Volume 3, Part 2: Infantry Regiments


The Cape Breton Highlanders Badge

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Colonel-in-Chief: Her Majesty The Queen



to be determined


to be determined

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SIOL NA FEAR FEARAIL (Breed of manly men)


to be determined


British Army

The Mercian Regiment


The First World War

YPRES, 1917; ARRAS, 1917, '18; Vimy, 1917; Scarpe, 1918; Passchendaele; AMIENS; Drocourt-Quéant; HINDENBURG LINE; Canal du Nord; VALENCIENNES; SAMBRE; FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915-18.

The Second World War

LIRI VALLEY; Melfa Crossing; Ceprano; GOTHIC LINE; Montecchio; CORIANO; LAMONE CROSSING; Fosso Munio; Conventello-Comacchio; ITALY, 1944-1945; Ijsselmeer; Delfzijl Pocket; NORTH-WEST EUROPE, 1945.


The Cape Breton Highlanders originated in Baddeck, Nova Scotia on 13 October 1871, when the 'Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry' was authorized to be formed.1 It was redesignated: 'Victoria "Highland" Provis ional Bat tal ion of Infant r y' on 12 December 1879;2 'Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry "Argyll Highlanders"' on 9 April 1880;3 '94th "Victoria" Battalion of Infantry, "Argyll Highlanders"' on 12 June 1885;4 '94th Victoria Regiment "Argyll Highlanders"' on 8 May 1900;5 'The Cape Breton Highlanders' on 29 March 1920;6 '2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Cape Breton Highlanders' on 7 November 1940;7 'The Cape Breton Highlanders' on 15 February 1946;8 and the '2nd Battalion' of 'The Nova Scotia Highlanders' on 15 September 1954.9 On 9 December 2010 it was organized as a separate regiment and redesignated ‘The Cape Breton Highlanders’.10

Upon redesignation as The Cape Breton Highlanders on 29 March 1920 (see above), it was organized as a two battalion regiment with the 1st Battalion (85th Battalion, CEF) on the Non Permanent Active Militia order of battle and the 2nd Battalion (185th Battalion, CEF) on the Reserve order of battle. The reserve unit was disbanded on 14 December 1936 (GO 3/37).

The Cape Breton Highlanders were disbanded for the purpose of reorganization on 1 November 1920 and reorganized the same day (GO 253/20). This change was administrative and does not affect the lineage of the regiment.

On 21 June 1955, the 1st Battalion was redesignated '1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North)' and the 2nd Battalion the '2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton)' (CAO 110-3, Pt 'B' Supp Issue No. 446/55).

On 12 August 1977, all generic titles in the Canadian Forces, such as 'battalion', were made bilingual (Memorandum, DGBB (Director General Bilingualism and Biculturalism), 1901-1/1211-7-4, 12 Aug 77).


'85th' and '185th "Overseas" Battalion(s), CEF'

Headquarters Location

Sydney, Nova Scotia

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The First World War

Details of the 94th Victoria Regiment "Argyll Highlanders" were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protection duties.11

The 85th Battalion, which was authorized on 10 July 1915 as the '85th "Overseas" Battalion, CEF',12 embarked for Great Britain on 12 October 1916.13 It disembarked in France on 10 February 1917, where it fought as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.14 The battalion was disbanded on 15 September 1920.15

The 185th Battalion, which was authorized on 15 July 1916 as the '185th "Overseas" Battalion', CEF,16 embarked for Great Britain on 12 October 1916.17 It provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 15 February 1918, when its personnel were absorbed by the '17th Reserve Battalion, CEF'.18 The battalion was disbanded on 29 November 1918.19

The Second World War

Details of The Cape Breton Highlanders were called out on service on 26 August 1939 and then placed on active service on 1 September 1939, under the designation 'The Cape Breton Highlanders, CASF (Details)', for local protection duties.20 The details called out on active service were disbanded on 31 December 1940.21

The regiment subsequently mobilized the '1st Battalion, The Cape Breton Highlanders, CASF' for active service on 1 January 1941.22 It embarked for Great Britain on 10 November 1941.23 It landed in Italy on 10 November 1943 as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division.24 The battalion moved to North-West Europe from 20 to 26 February 1945, where it continued to fight until the end of the war.25 The overseas battalion was disbanded on 15 February 1946.26


The Cape Breton Highlanders Regimental Colours


The Cape Breton Highlanders have No Registered Camp Flag

1. GO 22/71. Formed from four independent infantry companies authorized on the following dates: 'No. 1 Company' (No. 1 Infantry Company, "Baddeck", 8 October 1869), 'No. 2 Company' (No. 2 Infantry Company, "Middle River", 8 October 1869), 'No. 3 Company' (No. 3 Infantry Company, "Grand Narrows", 8 October 1869), et 'No. 4 Company' (Infantry Company at Cow Bay, 22 October 1869) / Formé de quatre compagnies d'infanterie indépendantes autorisées selon les dates suivantes : « No. 1 Company » (No. 1 Infantry Company, "Baddeck", 8 octobre 1869), « No. 2 Company » (No. 2 Infantry Company, "Middle River", 8 octobre 1869), 16 octobre 1869), « No. 3 Company » (No. 3 Infantry Company, "Grand Narrows", 8 octobre 1869), et « No. 4 Company » (Infantry Company at Cow Bay, 22 octobre 1869).

2. GO 30/79.

3. GO 7/80.

4. GO 15/85.

5. MO 105/1900.

6. MO 97/20.

7. GO 42/41.

8. GO 111/46; and/et GO 400/45.

9. CAO 76-3, Pt 'B', Supp Issue No. 415/54.

10. MOO 2010013 / AMO 2010013.

11. GO 142/14.

12. GO 103a/15.

13. CEF Sailing List, vol. V.

14. War Diary/Journaux de guerre, 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion, LAC/BAC, RG/GE 9, Series III-D-3, Vol. 4944, File/dossier 454.

15. GO 149/20.

16. GO 69/16.

17. CEF Sailing List, vol. IX.

18. Edwin Pye Papers, Summary of History of C.E.F. Units - 185th Battalion, Document Collection/Collection de documents 74/672, Series/séries IV, Box/boîte 13, Folder/chemise 185.

19. GO 135/18.

20. GO 124/39; and/et GO 135/39.

21. GO 44/41.

22. GO 44/41; and/et GO 42/41.

23. Document Collection/Collection de documents 92/252, (3-6-9) The Cape Breton Highlanders, Box/boîte 35, Folder/chemise 8.

24. Alex Morrison and Ted Slaney, The Breed of Manly Men: The History of The Cape Breton Highlanders (Sydney, 1994), passim.

25. Ibid, pp. 307 - 332.

26. GO 111/46.

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