Canadian Expeditionary Force (1) Infantry Battalions

With the First World War looming overseas, Great Britain accepted Canada’s offer to send an infantry division on 6 August 1914.  Instead of mobilizing the Canadian militia Colonel Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence 1911-1916 decided to organize volunteers into new consecutively-numbered battalions.

The First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), which sailed on 3 October 1914, was comprised of the 1st to 17th battalions plus the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). By the end of the war there would be two hundred and sixty numbered battalions in existence.

Canadian Infantry battalions in the First World War were comprised of approximately1000 officers and men.  Each battalion was divided into 4 companies, with each company comprised of 4 platoons with 4sections in each platoon.

Canadian Expeditionary Force Infantry Battalions

The First Canadian Contingent

·                 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

·                 1st Infantry Battalion: Ontario Regiment

·                 2nd Infantry Battalion: Eastern Ontario Regiment

·                 3rd Infantry Battalion: Toronto Regiment

·                 4th Infantry Battalion: Central Ontario

·                 5th Infantry Battalion: Western Canada Cavalry

·                 6th Infantry Battalion: Fort Garry Horse

·                 7th Infantry Battalion: 1st British Columbia Regiment

·                 8th Infantry Battalion: The Black Devils / 90th Winnipeg Rifles

·                 9th Infantry Battalion:

·                 10th Infantry Battalion: 10th Canadians

·                 11th Infantry Battalion:

·                 12th Infantry Battalion:

·                 13th Infantry Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada

·                 14th Infantry Battalion: Royal Montreal Regiment

·                 15th Infantry Battalion: 48th Highlanders of Canada

·                 16th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Scottish

·                 17th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Highlanders / Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.

 

The Second Canadian Contingent

Shortly after the First Contingent left for England, the government of Canada authorized the recruiting of a second contingent. During the winter of1914-1915 the units composing this new force were mobilized and trained. In the spring of 1915 the Second Contingent sailed for England, but instead of sailing in a great armada like the First Contingent they left in separate transports. The summer of 1915 was spent in training at Shorncliffe on the coast of Kent and in September they left for the front as the Second Canadian Division. The 23rd and 30th Battalions remained behind in England as reserves.

·                 18th Infantry Battalion: Western Ontario

·                 19th Infantry Battalion:

·                 20th Infantry Battalion: 1st Central Ontario Regiment

·                 21st Infantry Battalion:

·                 22nd Infantry Battalion: Canadiens Francais

·                 23rd Infantry Battalion: Montreal Battalion

·                 24th Infantry Battalion: Victoria Rifles

·                 25th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia

·                 26th Infantry Battalion: New Brunswick Battalion

·                 27th Infantry Battalion: City Of Winnipeg Regiment

·                 28th Infantry Battalion: North West Battalion

·                 29th Infantry Battalion: Vancouver Battalion / Tobin’s Tigers

·                 30th Infantry Battalion: British Columbia

·                 31st Infantry Battalion: Alberta Overseas Battalion

·                 32nd Infantry Battalion: Manitoba and Saskatchewan

 

As the war progressed and casualties began to mount it became necessary to replace losses in the field with fresh troops. New Battalions were now being trained and sent to England as fast as possible. Upon arrival in England most of the new Battalions were absorbed into reserve Battalions. From there troops were sent where they were needed ~ either as reinforcements for the 1st and 2nd Divisions or to the 3rd and 4th Divisions as they were being formed in England.

·                 33rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 34th Infantry Battalion: Overseas Battalion

·                 35th Infantry Battalion:

·                 36th Infantry Battalion:

·                 37th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Overseas Battalion

·                 38th Infantry Battalion: Royal Ottawa Battalion

·                 39th Infantry Battalion:

·                 40th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia

·                 41st Infantry Battalion: Canadian Francais

·                 42nd Infantry Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada

·                 43rd Infantry Battalion: Cameron Highlanders

·                 44th Infantry Battalion:

·                 45th Infantry Battalion: Manitoba Regiment

·                 46th Infantry Battalion: South Saskatchewan

·                 47th Infantry Battalion:

·                 48th Infantry Battalion:

·                 49th Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Overseas

·                 50th Infantry Battalion: Calgary Regiment

·                 51st Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Regiment

·                 52nd Infantry Battalion: New Ontario Regiment

·                 53rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 54th Infantry Battalion: Kootenay Battalion

·                 55th Infantry Battalion: New Brunswick / P.E.I. Battalion

·                 56th Infantry Battalion: Calgary Battalion

·                 57th Infantry Battalion: Canadiens Francais

·                 58th Infantry Battalion:

·                 59th Infantry Battalion:

·                 60th Infantry Battalion: Victoria Rifles

·                 61st Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Battalion

·                 62nd Infantry Battalion: British Columbia Battalion

·                 63rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 64th Infantry Battalion:

·                 65th Infantry Battalion: Saskatchewan Battalion

·                 66th Infantry Battalion:

·                 67th Infantry Battalion: Western Scots

·                 68th Infantry Battalion: Regina Battalion

·                 69th Infantry Battalion:

·                 70th Infantry Battalion:

·                 71st Infantry Battalion:

·                 72nd Infantry Battalion: Seaforth Highlanders

·                 73rd Infantry Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada

·                 74th Infantry Battalion:

·                 75th Infantry Battalion:

·                 76th Infantry Battalion:

·                 77th Infantry Battalion: Ottawa Battalion

·                 78th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Grenadiers

·                 79th Infantry Battalion:

·                 80th Infantry Battalion:

·                 81st Infantry Battalion:

·                 82nd Infantry Battalion:

·                 83rd Infantry Battalion: Queen’s Own Rifles

·                 84th Infantry Battalion:

·                 85th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Highlanders

·                 86th Infantry Battalion: Machine Gun Battalion

·                 87th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Grenadier Guards

·                 88th Infantry Battalion: Victoria Fusiliers

·                 89th Infantry Battalion: Alberta Battalion

·                 90th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Rifles

·                 91st Infantry Battalion: Elgin Battalion

·                 92nd Infantry Battalion: 48th Highlanders

·                 93rd Infantry Battalion: Peterborough Battalion

·                 94th Infantry Battalion: New Ontario Battalion

·                 95th Infantry Battalion:

·                 96th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Highlanders

·                 97th Infantry Battalion: Toronto Americans

·                 98th Infantry Battalion: Lincoln and Welland Battalion

·                 99th Infantry Battalion: Essex Battalion

·                 100th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Grenadiers

·                 101st Infantry Battalion: Royal Winnipeg Rifles / Winnipeg LightInfantry

·                 102nd Infantry Battalion: North British Columbians

·                 103rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 104th Infantry Battalion:

·                 105th Infantry Battalion: P.E.I. Highlanders

·                 106th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Rifles

·                 107th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Battalion

·                 108th Infantry Battalion: Selkirk and Manitoba Battalion

·                 109th Infantry Battalion: Victoria and Haliburton Battalion

·                 110th Infantry Battalion: Perth Battalion

·                 111th Infantry Battalion: South Waterloo Battalion

·                 112th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Overseas Battalion

·                 113th Infantry Battalion: Lethbridge Highlanders

·                 114th Infantry Battalion: Brock s Rangers

·                 115th Infantry Battalion: New Brunswick Battalion

·                 116th Infantry Battalion: Ontario County Infantry Battalion

·                 117th Infantry Battalion: Eastern Township Battalion

·                 118th Infantry Battalion: North Waterloo Overseas Battalion

·                 119th Infantry Battalion: Algoma Overseas Battalion

·                 120th Infantry Battalion: City of Hamilton Battalion

·                 121st Infantry Battalion: Western Irish

·                 122nd Infantry Battalion: Muskoka Overseas Battalion

·                 123rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 124th Infantry Battalion: Governor General’s Body Guard

·                 125th Infantry Battalion:

·                 126th Infantry Battalion: Peel Battalion

·                 127th Infantry Battalion: 12th York Rangers

·                 128th Infantry Battalion: Moose Jaw Battalion

·                 129th Infantry Battalion: Wentworth Battalion

·                 130th Infantry Battalion: Lanark and Renfrew Battalion

·                 131st Infantry Battalion: Westminster Battalion

·                 132nd Infantry Battalion: North Shore Battalion

·                 133rd Infantry Battalion: Norfolk’s Own

·                 134th Infantry Battalion: 48th Highlanders

·                 135th Infantry Battalion: Middlesex Battalion

·                 136th Infantry Battalion:

·                 137th Infantry Battalion: Durham Battalion

·                 138th Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Battalion

·                 139th Infantry Battalion: Northumberland Battalion

·                 140th Infantry Battalion:

·                 141st Infantry Battalion: Border Battalion

·                 142nd Infantry Battalion: London’s Own

·                 143rd Infantry Battalion: B.C. Bantams

·                 144th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Rifles

·                 145th Infantry Battalion:

·                 146th Infantry Battalion:

·                 147th Infantry Battalion: Grey Battalion

·                 148th Infantry Battalion:

·                 149th Infantry Battalion: Lambton Battalion

·                 150th Infantry Battalion: Carabiniers Mont Royal

·                 151st Infantry Battalion: Central Alberta Battalion

·                 152nd Infantry Battalion: Weyburn east Battalion

·                 153rd Infantry Battalion: Wellington Battalion

·                 154th Infantry Battalion: Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders

·                 155th Infantry Battalion: Quinte Battalion

·                 156th Infantry Battalion: Leeds and Grenville Battalion

·                 157th Infantry Battalion: Simcoe Foresters

·                 158th Infantry Battalion: Duke of Connaught’s Own

·                 159th Infantry Battalion: 1st Algonquin

·                 160th Infantry Battalion: Bruce Battalion

·                 161st Infantry Battalion: Huron Battalion

·                 162nd Infantry Battalion: Parry Sound Battalion

·                 163rd Infantry Battalion: Canadien Francais

·                 164th Infantry Battalion: Halton and Dufferin Battalion

·                 165th Infantry Battalion: French Acadian Battalion

·                 166th Infantry Battalion: Queen’s own Rifles of Canada

·                 167th Infantry Battalion: Canadien Francais

·                 168th Infantry Battalion: Oxfords

·                 169th Infantry Battalion: 109th Regiment

·                 170th Infantry Battalion: Mississauga Horse

·                 171st Infantry Battalion: Quebec Rifles

·                 172nd Infantry Battalion: Rocky Mountain Rangers

·                 173rd Infantry Battalion: Canadian Highlanders

·                 174th Infantry Battalion: Cameron Highlanders of Canada

·                 175th Infantry Battalion: Medicine Hat Battalion

·                 176th Infantry Battalion: Niagara Rangers

·                 177th Infantry Battalion: Simcoe Foresters

·                 178th Infantry Battalion: Canadien Francais

·                 179th Infantry Battalion: Cameron Highlanders of Canada

·                 180th Infantry Battalion: Sportsmen Battalion

·                 181st Infantry Battalion: Brandon Battalion

·                 182nd Infantry Battalion: Ontario County Battalion

·                 183rd Infantry Battalion: Manitoba Beavers

·                 184th Infantry Battalion:

·                 185th Infantry Battalion: Cape Breton Highlanders

·                 186th Infantry Battalion: Kent Battalion

·                 187th Infantry Battalion: Central Alberta Battalion

·                 188th Infantry Battalion: Saskatchewan Battalion

·                 189th Infantry Battalion: Canadiens Français

·                 190th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Rifles

·                 191st Infantry Battalion: South Alberta Regiment

·                 192nd Infantry Battalion: Crow’s Nest Pass Battalion

·                 193rd Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Highlanders

·                 194th Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Higlanders

·                 195th Infantry Battalion: City of Regina Battalion

·                 196th Infantry Battalion: Western Universities C. E. F. Battalion

·                 197th Infantry Battalion: Vikings of Canada

·                 198th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Buffs

·                 199th Infantry Battalion: Irish Canadian Rangers/Dutchess of Connaught’sOwn

·                 200th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Battalion

·                 201st Infantry Battalion: Toronto Light Infantry

·                 202nd Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Sportsmen’s Battalion

·                 203rd Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Rifles

·                 204th Infantry Battalion: Toronto Beavers

·                 205th Infantry Battalion: Hamilton Tiger Battalion

·                 206th Infantry Battalion: Canadiens Français

·                 207th Infantry Battalion: Ottawa and Carleton Overseas Battalion

·                 208th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Irish

·                 209th Infantry Battalion:

·                 210th Infantry Battalion: Frontiersmen of Western Canada

·                 211th Infantry Battalion: Alberta Americans

·                 212th Infantry Battalion: Winnipeg Americans

·                 213th Infantry Battalion: Toronto Americans

·                 214th Infantry Battalion: Saskatchewan Battalion

·                 215th Infantry Battalion:

·                 216th Infantry Battalion: Toronto Bantams

·                 217th Infantry Battalion: Qu’Appelle Battalion

·                 218th Infantry Battalion: Edmonton Irish

·                 219th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Highlanders

·                 220th Infantry Battalion: York Rangers

·                 221st Infantry Battalion:

·                 222nd Infantry Battalion:

·                 223rd Infantry Battalion: Canadian Scandanavians

·                 224th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Forestry Battalion

·                 225th Infantry Battalion: Kootenay Battalion

·                 226th Infantry Battalion: Men of the North

·                 227th Infantry Battalion: Men of the North

·                 228th Infantry Battalion: Northern Fusiliers

·                 229th Infantry Battalion: South Saskatchewan Battalion

·                 230th Infantry Battalion: Voltigeurs Canadien Français

·                 231st Infantry Battalion: Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

·                 232nd Infantry Battalion: Saskatchewan Battalion

·                 233rd Infantry Battalion: Canadiens Français

·                 234th Infantry Battalion: Peel Battalion

·                 235th Infantry Battalion:

·                 236th Infantry Battalion: New Brunswick Kilties

·                 237th Infantry Battalion: New Brunswick Americans

·                 238th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Forestry Battalion

·                 239th Infantry Battalion: Railway Construction Corps

·                 240th Infantry Battalion: Lanark and Renfrew Battalion

·                 241st Infantry Battalion: Canadian Scottish Borderers

·                 242nd Infantry Battalion: Canadian Forestry Battalion

·                 243rd Infantry Battalion:

·                 244th Infantry Battalion: Kitchener’s Own

·                 245th Infantry Battalion: Montreal Grenadiers/Canadian Grenadier Guards

·                 246th Infantry Battalion: Nova Scotia Highlanders

·                 247th Infantry Battalion: Victoria and Haliburton Battalion/Die Hards

·                 248th Infantry Battalion:

·                 249th Infantry Battalion:

·                 250th Infantry Battalion: White Eagles

·                 251st Infantry Battalion: Good Fellows Battalion

·                 252nd Infantry Battalion:

·                 253rd Infantry Battalion: Queen’s University Highlanders

·                 254th Infantry Battalion: Quinte’s Own

·                 255th Infantry Battalion: Queen’s Own Rifles

·                 256th Infantry Battalion:

·                 257th Infantry Battalion: Canadian Railway Construction Battalion

·                 258th Infantry Battalion:

·                 259th Infantry Battalion: Siberian Expeditionary Force

·                 260th Infantry Battalion: Siberian Expeditionary Force

 

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the entire overseas force fielded by Canada during the First World War. Of the 630,000 Canadians who enlisted for military service, 424,000 went overseas as part of the CEF. The Canadian Corps that fought on the Western Front was the CEF’s largest formation and its principal combat element, but not its only one. Other units in the CEF served outside the Corps, including the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, forestry and railway units, and various medical hospitals.

Canada’s first fighting division in Europe, comprised mainly of troops from the First Contingent who had sailed in fall 1914, served as an individual division under British command. The growing size and complexity of Canadian forces overseas led in September 1915 to the creation of the Canadian Corps, an operational and administrative grouping of most Canadian fighting units and their supporting services. At first commanded by British Lieutenant-General Sir E.A.H. Alderson and, from May 1916 to June 1917, by British Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng, the Corps grew from an initial establishment of two divisions with approximately 35,000 troops to a powerful striking force of four divisions with 100,000 troops by early 1917.

From June 1917, the Canadians were led by Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, a Canadian militia officer who rose during the war from command of a brigade to command of the entire Corps. Currie, who remained in command until 1919, is widely considered one of the war’s most capable generals.

The Canadian Corps was a unique national formation that fought together for most of the war. While British corps usually consisted of an administrative or command structure through which divisions often cycled, and could be larger or smaller, depending on operational requirements, the divisions of the Canadian Corps almost always fought together.

The soldiers of the four divisions and their supporting troops learned to work together and could pool resources to improve combat effectiveness. This cohesion and stability, jealously guarded by most senior Canadian military and political figures, bred a sense of identity and pride in national accomplishment among both soldiers and civilians. (The Canadian War Museum)

Corps Establishment

When it was deployed in 1914, the Canadian Expeditionary Force included only infantry battalions, but it became clear by 1915 that support and administrative units needed to be included on the Western Front.  After September 1915it expanded to include supporting combat corps and what were considered administrative corps.

Separate pages have been added to this website to include the various units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force:

(1) Canadian Infantry Battalions

(1A) Canadian Training and Reserve Battalions, Nos. 6-160.

(1B) Canadian Training and Reserve battalions, Nos. 161-260.

(2) Canadian Corps Troops.

(2A) 1st Canadian Division.

(2B) 2nd Canadian Division.

(2C) 3rd Canadian Division.

(2D) 4th Canadian Division.

(3) Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

(4) Canadian Forestry Corps.

(5) Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

(6A) Canadian Corps of Guides.

(6B) Canadian Cyclist Corps.

(7) HQ Corps of Military Staff Clerks.

(8A) Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps.

(8B) Canadian Army Dental Corps.

(9) Canadian Army Pay Corps

(10) Canadian Army Postal Corps.

(11) Canadian Army Service Corps.

(12) Canadian Army Veterinary Corps.

(13) Canadian Corps of Signals.

(14) Canadian Military Engineers.

(15) Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.

(16) Railway Troops.

(17) Labour.

(18) Canadian Army Chaplain Corps.

(19) Garrison Regiment and Reinforcements.

(20) Canadian Ordnance Corps.

(21) Canadian Instructional Troops.

(22) Canadian Army Gymnastic Staff.

(23) Canadian School of Musketry.

(24) Canadian Military Police.

(25) General List badges.

(26) New Brunswick units in the CEF.

(27) Canadian Officer Training Corps.

(28) Militia Regiments raised to recruit.

(29) Depot Battalions.

(30) 1st Canadian Tank Battalion. The 1st Canadian Tank Battalion arrived in England in June, 1918, with a strength of 92 officers and 716 other ranks. It was recruited from Canadian universities and a considerable number of both officers and men possessed mechanical qualifications. A Canadian Tank Corps was created in 1918, with three battalions. They were still training when the war ended. The Corps was disbanded in 1920.


The Canadian Expeditionary Force had a large reserve and training organization in England, and a recruiting organization in Canada.

Chinese labourers were also brought over to support Canadian operations in Europe, particularly the Canadian Railway Troops. From 1917 to 1918, 84,000 Chinese labourers were recruited for the Chinese Labour Corps from China (via Shandong Province) that were shipped to Canada and then some to the Western Front. Many of these labourers died in Belgium and France.

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