Irish Canadians. Enlist in an Irish and Canadian Battalion. 199th Battalion C.E.F. Irish Canadian Rangers


This World War I recruiting poster from Canada shows two soldiers, one presumably Canadian, the other Irish, shaking hands, as one points to the motto, "Small nations must be free." The background features the maple leaf and shamrocks, symbols, respectively, of Canada and Ireland. The address of the recruiting office and the name of commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel H.J. Trihey, are given at the bottom of the poster. During the war, many Irish immigrants to Canada volunteered to serve in the Canadian armed forces. To assist with recruitment, the Canadian government established a purely Irish battalion, the Irish Canadian Rangers 199th Overseas Battalion. The rangers sailed for Europe in December 1916 and made a triumphal tour of Ireland in January–February 1917. The Irish-Canadians then were sent to France. The battalion never fought as a unit, however; instead, its men were used to replace soldiers killed or wounded in other Canadian units fighting on the Western front. On May 17, 1917, the battalion was absorbed into the 23rd Reserve Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Last updated: February 10, 2014