The Story of the 28th Battalion - 1914 - 1917

by G. E. Hewitt

The Beginning



(This series of histories is written under the direction of and edited by Capt. T. G ROBERTS of the Canadian War Records Office.)


The original net profits on this publication went to the Canadian War Memorials Fund.

Printed and Published for the CANADIAN WAR RECORDS OFFICE, 15, Tudor Street, London. E.C. 4.

By CHARLES and SON (W. Charles), 10, Patecooster Square, London, EC. 4

The Story of the 28th (North-West) Battalion. SASKATCHEWAN.

Commanded by

Lieut.-CoI. (now Brig.-Gen.) J. F. L. EMBURY, C.M.G.,

(formerly commanding 95th Saskatchewan Rifles, Canadian Militia) from Mobilization until the battle of Courcelette.

and (shown at the left)

Lieut.-Col. ALEX. ROSS, D.S.O.,

(formerly of 95th Saskatchewan Rifles) from the battle of Courcelette.


St. Eloi Craters, April, 1916

Hooge, June 6th, 1916

Courcelette (Somme) September, 1916

Vimy Ridge, April, 1917

Hill 70, August, 1917

Passehendaele, November. 1917

The 28th Battalion throughout the fighting set a notable example of gallantry and endurance." The words were penned by Lord Beaverbrook ("Canada in Flanders," Volume II.), in his graphic description of the exploits of Canadian regiments in the agonizing struggle for the craters of St. Eloi in April 1916. Such an eulogy, coming from the Dominion's first official war historian, pays splendid tribute to a very popular western battalion. It is indeed an appreciation well merited. From Kemmel Hill (September 1915) to Passchendaele (November 1917), the record of the 28th is one of fine achievement, a story to live in the annals of Canada's role in the war.

It seems almost like delving into the past to tell of the origin of the 28th and to recount its early history. For one has to go back, not merely to the good old Horse Show building in Winnipeg, but to the large cities and centers of Saskatchewan, where the integral parts of the unit first saw the light - and to those thriving twin cities of Port Arthur and Fort William whence a whole company of the original battalion came. It would be perfectly safe to say that every single militia unit in Saskatchewan was represented to some extent in the five companies which formed the original make-up of the 28th Battalion. (There was an extra or " base " company in those days). Moreover, it was a pretty safe bet that a man wearing the familiar 28th badge on his cap in the early months of 1915, hailed from Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Fort William, Port Arthur or the vicinity of those places and one must mention Winnipeg, which city could claim its quota after the battalion's six months' residence in winter quarters there.


The 28th was brigaded early in 1915 with the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion, the 29th (Vancouver) and the 31st (Alberta). These units formed the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the western hope of the 2nd Canadian Division the " Iron Sixth."

In command of the Saskatchewan unit was Lieut.-Col. J. F. L. Embury, a prominent Regina counsel and officer of the Canadian Militia. No better choice could have been made. The colonel was a man's man and won the confidence of all ranks, a staunch confidence which made itself felt throughout the early and important history of the 28th in the field.

28th (North-west) Battalion Headquarters is © Copyright 2001 Robert Lindsay. All Rights Reserved