Cameron Highlanders of Canada Memorial Page

A Brief History of the
79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada Overseas
Drafting Detachment
1915-1916


The 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada Overseas Drafting Detachment (hereafter called the 79th Draft) is one of the lesser-known units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It only existed for a few months – not even a year. Since CEF units were not required to keep war diaries while in Canada, there is very little documentation concerning their activities. The 79th Draft recruited in Winnipeg and Regina, and the Regina men were posted to the “Regina Platoon.”

The 79th Draft was formed in June 1915. However, it was not until June 1917 that a General Order was published authorizing its organization:
GO 63 (15 June 1917): Calling out of troops on Active Service. In virtue of Orders-in-Council by His Royal Highness, the Governor General in Council, numbered PC 2067 and PC 2068, dated 6 August 1914, the organization of the undermentioned Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as Temporary units of the Active Militia is authorized, in addition to the Units mentioned in GO 36 of 1915, GO 86 of 1915, GO 103a of 1915, GO 151 of 1915, GO 69 of 1916, and GO 11 of 1917, and each of the said Units is placed on Active Service from the date of its organization.
INFANTRY: 79th Regiment (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Overseas Draft.

14 June 1915 - Recruiting began this morning for the Cameron draft company at the Regimental Headquarters at 202 Main Street (10 A.M.-Noon; 2-4 P.M.; 8-9 P.M.)

15 June 1915 - 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada Overseas Drafting Detachment gazetted and organized to supply drafts to overseas battalions. Lt-Col. James A. Cantlie in command. Trained at Minto Armoury, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

17 June 1915 - Official word received to accept 500 men for garrison duty and active duty.

7 July 1915 - Regiment accepting 600 recruits for garrison duty and active duty. Those who have seen previous service are being given preference.

12 July 1915 - 79th Camerons overseas contingent received a Scotch collie as a mascot from J. J. McHahon, traveller for the Prince Rupert Fish Company.

19 July 1915 - Officers selected as follows:
Service Company
Lt. Charles Inglis Jamieson, in command
Lt. James Douglas Logan, provisional
No. 1 Company
Capt. John Young Reid, in command
Capt. J. Mackay, second in command
Lt. Henry Eric Detchon, right half
Lt. Bartholomew Charlton, left half
No. 2 Company
Capt. John Dingwall Sinclair, in command
Lt. Harold Balfour Shaw, second in command
Lt. Hugh Eric Patton, right half
Lt. Francis Graham Mathers, left half

5 August 1915 - First draft from 79th Detachment entrained for overseas. Lt. Charles Inglis Jamieson in command. Sailed to England 10-8-15 with 2 officers & 100 other ranks. TOS 43rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, August 1915.

24 August 1915 - Farewell reception held in the afternoon. Second draft from the 79th Detachment entrained for overseas. Lt. Cyril Henry Barraud in command. Sailed to England 27-8-15 on HMTS Scandinavian with 3 officers & 150 other ranks. TOS 43rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 5-9-15.

9 September 1915 - 79th received orders to prepare a draft of 250 men to be ready to leave at a moments’ notice.

13 September 1915 - Officers selected for the next overseas draft but not yet approved at military headquarters.

22 September 1915 - Public announcement of officers named for next draft as follows: Lts. D. J. H. Ferguson, D. J. Allen, B. C. Gardner, D. A. Galt, H. C. Walcot.

6 October 1915 - Third draft from 79th Detachment entrained for overseas. Lt. Duncan James Hunter Ferguson in command. Sailed to England 9-10-1915 with 5 officers & 250 other ranks. TOS 43rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 4-11-1915.

7 October 1915 - Another 250 men are wanted by the 79th Cameron Highlanders to fill vacancies caused by the double company leaving for the front.

9 October 1915 - A new recruiting office is opened in the Bank of British North America building, Main Street, Winnipeg.

24 October 1915 - 79th Regiment holds Scottish games at Assiniboine Park. Team events, overseas vs home battalions in tug-of-war and soccer; individual events include Putting the Shot, High Jump, Throwing baseball, Backward race, Tossing the caber, Mile race, Sack race, Running long jump, Piping competition, Wheelbarrow race, Highland fling, 100 yard dash, Officers’ race, V.C. race, Quarter mile race, Wrestling on horseback, Tug-of-war, Sergeants’ relay race, Sergeants’ tug-of-war, and races for boys and girls.

16 November 1915 - 79th Camerons have 700 men enlisted for active service.

23 November 1915 - Men selected for the fourth overseas draft.

14 December 1915 - Fourth draft, 6 officers & 250 other ranks, from 79th Detachment entrained for overseas. Lt. Arthur Sullivan in command. Sailed to England on the HMTS Missanabie with 6 officers & 249 other ranks. TOS 43rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 29-12-1915.

1 February 1916 - 79th Detachment absorbed into the 179th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, Lt-Col. James A. Cantlie in command.