Photo of Canadian Expeditionary Force troops packed on to deck of ship, looking at people on dock.
"26th Battalion and Ammunition Column Leaving St. John N.B. for Overseas Service June 13th 1915. Copyright by D. Smith Reid, St. John N.B."
These troops on are board the Caledonia. On June 24th, 1915 they landed at Davenport, England, then proceeded by train to East Sandling in the Shorncliffe Area.
“In this photo, nearly a year after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the more than a thousand soldiers with the 26th Battalion prepare to ship off to fight the war that the event sparked. The men were eager volunteers from all across New Brunswick, and they were soon to be thrown into the most devastating trials of the Western Front: The drowning mud of Passchendaele, the poison gas of Ypres, the record-breaking casualties of the Battle of the Somme and, of course, the taking of Vimy Ridge. When the battalion returned to Canada four years later, local papers noted the men had “returned to finish the most wonderful experience of their lives,” but shied away from noting just how many had failed to return.”
The 26th New Brunswick holds a place in Canadian military history as one of the most esteemed battalions of World War I. Originally consisting of 1250 men, the Fighting 26th departed Saint John on June 13, 1915 for the battlefields and trenches of France. The battalion participated in many of the major ‘shows’ of WWI, including Passchendaele, the Somme Offensive, Vimy Ridge and Hill 70. Casualties were high for the 26th and on August 15, 1917 the band returned home with only 44 of the original men. Many had given their lives in the effort, while others had been transferred to other battalions or invalided home. To this day the story of the 26th Battalion remains a testament to the brave sacrifice New Brunswick made in the Great War.