28th Battalion History

In Canada and England 1914-1915

November 1, 1914

28th Battalion (approx. 1100 men 35 officers) formed at Winnipeg out of companies from Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Port Arthur, Fort William & a half company from Prince Albert With Colonel J.F.L. Embury of Regina in command. Composition of the 28th Battalion: Regina-12 officers, 246 men, Moose Jaw, 6 officers, 246 men, Saskatoon, 6 officers, 228 men, smaller detachments from Port Arthur and Prince Albert. Arrived in Winnipeg 1024 strong to take part in combined training with 27th Battalion.

November 1914-May 25, 1915

Battalion engages in training & drill at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

December 1914

Major General Steele, C.B., M.V.O. takes command of 6th Brigade.

May 25, 1915

The 2nd division was formed on this day consisting of the following units:

4th Brigade

18th Battalion: Western Ontario Regiment
19th Battalion: Central Ontatio
20th Battalion: 1st Central Ontario Regiment
21st Battalion: Eastern Ontario

5th Brigade

22nd Battalion: Canadiens Francais (Van Doos)
24th Battalion: Victoria Rifles
25th Battalion: Nova Scotia
26th Battalion: New Brunswick Battalion

6th Brigade (The Iron Sixth)

27th Battalion: City of Winnipeg Regiment
28th Battalion: North West Regiment
29th Battalion: Tobin's Tigers/Vancouver Regiment
31st Battalion: Alberta Regiment

Major General Steele commands of 2nd Division, Lieutenant-Colonel Ketchen the 6th Brigade.

May 26, 1915

28th Battalion entrained to Montreal to form part of Sixth infantry Brigade.

May 28, 1915

Battalion sailed from Montreal for Plymouth England on S.S. Northland. The men provided their own entertainment, as this program (which was carried through the war by my grandfather) indicates. The crossing took ten days and had calm seas for the crossing.

June 7, 1915

S.S. Northland arrives at Plymouth, England. The battalion entrained on the Great Western Railroad and departed for London at around 1:00 pm. At London, they change to the South Eastern and Chatham Railroad and head for the south coast and Dibgate Camp at Shorncliffe. Their camp, when they arrive, is on the heights overlooking the sea, seven miles west of Dover. The town of Hyth is located about an hour's walk west of camp, while Folkstone is a couple of miles to the east.

June 8, 1915

General Lambton, the British Commander in Chief's Military Secretary, Writes to King George V that Generals Julian Byng, Sir Thomas Snow (28th Division) and Alderson, were the best candidates for command of the proposed Canadian Corps.

Summer 1915

By the middle of August, the battalion is at the training camp at Otterpool near Shorncliffe, Kent, England. Battalion Scout section formed (20 picked men & Leuitenant D.E. Macintyre).

July 16, 1915

Canadian Pime Minister, the Right Honorable Robert Borden, with Sir George Perley (Canadian Overseas Minister), R.B. Bennet, M.P. (and Future Canadian Prime Minister) and Gen. Sir Sam Hughs (Canadian Minister of Munitions and Defense), inspect 2nd Division at Shorncliffe.

August 4, 1915

Sir Bonar Law, British Secretary for the Colonies, with Gen. Sir Sam Hughs, inspects 2nd Division at Shorncliffe.

August 17, 1915

Major General R.E.W. Turner takes command of the Second Division.

September 1, 1915

Battalion in Otterpoole.

September 2, 1915

King George V, accompanied by Lord Kitchener, inspects the troops of 2nd Division at Beachbourough Park, Shorncliffe.

September 13, 1915

Canadian Corps formed out of 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions, with Lieutenant-General Alderson moving from 1st Canadian Division to command the Corps.

Early September 1915

28th Battalion received a warning order: prepare to move to France. Major General Turner takes command of 2nd Division from General Steele, who remains to command the training camp at Shorncliffe. The Battalion is issued British uniforms, boots, webbing, equipment, all of it new and stiff. This, along with the issued ammunition was quite a load, men's packs were 90 pounds, officers 75 pounds.

September 15, 1915

Advance party departed for France.

September 16, 1915

The event called 'The Retreat from Moscow' by the 28th Battalion. The Battalion received orders to embark for France. The march to embark at Folkstone is diverted onto narrow, dusty side roads for security reasons. High temperatures, high humidity, tall hedges, new webbing & new boots resulted in sore feet, severe chaffing, exhaustion and confusion. Some troops dropped out on the 10-mile march. Sailing was postponed due to reports of submarines in the English Channel so a bivouac was arranged on St. Martin's Plain, one mile from the port. The local guide became lost, leading most of the battalion on a 5-mile trek. Stragglers and separated parties began to fall out and lie down on sidewalks, porches & half a company at the railroad station. Colonel Embury was found it to be quite embarrassing that a fit, well-trained outfit could fall apart so easily. Major Alex Ross gathered the stragglers onto the plain in the early morning. The bivouac was poor as the water supply was limited and all supplies (including food & cookers) were already loaded on the ship.

September 17, 1915

A night march from St. Martin's Plain to Folkstone harbour takes 1/2 hour. There are none of the incidents of the previous day's march. The Battalion embarks for France.

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