The Suicide Battalion & Canada's Role In World War One

THE 46th CANADIAN INFANTRY BATTALION
(SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN) 


was formed in Moose Jaw, SK, in February 1915.  
The battalion would end up playing a role
in every major battle in which the Canadians took part 
from August 1916 until the Armistice. 

 

The 46th Battalion leaving Moose Jaw for the War, ca. 1915
Photo 
R-A32277-1

With a 91.5% casualty rate (3,484 wounded and 1,433 killed, including
Victoria Cross winner and Saskatchewan hero Hugh Cairns),
the 46th became known as the

Suicide Battalion.  

World War 1 is commonly accepted as a turning point in history for both Canada and the world, yet we don’t often get the chance to hear about the experiences of the war from the men that were there in the trenches.

Between 1975 and1977, James L. McWilliams and R. James Steel interviewed dozens of veterans from the 46th Battalion about their experiences during the war in order to include soldiers' first-hand accounts in their book,The Suicide Battalion (St. Catherines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing, 1990). The audio recordings of these interviews were donated by McWilliams and Steel to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan as The 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion (South Saskatchewan) “The Suicide Battalion” Oral History Project .

Using excerpts from audio interviews with three 46th Battalion soldiers, 

what can we learn about Canada’s role in the Great War

through the experiences of the Suicide Battalion soldiers?

 

     READ JIM BUTTERWORTH'S ATTESTATION PAPERS (Library & Archives Canada)

     Click on the titles below to listen to parts of an INTERVIEW WITH JIM BUTTERWORTH:

     Trench Warfare – Jim Butterworth:  Tape R-107 (5:50 minutes)

     Raiding Parties – Jim Butterworth:  Tape R-1075 (9:50 minutes)

     Regina Trench & The Somme – Jim Butterworth: Tape R-1075 (9:09 minutes)

 

 

 

 
     Click on the title below to listen to an INTERVIEW WITH ERNIE 'JINK' JENNER:
 
 

 

 

 

 

     READ E.D. McDONALD'S ATTESTION PAPERS (Library & Archives Canada) 

     Click on the title below to listen to an INTERVIEW WITH E.D. McDONALD:

     Amiens – E.D. (Eric Douglas) McDonald: Tape R-1078 (9:48 minutes)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
46TH 'SUICIDE' BATTALION
PHOTO GALLERY

 

 Jim Butterworth(left) and Harold Brown (right) 
of the 46th Battalion.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo R-A14139
 
 
Men of the 46th Battalion embarking at Regina, ca. 1915

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo R-A14133
 
 
W. Hogg, J.B. Fraser, L.L. Smith, J. Fraser,
and E.D. McDonald (marked with an X) with the
46th Battalion Canadian Infantry, posing in uniform
at Bramshott Camp, England, 1917.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo R-A32265
 
 
Group photo of officers and N.C.O.'s of the 46th Battalion, 
taken at Wawre, Belgium, after Armistics Day, 1918.

Provincial Archives of Saskachewan
Photo R-A14119
 
 
46th Battalion leaving Moose Jaw for Camp Sewell (2nd Reinforcing Draft).


Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo R-A32277-2