Lt. Col. Ings

Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Ings
105th (Prince Edward Island Highlanders) Battalion

What I wish you to arrange is this: Secure an understanding in writing from the Minister of Militia that the 105th shall be kept intact and not be broken up or used as reinforcements for other Regiments at the Front. I want to take the Bn. right to France identically the same as it leaves P.E.I. Ours is the only Province not represented by a Regiment at the front.

 I am not willing to take over a splendid Regiment to England from my own Province, and there be ordered to remain behind with all my senior officers and N.C.O.s and see my men drafted…

(Col. Ings to Premier Mathieson, 21 May 1916)

Albert Ernest Ings was born in Charlestown, Prince Edward Island on 11 May 1866. Ings had been a fourteen-years member of the 34th Light Horse and served as second-in-command of the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles after the outbreak of war. In December 1915, he received an appointment to raise his own battalion from Prince Edward Island. Feeling ignored in the mobilization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, P.E.I.  politicians had successfully lobbied for the creation of a separate unit raised from the island province.

After quickly filling its ranks with enthusiastic volunteers, the 105th sailed for England in July 1916. Aware that most units were broken up overseas, Ings appealed for P.E.I. Premier John A. Mathieson to use his political influence to ensure that his battalion would go to France intact. Ings explained that if the Islanders were disorganized, “every one will feel that the men have enlisted under false pretenses.”

Despite Ings’ best efforts, the 105th was first depleted by reinforcement drafts and then amalgamated with the 104th Battalion. Ings remained in command until his troops were absorbed into the 13th Reserve Battalion in March 1918.

Ings died on 23 November 1944.

Further Reading: Ryan O’Connor, “The 105th: The Rise and Fall of the Island’s Battalion,” The Island Magazine 60 (2006), 2-9.

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