Lieutenant Colonel R.J.S. Langford
193rd (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
The Battalion, by means of its organization, is able to stand the shock of battle, to surmount confusion, to suffer casualties with the least injury to its efficiency. To abandon the organization is to destroy the fighting power and capacity for training.
(Langford, Corporal to Field Officer, 1940, 8)
Robert John Spinluff Langford was a professional soldier with the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was born in India on 9 July 1887. After Lieutenant Colonel John Stanfield, MP, temporarily assumed command of the Nova Scotia Highlander Brigade, Langford took over the 193rd, which he led to England in late 1916.
Lieutenant Colonel Norval Parsons
246th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Col. Parsons, who was appointed to be second in command of the 185th Battalion, is a very strong Liberal.
It is a fact as reported to me that great credit is taken by the Liberal party in Nova Scotia for the organization of the Highland Brigade. Yet my hon. friend stands on the floor of this Parliament and says that the whole thing is honeycombed with politics.
(Robert Borden, Debates, 6 May 1916, 3545)
A senior officer with the 85th, 185th and 219th Battalions, Norval Henry Parsons was promoted to command the 246th in August 1916. The latest Nova Scotia battalion was designated as a reserve unit for the expected formation of a Highlander Brigade. Parson was born in Kingston, Nova Scotia on 25 March 1868. He was a lifelong militiaman and former commanding officer of the 68th Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel John Stanfield, M.P.
193rd (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Colonel Stanfield has gone back to Canada and I guess that is the best place for him. He is no good anyway and after the boys get home again he won’t have so much to say.
(Clarence Reginald Gass to Lillian Gass, 29 Nov 1916)
John Stanfield was Conservative MP for Colchester (1907—1917) and chief government whip during the Borden Government. He was born on 18 May 1868 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was a member of the 76th Colchester and Hants Rifle Corps Reserve. In February 1916, he was authorized to raise the 193rd Battalion as a unit in Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Borden’s Highland Brigade. On his attestation form, Stanfield cited annual militia “camp drill” as prior military service.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Muirhead
219th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
When the war broke out one of the very first to volunteer from the province of Nova Scotia, and to place his services unqualifiedly at the disposal of his King, was Major Muirhead.
For nine months Major Muirhead has been in the trenches, and for the last four months of that period he has been a member and in charge of a bombing party, which you know, Sir is the most dangerous branch of the service.
(F. B. McCurdy, Debates, 28 Jan 1916, 398)
In summer 1914, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court indicted William Harry Muirhead on eight counts of electoral fraud and perjury. Muirhead, a Conservative political operator, had allegedly secured a February 1914 provincial by-election in Victoria County through bribery and forgery. After the outbreak of the Great War, the embattled party bagman joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons, or as Liberal MP Daniel Duncan McKenzie intimated, “Major Muirhead fled the country on the pretext that he was going to war.”
Lieutenant Colonel F. P. Day
185th (Cape Breton Highlanders) and 25th Battalions
The war was over; I came home tired and worn-out, obsessed with one idea—I wanted rest, quiet, and peace; I wanted never to speak again without necessity or to give or receive an order. I wanted to live in the woods, and be alone along my streams.
(F. P. Day, The Autobiography of a Fisherman, 1927, 144)
When Lieutenant Colonel John Wise was wounded during the battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918, Major Frank Parker Day took command of the 25th Nova Scotia Rifles. Day had raised the 185th Highlander Battalion from Cape Breton and sailed from Halifax to England in October 1916. After the Highlanders were absorbed into the 17th Reserve Battalion, Day reverted in rank and joined the 25th on the front.
Lieutenant Colonel A. H. Borden, D.S.O.
85th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion
Oh, wha is foremaist and a’ and a’,
Oh, wha does follow the blaw, the blaw,
Colonel Borden, the king o’ us a’ hurra’,
Wi’ his hundred Pipers and a’ and a’,
His bonnet and feather he’s wavin’ high,
His prancing steed maist seems to fly.
He’ll lead us to Berlin across the Rhine,
Wi’ his 85th Highlanders bonny and fine.
(Songs of the 85th Battalion, 1917, 16)
In September 1915, Allison Hart Borden raised the 85th Nova Scotia Highlanders, nicknamed with the Gaelic motto Siol na Fear Fearail (The Breed of Manly Men). Encouraged by rapid recruitment in the province, Borden proposed a four battalion Highlander Brigade from the Maritimes. The battalions (the 85th, 185th, 193rd, 219th) departed Canada in October 1916. After arriving in England, the Brigade was broken up to the dismay and confusion of many citizens and politicians in the province.