John F. 1971. "Over the Top!  The Canadian Infantry in the First World War. Privately Published, Orangeville Ontario Canada.

Secondary References:

Livesay, J. F. B. 1919.  Canada's Hundred Days: With the Canadian Corps from Amiens to Mons, Aug. 8 - Nov. 11, 1918.  Thomas Allen, Toronto. (Available on the Internet as an Archive Download)

Internet References:

85th History

The EIGHTY-FIFTH Canadian Infantry Battalion NOVA SCOTIA HIGHLANDERS IN FRANCE and FLANDERS by Lt.Col. Joseph Hayes, D.S.O., C.A.M.C.

This Page Last Updated On: Tuesday September 04, 2012 04:43:30 PM -0400

Copyright 2006-2013 Richard Laughton
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