Cameron Highlanders of Canada Memorial Page

The 179th Overseas Battalion

On 12 January 1916, the 179th Battalion was officially authorized and gazetted. Lt.-Col. James A. Cantlie was its first commanding officer. Two weeks later, those men from the 79th Draft who had been left behind were absorbed into the 179th.

During the spring and summer, the Battalion trained at the Minto Armoury and Camp Hughes.

Winnipeg's Annual Decoration Ceremony Parade took place 14 May 1916. It was one of the largest and most impressive military parades ever seen. Over 10,000 troops took part - including the Militia, the Permanent, and Overseas forces. Both the 79th Regiment and the 179th Battalion were present.

On 30 May 1916, the 179th, now under the command of Lt.-Col. J. Y. Reid, moved by train to Camp Hughes, 120 miles west of Winnipeg, for field training. This impressive camp, now a Provincial Heritage Site (and perhaps one of the very few First World War Training Centres still in existance) included an extensive trench system able to accomodate 1000 men. The grenade school used its own trench system, and the camp also had rifle ranges. The men lived in tents and the military buildings, demolished during the depression, included six theatres.

The 179th trained throughout the summer and and left Camp Hughes for overseas duty on 26 September 1916. Their train passed through Winnipeg on the week-long journey to Halifax.