In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Regimental History
In common with many of the CEF battalions, the 210th never saw active service as a complete battalion. On arraval in the UK it was absorbed into the 19th Holding Battalion at Bramshot and used as casualty replacements. The majority were drafted into the 46th Battalion and the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. The balance or residue were seconded to various units according to their trade or calling. The cowboys went to a remount depot at Weymouth, lumber men to a Forestry battalion and those with construction experience to a railway unit to build or maintain narrow guage railways in France. 75 per cent were in France within a month of arraival in the UK.

The battalion was authorised in March 1916 at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Major W E Seaborn of the 128th Battalion was confirmed as Lieutenant-Colonel. Recruiting commenced in Moose Jaw and an advert was put in the local paper:

"Wanted at Once
Loyal Able Bodied Men to fill the ranks of the Frontiersmen Battalion. Good Opportunities for Promotion
Apply: Walter Scott Block Lt-Col Seaborn CO

Recruiting was brisk and proved to be very popular with the young men of the city and the surrounding district. Within a few days 150 men were on the strength. Accommodation was no problem. Douglas Block on Main Street was approved after some necessary alterations were completed. Every day the local press named all new recruits and those whose qualifications were suitable for NCO rank were mentioned by name. An extract from the Moose Jaw Times Herald states: "Recruiting for the 'Frontiersmen's Battalion' has now commenced in real earnest, the daily average enlistments are swelled by 20 and 30 per day, and in some days even more. There are now 400 men on the floor of Douglas Block and by the end of the week the number will be considerably increased."

Of the 521 members of the battalion, thee were 193 English, 186 Canadian, 62 Scottish, 42 American and 11 Irish. The Battalion moved to Camp Hughs about 30 miles away from Moose jaw for summer training where it learned drill and military discipline. With the coming of winter they moved back to Douglas Block which had space to train. Before leaving Moose Jaw the 210th were presented with a set of colours by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Sir Richard Lake KCMG and Lady Lake in front of a large gathering of citizens on 16th March 1917. The colours were also consecrated by Bishop Qu'Appelle.

The battalion left Halifax Nova Scotia on 12th April 1917 on SS Carpathia with 19 officers and 475 NCOs and men. A smaller contingent followed a week later, on the SS Northland. Carpathia reached Liverpool on 22nd April and the 500 took a train to Bramfield Camp where they were immediately absorbed into the 19th Holding battalion CEF. The battalion stayed in Bramfield for two weeks and held it's last parade as a complete unit. Lt-Col Seaborn gave a farewell address commending their spirit, comradeship and loyalty. He explained that the battalion was to be used to provide reinforcements for the hard hit battalions in France.

On being absorbed into other units, all NCOs reverted to privates. Many, however, were promoted to senior ranks in the field and many decorations were awarded. Sergeant J E Stutley, former RSM, serving in the 46th, received his sergeant's rank in the field. He captured a machine-gun post single handed and bayonetted the crew. He was recommended for a VC but received the Distinguished Cunduct Medal (DCM).

Officers who were placed in other units reverted to Lieutenants while others transferred to the RFC. It was a great disappointment to Lt-Col Seaborn that he was prevented from leading his battalion, one of the best trained in Canada, into action. He was determined to go to the Front and offered to revert to Major. When this was refused he offered to go down to Lieutenant. This was accepted and he served on the staff of General Sir Douglas Haig.

Of the men who went to the 46th Battalion, 2 were killed and 127 wounded. The battalion was disbanded officially in June 1918. The colours were deposited in St Andrew's Church, Moose Jaw on 28th Jan 1920. Unfortunately the church was ravaged by fire in 1963 destroying the colours, but the staff heads were salvaged and restored and handed to the Saskatchewan Dragoons for safe keeping.



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by Stephen Luscombe