Category: 31st Battalion (Alberta), Canadian Expeditionary Force, World War I

Categories: Canadian Expeditionary Force, World War I

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The 31st Battalion (Alberta), CEF

The 31st Battalion (Alberta), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 17 May 1915. On 18 September 1915 it disembarked in France, where it fought with the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The battalion commander until late in the war was Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Henry Bell of Calgary. On 17 May 1915, the battalion sailed for England on RMS Carpathia, with a complement of 36 officers and 1033 other ranks. After initial training in England, the battalion fought in Belgium and France, and was often at the forefront of the fighting at St. Eloi Craters, the Ypres Salient, Vimy Ridge (Thélus Village), Fresnoy, the Somme, Passchendaele Village, the Battle of Amiens, the Battle of Arras, Drocourt–Quéant Switch, Valenciennes, Mons, and the occupation of the Rhine.

The battalion captured a Siberian pony from the Germans, which apparently had been captured from the Russians earlier in the war. The Canadians named this pony Heinie, and it became the 31st Battalion's mascot. After the war the 31st brought Heinie to Alberta, where it worked until at least the late 1920s for the Dominion Parks Branch near Banff, Alberta.

The bulk of the battalion returned to Canada on SS Cedric on 27 May 1919, and to Calgary on 1 June 1919. Through the course of the First World War, the 31st Battalion suffered losses of 941 dead, and an additional 2,312 non-fatal casualties. A total of 4,487 men served in the battalion.

The 31st Battalion recruited in Alberta and was mobilized at Calgary.

The 31st battalion had three Officers Commanding:

  • Lieutenant-Colonel A.H. Bell, DSO, 29 May 1915 – 23 April 1918
  • Lieutenant-Colonel E.S. Doughty, DSO, 23 April 1918 – 6 October 1918
  • Lieutenant-Colonel N. Spencer, DSO, 6 October 1918-Demobilization


Person Profiles (7)

21 Jun 1885 Plympton, Lambton, Ontario, Canada - 28 Jul 1917
01 Jun 1888 Southwold Township, Elgin, Ontario, Canada - 27 Sep 1916
13 Aug 1893 Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada - 26 Dec 1973 photo
01 Jul 1890 Merrickville, Lanark, Ontario, Canada - 21 May 1962
25 Jan 1883 Milford, Surrey, England, United Kingdom - 10 Sep 1918
08 Jun 1895 Alberta, Northwest Territories, Canada - 27 Sep 1916
30 Mar 1892 Calgary, Alberta, Canada - 03 Jan 1973

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