1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North)
The 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) is the child of three old regional regiments; The Pictou Highlanders, The Cumberland Highlanders, and The Colchester and Hants Regiment. The 93rd Cumberland Battalion of Infantry was the first of the three to send troops into action when, on the outbreak of the South African War, volunteers were mustered for dispatch to various Canadian contingents serving in that area. These men were engaged from 1899 to 1902, during which time the unit was awarded regimental status with the designation of The 93rd Cumberland Regiment.
With the outbreak of the First World War, both The 78th Pictou Regiment ‘Highlanders’ and The 93rd Cumberland Regiment raised volunteers for the conflict ahead by contributing soldiers to the 13th and 17th Battalions, CEF, on their formation in September 1914. With these two units completed and dispatched, both Regiments were called upon again, this time to recruit for the 193rd and 246th Battalions, CEF. It was the role of these two new units to provide reinforcements to the Canadian Corps in Europe.
However, the third partner in this future amalgamation was not standing idle all the while. The 76th Colchester and Hants Rifles and The 81st ‘Hants’ Regiment contributed substantially to the formation of The 14th Battalion in September 1914. Like its neighbour regiments, it recruited further for the 25th and 106th Battalions, CEF. The 25th Battalion, CEF, served in France and Flanders with the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division, from September 16, 1915 until the Armistice. The 106th Battalion, CEF, provided reinforcements to the active units in the field.
Such was the contribution in manpower of these Regiments that the Regiment today perpetuates the 17th, 25th, 85th, 106th, 185th, 193rd, and 246th Battalions. The Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 were awarded twenty-one Battle Honours during the conflict further attesting to their noble conduct in some of the fiercest actions of war.
During the Second World War, The Pictou Highlanders were active in a defensive role but were never engaged in battle. Details of the Regiment were raised for local protective duty on September 1, 1939 and full mobilization occurred on January 1, 1941. The first move that the Regiment made was to Newfoundland for coastal defence duty from March until August 1943. In September of the year one company was dispatched to Nassau, Bahamas where it performed garrison duty until March 1946. A second company entitled Special Infantry Company (Pictou Highlanders) was mobilized on September 10, 1942 for service in Bermuda from November 12, 1942 to April 1, 1946. Their duties performed by both the active battalion and the Special Infantry Company (Pictou Highlanders) were disbanded on April 30, 1946. During the life of the active units a 2nd Battalion also served back home in the Reserve Army.
2nd Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)
The Battalion was organized on October 13, 1871 as The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry from four independent companies. Headquarters of this new unit was established at Baddeck, Victoria County, Cape Breton-hence the name. The ranks were filled predominantly by Highlanders, the descendents of Scots who had emigrated from the Duke of Argyll’s estates. After a slight change in redesignation the unit officially became a Highland battalion on December 12, 1879. A few months later, on April 9, 1880, a further redesignation bound the unit to its Argyll ancestry by bearing The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry “Argyll Highlanders”.
The Subsequent years, the original four companies were expanded. New companies were raised in 1882, 1894, and 1902. This strong establishment was retained until the outbreak of the First World War.
The 94th Victoria Regiment “Argyll Highlanders” was placed on active service on August 6, 1914 for protective duties of the Cape Breton Coast. The Regiment recruited upwards of 2,400 men for the Canadian Expeditionary Force most of whom were channelled into The 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) and The 185th Battalion (Cape Breton Highlanders) which, with the 193rd and 219th Battalions, formed The Nova Scotia Highland Brigade. The 85th Battalion served in France and Flanders with The 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division, from February 10, 1917 unitl the Armistice. The remaining Battalions provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field. The 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) participated in every battle in which 4 Division engaged and forged an enviable reputation as a first class fighting unit. All together, some 174 officers and 3,249 other ranks were absorbed into the Battalion. Casualties were heavy, but only one man was captured by the enemy.
Following the First World War, the Militia was reorganized and on April 1, 1920 the Unit was redesignated The Cape Breton Highlanders which was to perpetuate the 94th Regiment and the 25th, 85th and 185th Battalions. On April 1, 1932, following a request from the Regiment, permission was granted The Cape Breton Highlanders to adopt the uniform, with the exception of the regimental badge of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s), thus cementing the 94th’s earlier relationship with that famous British regiment.
On September 1, 1939, details of The Cape Breton Highlanders were called out to supply protective guards at vital installations in the industrial areas of Cape Breton. The unit mobilized on January 1, 1941 and in May of the year was designated as the infantry support battalion for the 5th Canadian Armoured Division being formed at Camp Borden, Ontario.
The Regiment embarked for England on November 13, 1941 where two years were spent training for battle. The Cape Breton Highlanders landed in Italy on November 10, 1943, as part of The 11th Infantry Brigade, 5th Armoured Division. The unit’s first task was to relieve The West Nova Scotia Regiment of Ortona. This was accomplished with relative ease and from there the unit moved to Orsogna, subsequently coming under command of thee New Zealand Division at Monte Cassino.
While in Italy, The Regiment served with various formations of the British 8th Army and the American 5th Army and took part in the breaching of the Gothic Line. Following this operation, such other battles as Coriano Ridge, the Lamone River and the Canal Du Bonificia were encountered. The 5th Canadian Division moved to Leghorn and sailed for Marseilles, France where it joined the 1st Canadian Army in North-West Europe.
On March 28, 1945 The Cape Breton Highlanders moved into the line in Holland where they relieved The Essex Regiment in the area of Nijmegen. On April 21st the unit relieved the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in the Firesland area. The last action of the Cape Breton Highlanders was the capture of the port of Delfzijl, Holland on April 27-28, 1945. The last operation proved highly successful, all objectives were taken and approximately 1700 prisoners of war were captured. This engagement cost the unit 19 killed and 54 wounded; the Cease-Fire came one week later, on May 5, 1945.
Following the Second World War, the unit resumed its militia status. In 1954, along with Nova Scotia’s two other Highland Regiments, The Cape Breton Highlanders was amalgamated to form a single unit. On September 15th the Battalion was thus designated “2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders” and on June 21, 1955 “2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)”.
History of Amalgamation:
1st Bn. Nova Scotia Highlanders (N)
North Nova ScotiaHighlanders
1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North)
The Battalion originated on April 6, 1871 and incorporates the following Regiments:
The Pictou Highlanders
Organized on April 6, 1871 as the Colchester and Hants Provisional Battalion of Infantry, from five independent companies. It was redesignated The 78th Colchester and Hants, or Highlanders Battalions of Infantry on September 1, 1871; The 78th ‘Colchester, Hants, and Pictou’, Battalion of Infantry or ‘Highlanders’ on September 5, 1879; The 78th Colchester, Hants, and Pictou Regiment ‘Highlanders’ on May 8, 1900; The 78th Pictou Regiment on April 1, 1920; The Pictou Highlanders on July 2, 1920 and the Pictou Highlanders (Motor) on April 1,1946. On October 1, 1954 it was amalgamated with The North Nova Scotia Highlanders and The 189th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (authorized April 1, 1946) to form the 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders. The unit was redesignated 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) on June 21, 1956.
The Cumberland Highlanders
Organized on April 6, 1871 as The Cumberland Provisional Battalion of Infantry from four independent companies. It was redesignated The 93rd Cumberland Battalion of Infantry on June 12, 1885; The 93rd Cumberland Regiment on May 8, 1900; The Cumberland Regiment on April 1, 1920 and The Cumberland Highlanders on June 15, 1927. On December 1, 1936 it was amalgamated with The Colchester and Hants Regiment (less C Company) and C Company, 6th Machine Gun Battalion, CMCG, Highlanders (MG). It was designated The North Nova Scotia Highlanders on March 7, 1941. On October 1, 1954 it was amalgamated with The Pictou Highlanders (Motor) and The 189th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery to form The 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders as shown above.
The Colchester and Hants Regiment
The 78th Colchester and Hants Rifles (authorized on April 1, 1910 as The 70th Colchester and Hants Regiment and The 81st “Hants” Regiment on May 1, 1914). The two Regiments were amalgamated on April 1, 1920 to form The Colchester and Hants Regiment. On December 1, 1936 the Regiment (less C Company) was amalgamated with The Cumberland Highlanders and C Company, 6th Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC, to form the North Nova Scotia Highlanders (MG) as shown above.
On September 1, 1939 details of The North Nova Scotia Highlanders (MG) were also placed on active service for local protective duty. The pace of events was rapid for The Nova Scotia Highlanders, CASF and embarked for the United Kingdom on July 21st of the next year. Here almost three years were to pass in the training camps before they were to see action. This period of inactivity was soon made up for with the landing at Normandy on June 6, 1944 and the subsequent thrust to the heart of Europe. Here it served as a unit of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Its mission completed, and with Europe once more secure, the active unit was disbanded on January 15, 1946. While the 1st Battalion served on active duty, a 2nd Battalion was raised in the Reserve Army. A 3rd Battalion was mobilized on June 1, 1945 for service in the Canadian Army Occupation Force but was soon disbanded on May 1st and the following year.
The Regiment experienced many role changes and amalgamations in the later years until on June 21, 1955 it gained its current designation of 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North).
2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)
The 2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton) is still fondly referred to as the Cape Breton Highlanders in many circles. On October 13, 1871 four independent companies were combined to form The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry. In keeping with the flavour of the region it was redesignated The Victoria ‘Highland’ Provisional Battalion of Infantry on December 12, 1879 and then The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry ‘Argyll Highlanders’ on April 9, 1880. Later amendments resulted in The 94th Victoria Regiment ‘Argyll Highlanders’ on May 8, 1900; The Cape Breton Highlanders on April 1, 1920; The 2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders on September 15, 1954, and finally the current title on June 21, 1955.