The Story of the 28th Battalion - 1914 - 1917

by G. E. Hewitt



Training in Canada was a joy. Rushing the imaginary German trenches across snow-covered "Happyland" (one of the city of Winnipeg's many popular recreation grounds) was sport of the exhilarating order. Hoofing it along Portage to Deer Lodge with a "pack" which made the veterans of the regiment smile, was a pleasant pastime when the winds from the north were not too biting and the snow drifts out St. James' way had received the close attention of the city madmen. Target shooting on the miniature range of the " Little Black Devils" at the Main Street Armoury savoured of a parlour game. It was just spadework, a fairly pleasant introduction to the great profession of a soldier.


Dame Rumour was ever a lying jade, hut never more so than in those early days of the older Canadian battalions. Scarcely a week passed by but somebody told somebody else over the mess table that he had seen the orders for an immediate departure overseas and within an hour, the commodious barracks on Colony Street would be afire with the "fake" story, bringing inevitable disappointment in its wake.

Final orders arrived about the middle of May and the battalion commenced a long-drawn-out farewell of the city. Before the end of the month Lieut.-Col. Embury and a full complement of officers and men entrained at the C.P.R. Depot in Winnipeg for Montreal. It was a memorable departure and the scenes of enthusiasm and warmly expressed goodwill of thousands of Manitobans towards their neighbours, will not be forgotten readily.

The 28th sailed ultimately, past old Quebec and out to sea. Good weather favoured the ocean trip, which was uneventful. As the transport approached the treacherous Irish Coast, swift destroyers of the British Navy came to her side and guarded her during the remainder of her journey to dock at Devonport.


The training of the 28th on English soil lasted from June to the middle of September, the battalion living under canvas at the famous Shorneliffe Camp. There they were inspected many times by British and Canadian generals. Historic days those were too, on which the Saskatchewan men, with other units of the 2nd Division, marched past His Majesty the King, the late Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener, and Major-Gen. Sir Sam Hughes, then Canada's War Minister. All made a magnificent showing. The men looked superb. Their bearing stamped them with the hallmark of efficiency. They were ready for the field indeed.

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