218th (Edmonton) Battalion, CEF

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218th Battalion, CEF
Active 1916–1917
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Type Infantry
Officer commanding LCol J. K. Cornwall

The 218th Battalion, CEF, was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the unit began recruiting in early 1916 in that city. After sailing to England in February 1917, the battalion was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops. The 218th Battalion, CEF, had one officer commanding: Lieutenant-Colonel J. K. "Peace River Jim" Cornwall.

On October 11, 1916, soldiers from the 218th Battalion led an effort to overcome the local police in Calgary. "The city virtually is in the hands of the soldier mob." Sergeant Morris "Two Gun" Cohen was implicated as a leader of the events during a series of trials held in the city; however, he was acquitted after successfully defending himself in court.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

On February 8, 1917, after the unit was formally re-formed, soldiers from the former battalion rioted in Calgary after being ordered to depart immediately for Europe. They attacked 14 stores, restaurants and cafés throughout the city.[7]

The King's and Regimental Colours of the 218th Battalion were deposited in All Saints' Pro-Cathedral but were destroyed in a fire in 1919. In 1921, replicas of the colours were laid up in the rotunda of the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Levy, D.S. (2002) Two-Gun Cohen. Macmillan. p 82-95.
  2. ^ "Soldiers riot in Calgary", The New York Times. October 12, 1916. Retrieved 4/22/08.
  3. ^ Lackenbauer, P.W. (2007) "Soldiers Behaving Badly: CEF Soldier 'Rioting' in Canada during the First World War," in The Apathetic and the Defiant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1812 to 1919. ed. Craig Leslie Mantle. Kingston: CDA Press/Dundurn. p 195-260.
  4. ^ Lackenbauer, P. W. (2005) "Partisan Politics, Civic Priorities, and the Urban Militia: Situating the Calgary Armoury, 1907-17." Urban History Review 33(2) p. 45-60.
  5. ^ Lackenbauer, P.W. (2001) "The Government is in No Way Responsible for the Wrong-Doing of its Soldiers:’ Disciplinary and Legal Dimensions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Riots in Calgary." In Perspectives on War: Essays on Security, Society and the State. C. Bullock and J. Dowding (eds) Society for Military and Strategic Studies. p 75-91.
  6. ^ Drage, C. (1964) The Life and Times of General Two-Gun Cohen. Funk and Wagnals. p 61.
  7. ^ Levy, D.S. (2002) Two-Gun Cohen. Macmillan. p 95.
  8. ^ "Fact Sheet: The Regimental Colours" (PDF). The Alberta Legislature. February 23, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  • Meek, John F. (1971). Over the Top! The Canadian Infantry in the First World War. Orangeville, Ontario: The Author.