The 16th Battalion
When war was declared on August 4th, 1914, Lieutenant- Colonel R.G. Leckie immediately sent a telegram to the Militia Department in Ottawa offering the 72nd Regiment Seaforth Highlanders of Canada as a unit for overseas service. Ottawa declined the offer, but a detachment of 25 officers and 519 men headed to Valcartier, Quebec, to become part of a composite Highland unit, alongside the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, and the Gordon Highlanders. Christened the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), the Seaforth contingent was the largest component of the new battalion, and Lieut.-Col. R.G. Leckie was given command. The first two commanding officers of the 16th Battalion were Seaforths, as was the adjutant, signaling officer, transport officer, quarter-master, medical officer, machine-gun officer, the regimental sergeant-major, the drum-major and pipe-major.
From the heroic defence of St. Julien, where the Germans first used poison gas, to their bravery and determination at Festubert and the Battle of the Somme, the Seaforths would make an indelible mark on the 16th Battalion, and set an example for the 72nd Battalion to emulate once they arrived in France.
The 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) would establish a tremendous record during the First World War, of which they are rightly proud. In acknowledgement of the Seaforth contribution to the 16th Battalion, the post-war Battle Honours Committee awarded the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada the Battle Honours Ypres 1915, Festubert, and France & Flanders 1915-18.