73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF

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73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada)
73-78 Bn CEF.jpg
Unit/Brigade/Division Patch
Active 10 July 1915 to 19 April 1917
Country  Canada
Branch 4th Canadian Division
Type 12th Brigade
Role Infantry
Size Battalion (Highlander)
Part of Canadian Expeditionary Force
Motto(s) Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No one shall touch me with impunity)
March Quick - Hielan' Laddie
Slow - The Red Hackle
Commanders
First Officer Commanding Lt-Col Peers Davidson ( _ )
Regimental Sergeant Major Sgt-Major _ ( _ )
Insignia
Hackle Red

The 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada) organized in June 1915, initially commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Peers Davidson, was placed on ‘Active Service’ as an ‘Overseas Battalion, on 10 July 1915, as authorized in Militia General Orders.[1][2]

A Montreal, Quebec Battalion[edit]

The 73rd Battalion was mobilized in Montreal, with recruiting beginning on 3 September 1915, in Montreal and in parts of Eastern Ontario and Quebec.[3] After initial training in Valcartier and wintering in Montreal, it was deemed ready for overseas in spring 1916. The Battalion embarked at Halifax, NS on 31 March 1916, aboard RMS ADRIATIC, disembarking in Liverpool on 9 April 1916, with a strength of 36 officers and 1033 other ranks.[4][5][6]

Facing initially an uncertain future, on 5 May 1916, it was advised of assignment to 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade. After extended training in England, and losing a replacement draft of 250 men to the 13th Bn, the Battalion arrived at Le Havre, France on 13 August 1916, on HMTS Copenhagen, becoming part of the new 4th Canadian Division.[7][8] The Battalion’s orientation to Belgium and Flanders began, doing rotating tours or brigade reserve duties, first in Ypres, in August 1916,[9] and through September, to the south, in Kemmel.[10]

The Somme 1916 and The March Raid 1917[edit]

Then moving, in October, for training prior to operations during The Third Battle of The Somme in the Battle of Ancre Heights, and at the Battle of Ancre, into November 1916, it conducted four tours, at Regina Trench and into Desire, Sugar, and Switch Trenches.[11][12]

In December 1916, it was to move to the Arras sector, finding itself at Vimy, first as 4th Division Reserve before engagements in January / February 1917, with tours in and out on four or five day rotations.[13][14] After time, also as 12th Bde Reserve, it participated in the March Raid on the 1st and followed up with two tours in The Zouave Valley.[15][16][17]

Vimy Ridge 1917[edit]

The Battalion’s status as being sustainable first came into question in February 1917, as the England-based 20th Canadian Reserve Battalion noted fewer replacements coming through from their 1st Depot Battalion in Canada. In Montreal, through Militia District No. 4, the 1st Quebec Regiment,[18][19] then having to sustain eight infantry CEF battalions was running out of volunteers, and The 73rd became the subject of discussion as a source of replacements, for two earlier recruited Montreal Highland service units: The 13th and The 42nd Battalions (RHC).[20][21]

Fully engaged, in the line, below Vimy Ridge, on April 4,[22] it moved to a position on the 1st CA Corps Left Flank, just west of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, entering assigned tunnels and into the Lime Street trenches, on the April 7th.[23] Following the mine explosions at Gunner and Kennedy Craters, it assaulted onto the lower left slope of Hill 145, on the 9th,[24] achieving its assigned objectives, moving forward, it fought off a counterattack, on April 11. After supporting 10th Brigade's assault north onto The Pimple, on the 12th and 13th,[25] it was relieved on 13 April 1917, by the 85th Battalion.

Relieved and Dissolved[edit]

Being seen as a low priority for Highlander replacements, and having suffered noted casualties, previously in the gas blow-back of The March Raid (27 Killed, 161 Casualties), and the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the assault onto Hill 145 (31 Killed, 189 Wounded), it was withdrawn from battle and ordered to dissolve on 16 April 1917.[26][27] Now commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel H.C. Sparling, DSO, the 73rd Battalion was disbanded, on 19 April 1917, broken up for reinforcements, they being absorbed largely by the 13th (RHC) Battalion and the 42nd (RHC) Battalion, as well as the affiliated units in the 12th Brigade, and the 85th (NSH) Battalion.[28]

The 73rd Battalion was awarded the following battle honours, perpetuated by: The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: SOMME 1916. Ancre Heights. ANCRE 1916. ARRAS 1917. VIMY 1917. FRANCE and FLANDERS 1916-17.[29][30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canadian Gazette: October 23, 1915, Pg 1255. HQ Ottawa Militia General Orders: G.O. 103a Organization - Dated 15 August 1915. See: http://cefresearch.ca/wiki/index.php/General_Orders Reviewed: 07.10.2015.
  2. ^ See:Page 82. Meek, John F. Over the Top! The Canadian Infantry in the First World War. Orangeville, ON. The Author, 1971. Digital Version: R.V. Laughton February 2103. https://ia801603.us.archive.org/8/items/OverTheTopTheCanadianInfantryInTheFirstWorldWar/OverTheTop.pdf Reviewed 07.10.2015
  3. ^ Introduction: Page 3. A Short History and Photographic Record of the 73rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Royal Highlanders of Canada, Undated, 1916 WW I. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~guppyross/hist.html Reviewed 08.10.2015
  4. ^ Guide to CEF Infantry Battalions: LAC Page 315, See: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/005/f2/005-1142.29.022-e.pdf – Accessed 05.10.2015.
  5. ^ CEFSG Matrix Project - CEF Sailing List: Infantry Battalions, R.V. Laughton – See: http://cefresearch.ca/matrix/Utilities/Troopships/infantry.htm Reviewed 08.10.2015.
  6. ^ CEF 73rd BATTALION Nominal Roll- Embarkation: March 31st1916, MoMD. See: https://ia802708.us.archive.org/1/items/CEF_73rdBn_1916/CEF_73rdBn_1916.pdf Reviewed 08.10.2015
  7. ^ Guide to CEF Infantry Battalions:LAC Page 315. See: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/005/f2/005-1142.29.022-e.pdf – Accessed 05.10.2015.
  8. ^ Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years 1862-1962,(Colonel)Paul P. Hutchison,Montreal: The Black Watch(RHR)of Canada 1962.
  9. ^ War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Royal Highlanders of Canada – Monthly Summary: August 1916 – Vol I, Page 4. See: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119717.jpg Reviewed 09.10.2015
  10. ^ War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Royal Highlanders of Canada – Monthly Summary: September 1916 – Vol II, Page 7. See: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119722.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  11. ^ Johan Moors: Footsteps … 1914-1918. 73rd Bn. Canadian Infantry - Royal Highlanders. See:http://www.ypres-salient.com/73rd-bn-canadian-infantry---royal-highlanders.html Viewed 05.10.2015
  12. ^ Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years 1862-1962, (Colonel) Paul P. Hutchison, Montreal: The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 1962.
  13. ^ LAC ArchiviaNet War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, 4th Canadian Division – Monthly Summary: January 1917 –Volume 6 (21 Pages). http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119753.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  14. ^ LAC ArchiviaNet War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, 4th Canadian Division – Monthly Summary: February 1917 –Volume 7 (16 Pages). http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119796.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  15. ^ LAC ArchiviaNet War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion: In The Line – Monthly Details: March 1917 – Volume 8 (Pages: I to VI ) http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119840.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  16. ^ Cook, Tim (1999) "A Proper Slaughter”: The March 1917 Gas Raid at Vimy Ridge, Canadian Military History: Volume. 8, Issue. 2, Article 2, pp. 7-23. Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol8/iss2/2 Accessed 05.10.2015
  17. ^ See Page 09. Meek, John F. Over the Top! The Canadian Infantry in the First World War. Orangeville, ON. The Author, 1971. Digital Version: R.V. Laughton February 2103. https://ia801603.us.archive.org/8/items/OverTheTopTheCanadianInfantryInTheFirstWorldWar/OverTheTop.pdf Reviewed 07.10.2015
  18. ^ Letter Ref 148-3-7 Shoreham: Dated 07 Feb 1917 CO 20th Cdn Res Bn (UK) to OC 5th RHC (Mtl) http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119953.jpg Reviewed 05.10.2015
  19. ^ Composition of Territorial Regiments, CEF – November 1918. Accessed 05.10.2015. http://cefresearch.ca/matrix/Nicholson/Appendicies/Appendix%20X.pdf
  20. ^ Fetherstonaugh Pg 176. The 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada 1914-1919, R.C. Fetherstonaugh, Montreal: 13th Battalion RHR of Canada 1925. See: https://archive.org/details/royalhighlanders00fethuoft Reviewed 08.10.2015
  21. ^ Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years 1862-1962, (Colonel) Paul P. Hutchison, Montreal: The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 1962.
  22. ^ CEF Study Group: 2007 Vimy Project - War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Vol IX Page II. http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119885.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  23. ^ CEF Study Group: 2007 Vimy Project - War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Vol IX Page VIII. http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119891.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  24. ^ CEF Study Group: 2007 Vimy Project - War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Vol IX Page XII. http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119895.jpg Accessed 05.10.2015
  25. ^ War Diary: 73rd Canadian Infantry Bn, Vol IX Page XX and XXI See: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e045/e001119904.jpg Reviewed 08.10.2015
  26. ^ War Diary/Journaux de guerre, 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, LAC/BAC, RG/GE 9, Series III-D-3, Vol. 4943, File/dossier 451.
  27. ^ Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years 1862-1962, (Colonel) Paul P. Hutchison, Montreal: The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 1962.
  28. ^ War Diary/Journaux de guerre, 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade, LAC/BAC, RG/GE 9, Series III-D-3, Vol. 4907, File/dossier 326.
  29. ^ CEF Study Group – Matrix Project: September 2012 - Accessed 2015-02-21 http://cefresearch.ca/matrix/Army%20Corps/Divisions/4th%20Division/12th%20Infantry%20Brigade/73rd%20Battalion.htm
  30. ^ Canadian Forces Publication A-DH-267-003 Insignia and Lineages of the Canadian Forces. Volume 3: Combat Arms Regiments. Modified: 2010-06-11 Accessed: 2015-02-21 http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/ol-lo/vol-tom-3/par2/bwc-eng.asp

Bibliography[edit]

  • The 73rd Battalion: Royal Highlanders of Canada, 1915-1917 - The Official History of the 73rd Battalion, CEF. Col Paul P. Hutchison c1962 ISBN Ref 978-0-9782507-2-0

Bloomfield, ON: Museum Restoration Service, 1987.

  • Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years 1862-1962, (Colonel) Paul P. Hutchison, Montreal: The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada, 1987; Don Mills, ON, 1962.