In WW1, the Canadian Expeditionary Force formed Battalions to train soldiers. Lethbridge formed three such battalions as reinforcements for the Nova Scotia Highlanders. Two were located in Lethbridge and one in Calgary.
Band Tartan: Black Watch
113th Battalion (Lethbridge Highlanders), CEF
There were two pipe bands in the training battalion, most likely one for the recruit company(s) and another for the advanced training group.
While the regiment wore battle dress, the CO sported a diced Glengarry bonnet and the men wore forage caps. The band wore navy blue Glengarries with the regimental badge and were issued the Argyll and Sutherland tartan kilt while training in Canada. When they reached England, the Brits, being sticklers for detail, informed them that their uniforms were not considered ‘acceptable’ and insisted they be issued the Number 1 Government Tartan (today referred to as the Black Watch tartan).
The first Battalion band was formed in Lethbridge, The second band was under the direction of Lt. Percy John Lester and quartered at camp Sarcee in Calgary.
The Commanding Officer:
Lieutenant Colonel Albert W. Pryce-Jones was born in Newton, Wales on 26 May 1870, the son of Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones, a former Conservative member of the British House of Commons. He attended Cambridge University, became a noted sportsman and joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He moved to Canada in 1910 and established the department store Pryce-Jones Ltd. in Calgary.
A militia officer in the 15th Light Horse, Pryce-Jones was appointed second-in-command of Lieutenant Colonel George B. McLeod’s 63rd Battalion in early 1915. By December, he was authorized to raise the 113th Highlanders from Lethbridge.
This was a replacement battalion for the Nova Scotia Highlanders. They did not wear kilts, but managed to raise and provide the services of two pipe bands.
It was an infantry battalion, authorized on 22 December 1915 as part of a recruiting drive in which men from the same region could enlist and serve together.
Basic training in the CEF involved rifle training, bombing or hand grenade practice, route marches, rifle drill and many inspections. Inspections were very popular for the 113th as many wished to hear their three bands.
In late May 1916, the battalion moved to Sarcee Camp outside Calgary for further training that lasted until September. During the time spent at Sarcee the battalion used painted rocks to construct their battalion number on nearby Signal Hill in Calgary. This bold white stones are still visible and preserved in Battalion Park.
In early September 1916 orders came for the battalion to entrain for the east and by September 19 the battalion was on its way.
On September 26, 1916, the 113th embarked along with the 111th and 145th Battalions on SS Tuscania, a transport ship. The trip across the Atlantic took ten days and upon arriving in England the battalion was taken to a holding camp at Sandling near Shorncliffe. It was at Sandling that Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Pryce-Jones, the commanding officer, learned that the 113th would be broken up for replacements and would not see action as a unit after all. One can only imagine the disappointment of these men as they learned the fate of the 113th, their battalion, after 10 months training together.
The 113th was transferred to the 17th Reserve Bn, CEF, the Nova Scotia Highlanders, affiliated with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada from Vancouver.
They were stationed at Bramshott Camp located South of London. On October 12, 1916, most of the old 113th proceeded to France arriving at a camp near Le Havre France.
Almost immediately 300 men of the old 113th were assigned as replacements to one of the most famous battalions in the 16th Bn Canadian Scottish, CEF from Victoria.
An idea of the casualties suffered by the 16th in the Somme fighting of the fall of 1916 till 1917 can be understood by this reinforcement. This would mean that roughly 30% of the 16th were new transfers from the 113th.
The battalion disbanded on 1 September 1917 and awarded the battle honour The Great War, 1916.
The perpetuation of the 113th Battalion was assigned in 1920 to the 3rd Battalion, the Alberta Regiment. When the Alberta Regiment was split in 1924, the perpetuation was passed to the 2nd Battalion. The South Alberta Regiment is now incorporated (through amalgamations) with the South Alberta Light Horse which carries on the perpetuation.